Did you know that from the day your child is born until high school graduation you have about 936 weeks? Every week counts. In fact, every day counts. Let's be real, parenting is not for the weak. I remember when my daughter was a few weeks old and wouldn't sleep, and I thought, “This is it?” Don't all parents go through that at some point?
The church is here to partner with you. I mean, not necessarily through the sleepless nights, but we are here to share this journey and help make your spiritual impact the most effective in your child's life. You may be thinking, "How does the church partner with parents?"
First and foremost, you must remember that God is for you. The church, as the bride of Christ, is for you too. The church is modeled after Christ, and we are called to love one another. In order for the church to love on parents, we must partner with parents. Here are a few ways you as a parent can ensure that you and the church are working together.
Be the Model
Jesus is our model. We need to use our model - Jesus, and be the model for our children. Our children are watching us. They see everything that we do, and it sticks with them. If we ask our children to do something that we ourselves are not willing to do, we are not being authentic models. Jesus is an authentic model, so we need to strive for that too.
There will be times where we will fail and fall short of the glory of God, but thankfully, we can model forgiveness in those moments. To be honest, modeling forgiveness for my child is humbling. Think about this. You do something wrong, and your child calls you out on it. Yep, that has happened to me more than once. In that moment, I took a deep breath and showed my daughter how to appropriately admit my mistake and asked her, as well as Jesus, for forgiveness.
Times have changed since I was a kid. Technology is changing daily; our children can have friends that they have never even met in person! Although technology is allowing us to see the world through a whole new lens, it is also allowing our children to be vulnerable. Be present in the things your children are doing on social media. Know their friends and the people they are talking to.
Our children are also facing stress. I know everyone has stress; however, the stress that our children face is like nothing before. The stress of friends, the stress of fitting in, the stress of doing well at school or extra curricular activities, and the list goes on. The stress kids face needs an outlet. Allow your children to talk to you about what they are experiencing each day and provide them with a safe outlet to share honestly.
When I say safe, I mean a "no judgement zone." Listen to what they are saying and provide them with the Truth to apply to their situation. You may be asking, "How do I know what to say or do?" The church is here to guide you through this process and help you grow in your knowledge of scripture. Knowing your child’s small group leader is also a great way to get guidance.
Know Your Child's Small Group Leader
This is a huge part of a successful partnership between parents and the church. Your children’s small group leaders are here for them, but they are also here for you. They want to know you and for you to know them. Feel free to go into the group area and introduce yourself to your child's small group leader!
You may be thinking, “Why is it important to know their small group leader?” Depending on your child’s age, his/her small group leader may be an outlet when he/she is struggling with a situation. If the small group leader knows you, he/she is able to share this information with you to help your child in that time of need. In order for all of the suggestions to truly work together for the greater good of your child, you must be involved at a church.
Be Involved at Your Church
To be involved doesn’t mean just attend on Sunday and be done after that. No, being involved means getting in a small group of other believers who are experiencing spiritual growth. Another way to be involved in the church is to serve in an area that allows you to use your spiritual gifts. Finding where your spiritual gifts fit is key. For example, personally, I would not be happy serving on our security team. Not because I don’t support it, but I would struggle with confronting others in a possibly negative situation.
Don’t serve in an area that doesn’t fill your heart with joy. Find the place that fits you. Once you become involved in the church, you will model for your children what you want for them. Remember they are watching you, and it will stick!
936 weeks will be gone in the blink of an eye. Why waste it? The church is here for you each week and will continue to be. Think about your children right now. What phase are you in? How many weeks are left until graduation? What are you going to do to ensure you have the right partnership to raise them to be a disciple of Jesus? We are here for you! Are you willing to let us partner with you on this journey?