It takes a village—the whole congregation—to nurture the faith of its young people.
Robert J. Keeley, author of Helping Our Children Grow in Faith, describes the purpose and role of that village like this: “If we want our children to consider their faith a central part of who they are, if we want their faith to go beyond just their minds and hearts, then the community of faith needs to develop a number of ways to connect with young people and children.”
Here are some ways to do that.
1. Be in Relationship
Create a culture of belonging within your community by providing opportunities to develop meaningful relationships across generations and particularly among the children, teens, and young adults in your church.
Look for existing opportunities for intentional relationship building within in your church. Read how one pastor found such an opportunity in the church nurseryhere.
As God’s big family, we can support each other by worshiping in a way that says to all ages, “You belong here.”
You’ll find worship resources on Baptism, Communion, Advent, Pentecost, and more in the resources by topic section of this toolkit. And be sure to check out all that is available in these other toolkits from Faith Formation:
In past generations, family faith formation happened around the dinner table through Bible reading, prayer, and conversation. But in our fast-paced and overscheduled world, that dinner hour is increasingly rare.
Compound that with the time crunch of single-parent households, economic stresses, or parents who have limited biblical literacy, and one thing becomes abundantly clear: these changing dynamics require a new way of thinking about family faith formation.
Handing parents take-home papers or signing them up for parenting classes isn’t enough; neither is hiring a youth pastor and expecting him or her to take all the responsibility for forming faith in the youth of the church. We need to encourage and equip parents.
Encouraging parents means being their cheerleader—letting them know “You’ve got this, and we’re here to help.” Equipping parents means providing them with resources, ideas, and practices that can be woven into what they are already doing as a family and from which they can select and adapt the things that work best in their home.
“I often want to skip the boring, daily stuff to get to the thrill of an edgy faith. But it’s in the dailiness of the Christian faith—the making of the bed, the doing the dishes, the praying for our enemies, the reading the Bible, the quiet, the small—that God’s transformation takes root and grows.”
—Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, pp. 35-36
In the Family Faith Formation Resourcessection of this toolkit you’ll find easy and adaptable ideas to share with families in ways that make sense in your context and for your families.