Embracing The Huge Potential Of Parents

Leadership / Parenting //

“Your job as a leader is to define spiritual leadership in terms for the family that are POSSIBLE and PRACTICAL so they can do the thing that they are wired to do as a family.” – Reggie Joiner

The church has approximately 40 hours a year to invest biblical truths into a child. We need to do everything we possibly can to make those 40 hours as strategic and impactful as possible. A parent? A parent has 3,000 hours! The truth of the matter is that no one has more potential to influence a child’s faith than a parent.

With that in mind, I would like to ask you a question. What if you took just 20 percent of your 40 hours a year and laser-focused them on reaching the family as a whole? What would that look like? How would we shift our programming and communication plans to enlist parents to be a key part in how we do ministry to children and students? When we recognize parents as the primary influencers of a child’s faith then our mission needs to shift. If parents hold the most potential with their kids then the church holds the most potential to influence the parents. We are missing out on a HUGE opportunity if we don’t use some of our precious time to activate parents.

The problem that we tend to run into is that often church leaders can unintentionally paint a picture for parents of what the family should be that can leave them overwhelmed, lost or just plain ole discouraged. I want to challenge you to lean away from painting a picture, and instead lean into the idea of embracing a family’s story. The reality is that most families in America don’t fall into the picture of a traditional family. There are divorces, adoptions, tragedies that have changed the face of the family in our country. There is one truth, though, that hasn’t changed. It is timeless.

Every parent wants to give their child a better story.I want to encourage you to work hard to not force families in your church into a perfect picture of what family should look like. Instead, invite them to continue creating and living out their story at your church. Come alongside them and help them realize that no matter what their family story might be that they can still have a story that places God at the center. I believe that if we make this shift, then EVERY parent will do something more as it relates to their child’s faith journey.Here is how you can start.

Here is how you can start.

Cast the vision. Parents in your church need to hear that what happens at home is way more important than what happens at church. Of course for you to cast this vision to parents and have them take it to heart, YOU need to believe this truth first.

Enlist parents in your church to fight for their homes. Do whatever it takes to make sure that the parents in your church understand that it is them and them alone that is ultimately responsible for the spiritual leadership of their children. The church is not a place that they hand their kids off to for spiritual development. The church is a partner to help encourage and support what the parents are doing with their children at home.If you can accomplish those two things with parents then you will be on a path to activate something in them that will dynamically change their family for generations to come.

Reactivating the family is about thinking in terms that activate parents at home, to help them understand that their spiritual future is not only depending on the church, but it is also depending on them.

To learn more about reactivating the family, check out Orange Essentials!

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About the Author

Joe McAlpine is the Pastor of Share at Northbrook Church. Northbrook is a growing church just outside of Milwaukee WI. He has been in ministry for over a decade, serving in staff leadership at churches ranging in attendance from 500 to 7,000. Prior to his current ministry, Joe had the privilege of leading the children’s ministry at Northview Church, the 5th fastest growing and 85th largest church in America in 2013. In 2009 he created www.joemcalpine.com, a website dedicated to helping leaders in next generation ministry grow spiritually, relationally and organizationally. Joe has a passion to help young leaders of next generation, family based ministries grow into seasoned ministry professionals oftomorrow. Joe lives out his passion for next generation leaders by tapping into his experience as a husband of one, father of four, pastor and life long lover of of learning. Joe has been happily married to his wife Christy for longer than he can remember and has four children, Elijah, Selah, David, and Elisabeth. The McAlpines are originally from the Chicago area. In his spare time you can find him hanging with the family and connecting with as many kidmin people as he can!