He started off by sharing Granger Kids’ Purpose Statement: “We partner with
parents families to train up children to trust, love, and serve God.” (Side-note: Notice parents was changed to families, as they discovered there’s a large portion of kids in the church who come from non-traditional homes. I love that they made sure to include everyone; no one’s perfect, but Jesus loves us all—and so does this church. I love it!)
He then asked the kids’ ministry leaders from other churches in the audience for struggles they’ve faced in partnering with parents at their own churches. Here’s what they listed:
- Parents want kids in church, but don’t want to go themselves.
- Don’t use resources given to them by the church
- Time commitment/scheduling
- Sunday morning = job well done (no further teaching about Jesus, the Bible, etc, from the parents is needed during the week)
- Clergy-ministry mindset/parents don’t feel qualified to teach kids about God
From here, I’ll give my bullet-point notes of Ted’s teaching on what Granger Kids has tried and where they’re going now, and some of the problems their facing, as they focus on parents (and families) becoming more involved with teaching children.
What Granger has tried to get parents more involved:
- Get all in same room, to cast vision
- We’ll keep kids 15 min. longer after the service; come to a meeting with us for 10 minutes right after the service.
- Out of 1,000 families, about 100 people came, across all four services; had follow-up meeting during the week to have parents help partner with the Kids’ Min.
- 12 people came to the follow-up meeting
- Survey: online – data from the 200-250 families who took the survey:
- parents: concerns about child’s faith journey -> many answers can be summarized as “entitlement”
- what would be helpful to other parents in your neighborhood? parents say “activity away from TV, computer, etc.”
- lots of answers show a sense of powerlessness of parents: “I don’t know what to do; even if I did, I don’t have the time or the energy for the fights it will cause.”
- what media would you use from the following to access parenting resources if they were available for you and your family?
- #1 – family activities on campus
- #2 – website
- #3 – family activites in the community
- which topics want help communicating with your children?
- shows wisdom is not being passed down generationally
- parents said things in survey they wouldn’t have said face-to-face
- another survey sampled 1-2000 families – what worked for them in child’s faith journey:
- eating dinner together and talking
- reading the Bible together
- Promoted book: Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof
Problems up against:
- No onus – send kids to school to learn math/science; send to church to learn about God/Bible; send to music lessons, little league, etc.
- starting with language: “partnering”, “equipping” – it is the family’s responsibility
- creating more avenues for parents to take responsibility
- No medium to tell our story
- ramping up online presence
- made videos of classroom leaders talking about what they do in their rooms each week
- focus on equipping not replacing – we’re not replacing what they’re doing now with a better option; we’re meeting parents where they are:
As a fairly new parent myself, I took a lot out of Ted’s teaching for kids’ ministry leaders. Obviously he gave several great resources and tips – but my biggest take-away is that I’m extremely blessed and grateful that Ted Bryant is leading the charge for kids at the church my daughter is going to grow up in! No, I won’t be passing the onus of responsibility onto him, but I’m so thankful for the wisdom he’s bringing and for the chance to partner with him and his team in the care of my child.
Thank you, Ted!