Spiritual Growth in the Lives of our Kids
My heart is with parents right now. All over the world, parents are faced with difficult decisions. In our own community, we have many families struggling with Covid-19 infections, grieving the loss of loved ones, and one family whose covid journey this summer included having a child hospitalized for weeks, followed by rehabilitation and recovery. Stories like these in our community have driven me to my knees in prayer and reflection. I know how important spiritual growth is in the lives of our children and their families, but how do we as a church stay focused and committed to that when we aren’t fully meeting in person, as we pause and allow space schools to begin? As we protect the most vulnerable among us?
Before the pandemic, our focus was on providing lessons from a good curriculum, recruiting loving and caring volunteers and mentors, and providing two hours or less of influence a week—20 some weeks a year. Even though I know that parents as spiritual leaders in the home are the best route to faith-filled children and youth, it has been a struggle to figure out how to best equip parents for this task. Now this fall, it is time to shift our focus to new ways of connecting with families in our church, in our Shining Star Preschool program, and in our partner ministry Learning Adventures Child Care Center. This strange time in the world has opened up space and provided inspiration for new ways to walk alongside parents invested in their kids’ faith journeys.
Many parents believe that being “good people” and knowing who Jesus is will be enough. But, being aware of Jesus and being a good person do not have the same impact as being in relationship with God. A child who experiences God’s love, knows Jesus’ forgiveness, and trusts the Holy Spirit has a great advantage in life, and much less fear. That’s the gift of faith. As the church, we commit to children in a powerful way through our baptismal liturgy. We promise that with God’s help we will accept the responsibility of assisting parents in fulfilling the baptismal vows, provide facilities and opportunities for Christian nurture and fellowship, order our own lives after the example of Christ, and surround the child with steadfast love as they are established in the faith so they may grow in the knowledge and love of God.
May we, The Church, lift up all parents in prayer, and equip and encourage those being shared with us during this difficult time and always. Amen
Faith Five for Every Home for Every Night
Through this pandemic time we have been encouraging families to be more intentional about faith practices at home. And now, we have a resource to begin equipping families to do so! This fall we will be incorporating the concepts of FAITH5 into our worship, Faith Friends, confirmation, adult small groups, and even our leadership team meetings.
Our goal is build a culture that teaches, challenges and encourages every home to practice FAITH5 every night. All ages will quickly experience the power of FAITH5 to impact their relationships with one another and with God! Even if you live on your own, we are going to make sure you have a connection to a Faith5 Friend to make this a part of your daily practice too!
FAITH5 is designed to enrich communication, deepen faith understanding, and promote mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. during the month of September we will post a short video to introduce in more detail some ways to incorporate the Faith5 practices. You will be able to watch these at any time if you don’t catch it live!
The five steps are:
STEP 1: SHARE your highs and lows
STEP 2: READ a Bible verse or story
STEP 3: TALK about how Bible reading might relate to your highs and lows
STEP 4: PRAY for one another’s highs and lows
STEP 5: BLESS one another
Can you imagine what happens to a child whose family intentionally shares the best and worst of life with one another every night? Can you imagine what happens to a family who grounds their highs and lows in Scripture and prayer every night of their lives? Can you imagine what happens to a church where most families are engaged in intentional nightly faith discussions and reflection? Imagine how this simple, five-step FAITH5 practice might change a child, a family, the church and our world.
Make Every Day Earth Day!
A letter-sized version of the picture below is included for your child (or you) to color. While you are coloring together, use Genesis 1:26-28 to discuss with your child that as God’s representatives, it is our responsibility to play a care-taking or stewardship role on earth. Rather than giving human beings rights over nature, these verses give us the responsibility to care for nature in a way that is consistent with God’s will.