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Orange Week: Partnering with Parents

There are few things more important to me these days than figuring out how to help our kids and students at Cross Point grow into the men and women God has created them to be. While I’m short on all the answers, I do know that we’ll never figure this out until the church gets more serious about partnering with parents. That’s why I’m so thankful for the reThink Group. Never before has there been a group of amazing leaders so dedicated to thinking and praying through how the church can partner with parents to help children become vibrant followers of Christ.

Today I’ve asked our family ministry pastor, Pat Rowland, to share some of his thoughts on what this looks like for us at Cross Point.

I have this theory about Christian Parents, although it has yet to be tested scientifically, but I believe it holds true. It isn’t based on your spiritual history, your ethnic background, or what part of the country you call home. Here it is… “All Christian Parents want to teach and disciple their children to have a maturing faith in Christ.”

I’ve talked with hundreds of parents about their child’s faith and the larger influence they possess, and I’ve yet to hear a parent say, “No way, I don’t want to teach my kids about a faith in God.” I believe all parents want to engage in faith development and discussions in their home. Here’s the challenge… most parents don’t know how, don’t think they have the time, and or think they are capable.

Parents, get this, you don’t have to do this alone because even the best of parents fail when they go at it alone. You need a partnership with the Church.

There is more to this theory… I believe all churches (especially pastors) want to encourage parents to engage in faith at home. Who doesn’t want to have a community of adults fully engaged in teaching their children Biblical character and values? Here’s the challenge… most churches and leaders don’t know how, don’t think they have the time (or resources), or think they are capable.

Church leaders, get this, you can’t go at it alone. We’ve spent years trying and we’ve failed! There are many churches today with the most creative programs and experiences for kids. We’ve got million dollar facilities, full time staff dedicated to children and student ministries, and services designed specifically and creatively for kids and students. Yet, research continues to point to twenty some-things walking away from the church, and most will never return. We need incredible children and student programs, but there has to be more we can do…

The Church has a responsibility to partner with parents, because “Two combined influences make a greater impact than just two influences.” As a pastor, I’ll never rival the influence a parent has over their student or child. However, as a pastor, I can encourage and resource a parent to leverage their influence.

Parents need a Clear Strategy, and the Partnership of the Church.
They need resources, not just a program
They need to be shown how it works, not just told they should do it
They need a community of encouragement, not an unattainable image
They need an environment of integration, not complete age segregation

At Cross Point, I’ll be the first to admit we are still trying to figure this out, and I’m thankful we have a partner in the Rethink Group. They’ve created resources and a strategy that effectively brings together the home and the church! Recognizing the amazing potential that each parent has to change the heart of their child, that in turn engages the heart of the family, which in turn engages the heart of the church. As a matter of fact, we are rolling out a new resource from Rethink this Sunday at FX Live as our “Cool Tool.” For more information on the amazing resources, check out the Rethink Group.

How important do you think it is for the church and parents to work together in this process?

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Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, WithoutWax.tv. Pete is married and has three sons.