We take an innovative approach to ministries with our children, teenagers, and their parents here at Grace. Raising children and teenagers with a deep sense of faith is daunting. Sunday school and youth group are not enough! We recognize that parents are the primary influence on their children’s faith. So it only makes sense that we resource parents to guide, instruct, coach, and nurture their children’s faith at home, on the go, and out in the world. We are doubling down on coming alongside parents and resourcing them.
Our goal is to form faithful families and spiritually vibrant households. Children and teenagers are most impacted by the faith that see in their parents in everyday life. Because of this, we are resourcing parents as the primary faith guide for their children with key practices and rituals that will help them to establish a spiritually vibrant relationship with their children.
One way we do that is with Table Talk – a meal placemat (and laminated card that fits into a wallet for all of those meals on the go) that gives parents a tangible resource – in this case, a placemat – to engage in faithful conversations during meals – at home, on the go, or at a restaurant. Five simple steps to frame your meal and conversation:
Share – highs and lows of the day or week
Read – a quick verse or two of the Bible (which we can provide for you)
Talk – about how the verse might relate to your highs or lows
Pray – for your highs and lows, your family, and for the world
Bless – one another. Encouraging words that paint the potential you see in one another
Later this Fall, we will introduce parents to the roles and rhythms they play as a parents to theirs children across four times of the day:
Morning Time – Being a coach through encouraging words that instill purpose
Drive Time – Being a friend through informal conversation that interprets life
Meal Time – Being a teacher through formal discussion that establishes virtues (Table Talk mentioned above)
Bed Time – Being a counselor through listening that builds intimacy
In addition to this coaching and resourcing of our parents, we are innovating with the following programs:
Prayer Partners and Mentors – We are pushing deeper into our prayer partner and mentoring programs. Currently, we have most of our children under 7th grade partnered with an adult in the congregation who prays for them regularly. We are extending this out across the age span all the way to our High School Seniors. As children go into Confirmation, they are given mentors to come alongside. Now we will extend this out through the end of high school. We will resource all of these adults who pray and come alongside our children and teenagers.
Milestones & Blessing – primary focus is on revamping the current Milestones program and creating rites-of-passage for toddlers through graduating seniors
Weekly Worship & Quarterly Intergenerational Worship – We want to deepen the involvement of both of children and teenagers in our weekly worship as a congregation – greeting, ushering, musical involvement, reading scriptures or prayers, etc. Once a quarter, we will have the whole worship service dedicated to intergenerational worship that will be child-friendly, will create interaction between adults and children, and will expand our concept of what worship looks like for all.