Mother’s Day may be a little over a month away, but we don’t need to wait to celebrate and honor what many mothers have contributed toward faith formation in the home over the millennia. Today, many congregations take the month of May to celebrate faith in the home. I am writing about this topic today to encourage you to begin preparing for how you can assist the parents, grandparents, and caregivers in your congregation in nurturing faith at home.
It is important for parents to understand that one morning a week (or less) is not enough to ensure that their children will grow into faith-filled Christian disciples. This is the impetus for the efforts of many congregations these days to support parents with resources to use at home. Studies are showing that parents are by far the primary Christian educators of their children. Unfortunately, this focus was usurped by the advent of the professional Christian educator in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Parents began neglecting their faith-forming role because the Church, consciously or unconsciously, caused them to believe that Sunday programming could do it better. But forty-five minutes or less of Sunday School a week cannot begin to compare with what a household can offer all week long at home.
Parents can engage their children in Christian practices such as prayer, service, and Bible study within their weekly routines.
Parents can engage their children in spiritual conversations
Parents can purchase toys and books that engage their children in developmental play with the Stories of our faith.
Pastors and educators need to return the primary education/formation role to parents. They need not abandon what they currently offer at church, but a shift in focus to providing connecting activities and resources to be used in the home will help to empower parents to take back their God-given responsibility to their children.
Fortunately for us in the United Church of Christ, the New England Association of United Church Educators (NEAUCE) Annual Conference
Let us commit to transforming our congregations' households into opportunities for embracing moments of faith and meaning on a daily basis!
Debbie Gline Allen is the Associate for Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for the historic Massachusetts Conference. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 508-603-6601.
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