In our current “Better Together” message series you have been hearing the WHY behind the importance of church and family partnership. God gives parents the responsibility to disciple their children, and the church exists to show God to the world. So we believe the best-case scenario for the next generation to know and follow God happens when the church and the family work together in this mission.
But, practically, what does that look like? How can the church and the family combine efforts to lead kids and youth (which we call “students” at Browncroft) into a growing relationship with Jesus?
We are better together when the church elevates community.
Although it’s true that no one has more potential to influence a child than a parent, it’s also true that a parent is not the only influence a child needs.
One of the most important things we can do in Family Ministry is to give each child and student another voice… another consistent adult dedicated to knowing them, showing up for them, and building a trusting relationship with them as they help them discover more about God and His love. Every Sunday morning and every Wednesday night there are leaders here who invest in relationships with their unique small group of kids or students — knowing that connecting with them is helping them have a better chance to know and follow God.
Parents, I can tell you from personal experience that another godly adult speaking into the life of your child is one of the greatest gifts you can receive. Inevitably, there will be a time when your kid doesn’t hear whatever truth you are trying to communicate. Knowing there is someone else in their life saying the same things you would say is very reassuring.
We are better together when the church engages parents.
Because parents are responsible for the discipleship of their children, we as the church want to inspire and empower parents in that role. We need to make sure parents know that the church is not a place to outsource the faith of their children. That’s why we make sure parents know what their kids and students are learning about every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. We want to help parents continue the conversations that begin at church in their homes all week long.
We also engage parents by investing in milestone events in the lives of their children. We know that we have the attention of parents when their kids are transitioning from one phase to another, so we leverage those opportunities to keep parents focused on what’s most important as they raise their children. We celebrate new babies at Baby Dedication, kids moving into grade school with a Bible presentation, those becoming youth with a 5th grade graduation, and seniors in high school with a graduation celebration. Each of these events celebrates the children and their relationships with their families, their church, and with God.
In an effort to do an even better job of partnering with families, we are currently creating a parent resource center in the Family Ministry hallway. There will be both free resources and resources available for families to purchase, such as Bibles, devotionals, books, and parent guides. And in the next couple of weeks, parents will be receiving a short survey so that we can gauge how we can best support them.
We are better together when the church influences mobilization.
We know that serving others is an important part of everyone’s discipleship journey, so we make that a priority in Family Ministry. We believe there is a time for students to sit and listen, but there is also a time they should experience hands-on ministry. We know that our faith doesn’t grow just because we learn more. Our faith grows when we serve. We want students especially to know that God can use them to impact His kingdom today and that they are an important part of the church right now.
We have many students serving in Browncroft Kids on Sunday mornings, as well as the guest services team, the café, and more. This is a beautiful example of an intergenerational church.
Our student small groups also do service projects together throughout the year. For example, last year during Browncroft’s Send Me Conference, we hosted a Family Serve Night where families with kids of all ages could serve together. And Flower City Work Camp is another opportunity for students from all over the area to come together to serve neighbors in the city of Rochester.
We are also excited about opportunities for Browncrofters of all ages to take part in short-term mission trips. In fact, later this summer an intergenerational team of adults, students, kids, and parents is headed to Belize to help Filter of Hope.
What is an immediate next step you can take — regardless of whether you are a parent or not? Well we are calling on the entire church family to partner with Family Ministry this summer by participating in Browncroft Kids Summer Serve. This is a way you can bless our volunteers who serve all school year with a moment of rest. And it’s a way to help us make sure that our kids feel safe, welcomed, and loved this summer in Browncroft Kids. Click the button below to learn more and sign up! Not only will you be a blessing to the kids and their families, I promise they will be a blessing to you.
Thank you for your commitment to investing in strong families in our church. We are truly better together!