MainStreet Covenant wants to partner with our parents and provide resources to help nurture the faith of our children beginning in the home. Beyond our wonderful Sunday school ministry and new Jason’s House gatherings, we are trying to be proactive in offering things like Tech-Wise Sunday, a Grace-Based Parenting Lifegroup series this past fall, giving each family RightNow Media for at-home use, and encouraging Family and Youth Camps over the summer.
We know we can improve and we want all our families to know that we invite your suggestions, input, feedback and ongoing partnership as we work together to raise up kids in the Christian faith.
The excerpt from a recent Barna Study, “Who is Responsible for Children’s Faith Formation” below indicates that parents “crave guidance on how to educate and form their children” and many churches are not providing enough resources and training. Is this true of MainStreet families? If so, we want to hear from you and better equip you.
(A part of me thinks we parents SAY (in a survey) we want more guidance and training, but will we make time to avail ourselves of such training and resources amidst all the other school activities crowding our family calendars? I include myself in that challenge, knowing how busy and exhausted our home is already at our kids’ ages.)
At the bottom I am providing a link to a webinar called, “The Spiritually Vibrant Household,” available for you to watch free until March 31. Below that I will also include a link to the Tech-Wise Presentation by Andy Crouch again, which is must-watch material for parents who want to create healthy cultures of formation in our homes. Here’s the Barna Study:
Churches Lack Adequate Training for Parents
When church leaders were asked to cite the main ways in which they prioritized children’s spiritual formation, nearly three-quarters of Protestant pastors (73%) say they address children’s spiritual formation by providing Sunday school and classes for youth. Other common programs include camps or VBS (36%), encouraging children to participate in the main worship service (37%) and offering worship services just for children (33%). Catholic leaders rely most on catechism and sacramental prep classes (71%), but also regard children’s presence in the main worship service or mass (31%) and participation in the sacraments (31%) as means of prioritizing their spiritual development. To a much lesser extent than Protestant churches, Catholic priests rely on specific Sunday school classes (31%).
Despite the fact that church leaders overwhelmingly agree that parents are most responsible for a child’s spiritual formation and development, the data demonstrate that churches place little emphasis on training and equipping said parents. In fact, only about one in five clergy (20% Protestant, 17% Catholic, though this number is higher for larger churches) says they prioritize training for parents, and even fewer provide parenting guides or other resources (15% Catholic, 10% Protestant). This lack of training persists even though many parents appear to be actively seeking guidance from church leaders on school matters; for example, nearly half of non-mainline (47%) and Catholic (42%) clergy say a parent has asked them for advice regarding schooling.
“In this and several other studies with Christian parents, our research has found that they crave guidance on how to educate and form their children, knowing that they are growing up in a world that is far more secular than their own childhood. Parents want to hear from their pastors on this issue.”
We’re in it together, MainStreet. Lean on each other and let’s “not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest” — and what greater harvest is there than children who grow up to love the Lord and follow the Way of Jesus in the world!