This week, I want to share something that has me very excited and something that has been on my heart to work towards for a while. When I applied for the Director of Children & Family Ministries position, there was quite a while that I was in what I would call limbo. Waiting for an interview, then waiting for a second interview and then ultimately waiting for a job offer. During that time, I hate to admit, I was not very focused on my previous role as administrator. My thoughts were filled with dreams and ideas. Ultimately: the idea that change was coming. And change is never easy. I felt very strongly that the kids of the church needed to be building real and lasting relationships with the amazing adults who attend 1st Pres. So I set out to find ways to do just that. To begin my new position, I went to NW MINCON, a conference for ministry leaders in the Seattle area. It was at the conference that I learned about D6 and generational discipleship. Fast Forward to Sunday…
On Sunday our kids got to experience “Step-Up Day.” This was the first day that the students got to move up into their next classes. We had 7 kids who got to move on and join a new group! It was a big day for change. Not only did the kids join new classes, some had new teachers, and everyone got to move back upstairs into the wonderful classrooms on the second floor of the Hunter Building. Perhaps the biggest change of all was the lesson format.
After talking with some of the parents and unexpectedly receiving a great opportunity to try a new Sunday School format and curriculum, we returned to a small-group format. It has been so fun having all the age groups together for worship over the summer; but this fall we are going to be exploring a new curriculum that is based on the principles of Deuteronomy 6:5-9: love God, love His Word, and teach your children to do the same.
D6 promotes small-group environments at church, so the entire family is studying the same theme at the same time. The cool thing is that it doesn’t stop at the church worship experience. The idea behind this “Intergenerational” approach is that it can help parents and grandparents reconnect with kids and teens throughout the week with the use of devotional study guides, Home Connection, and other take-home resources that help equip the home.
WHAT IS A FAMILY?
The family is not always a set of parents and kids. The Bible shows adapted models of generational discipleship. The often-quoted and normal succession of teaching flows from father to son and on to grandson as seen in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is not always a godly father or mother as evidenced in Mordecai teaching his niece Esther. Or Paul mentoring Titus, his adopted son in the faith (Titus 1:4). Notice how Timothy’s faithful mother and grandmother seemed to carry the whole spiritual parental influence.
Regardless of your season of life, God can use you to teach someone in your family (or church family!)
Models of How Family Ministry
Worked in Scripture
Models of How Family Ministry Might Look In the Modern Church
In order to truly prepare the next generation, we also need to focus on preparing the current one.
CHURCH is the primary equipper of parents.
PARENTS are the primary disciplers in the home.
We hope that we can help equip parents by offering tools to use that can involve the home in what the church is doing. The fraction 1/168 reminds us that the average student gets only one hour per week in discipleship at church. By supporting generational discipleship, we hope to further help the parents (and grandparents or “adopted” church mentors) reinforce church lessons while at home.
I can’t tell you how much joy it brought to my heart to walk down the hallways on Sunday morning. I heard laughter, stories being told, the Bible being read, and deep meaningful conversations being had. We had a variety of teachers from a young high-school helper, to parents and grandparents, all pouring wisdom and love into the kids of our church.
If this excites you as much as it excites me, we are having a Volunteer Orientation on September 29th at 9:00am in the Lakeside Room. We will be taking a deep look at the curriculum and talking about the opportunity to serve the next generation. As mentioned above, regardless of your season in life, God can use you to help shape the future generation. I can think of no better place to do that than right here at your church, 1st Presbyterian.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Carley Walker, Director of Children & Family Ministries