I readily admit it: My husband and I were not well prepared for the sacred task of discipling our children. When our first child came along, we realized that we lacked the necessary biblical training, tools, inspiration, and encouragement needed to more intentionally and effectively make our children “wise for salvation through faith in Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15). We desperately needed the church—the community of believers—to lead and equip us.
Is your own church training and equipping parents for the discipleship of their children? What are some specific ways the church could be more intentional in doing this? A few ideas to consider:
Inquire about the specific needs of parents in your church. For example, send out a brief survey to parents. How are they doing? Do they have regular family devotions? Do they read the Bible and pray together? What are their greatest parenting challenges? Etc.
Hold monthly/quarterly prayer meetings with parents. This could also be done in small group home gatherings. Give parents a resource such as the Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation booklet.
Start a mentorship program pairing older godly parents with younger ones.
Plan special seminars that address key parenting topics. For example, explore topics such as doing family devotions, biblical discipline, tips for helping children in the worship service, media choices/use, etc.
Create a parenting resource library and/or bookstore. Carefully review and recommend solid parenting and discipleship here for some recommendations.
Develop a plan to help parents with special needs children.
Establish a regular means of communicating with parents. Consider sending out a weekly email and/or a monthly newsletter that not only keeps parents up to date about what is happening but also offers encouragement.
Hold a parent orientation before the Sunday school year begins. Use this to encourage parents to be active participants in their child’s classroom experience.
Keep the needs of children in mind when planning the worship service and other church-wide events.
Assign an elder/pastor to each family. Have him check in on the parents monthly or quarterly.
These are just a few ways that the church can better equip parents to more intentionally and effectively disciple their children. To dig deeper into this topic and hear more about specific tools for equipping parents listen to our newest podcast: “Churches Equipping the Home for Discipleship.”