My birding binoculars recently went haywire. When you look through both eyepieces you get a distorted double image. Yet if you look through each individual eyepiece using one eye at a time, you get a clear image. The problem is that this image is very limited in its scope. Somehow the two eyepieces are out of sync with one another, greatly reducing the usefulness of the binoculars.This illustration can help in describing the importance of the church and home working “in sync”—in partnership—with one another in nurturing the faith of the next generations. Though parents are given the primary responsibility to raise children in the faith, by design and opportunity (Deuteronomy 6:4-7), God has also designed that this nurturing take place in partnership with the church (Matthew 28:18-20 and Ephesians 4:11-13).
This partnership affirms the role and responsibility of church leadership to provide encouragement and training for parents as well as provide formal instruction for children and youth. Individually, both church and home, have an important role to play in our children’s discipleship. But the scope and impact will be far greater when church and home are intentionally working together to nurture the faith of our children. The first step in fostering this biblical parent-church partnership is to explore, clarify, and communicate what this partnership consists of and how it will be fleshed out, addressing questions like:
- What is the church’s vision for children’s and youth ministry?
- What will be the church’s responsibility in pursuing this vision?
- What specific biblical instruction will be offered to children and youth?
- How will the church equip parents?
- What is expected of parents?
Getting started Here are two overviews outlining some first steps and practical suggestions for fostering a healthy partnership between church and home. Parents: Partnering with Your Church Church: Partnering with Parents