How to Reach Young Families? A Heart for the Home

With the discovery that 70% of the community surrounding the church is under the age of 45, it is clear these homes include young singles, couples, and children. The congregation must consider God’s design for the home and the needed discipleship within. While each household category will be considered, the first point of focus will be young families with children.
 
As communicators of the gospel, the church is called to disciple parents to lead their children in the ways of God. The passionate plea of Psalm 78:5-7 states, “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments…”
 
A robust, relational approach will be considered and developed to connect with young families, provide relational environments, and assist parents to understand and fulfill their privilege of raising and discipling the children God has gifted them with, just as Deuteronomy 6:4-7 commands.
 
Beyond the Scriptural command of the parent’s role, Sociologist Christian Smith has clearly documented the incredible influence parents have over their children’s faith commitment and practices. Smith writes, “Teenagers tend to share beliefs similar to their parents, subscribe to the same religious tradition, and attend religious services with a similar frequency.”[1] If parent’s faith is committed and growing, there is a greater likelihood their children will follow in that path. Yet, the opposite of this is also true. If parents live a life of limited or decreasing faith practice, the children will follow in this pattern into their adulthood.
 
An encouraging discovery from an article from Curtis Miller highlights four key findings most relevant to families and congregations in reaching and keeping children in the faith journey.[2] 
 
The four key findings are: 1) Parents’ Influence is Crucial, 2) Bland Faith Doesn’t Transfer, 3) The Power of a Close Relationship, and lastly 4) Love the Prodigal.
 
Curtis also challenges, “Churches who want to see faith shared between generations need to encourage and equip parents to build warm, affirming, close relationships with their kids.”[3]

In addition to discipling parents in their role, the church will partner with parents to provide solid biblical teaching, mature multi-generational relationships, and opportunities to participate within the larger congregational context.

[1] Christian Smith and Denton, Melinda Lundquist, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 68.

[2] Curtis Miller, “Helping Kids Keep the Faith: Four Research Insights Every Parent Needs to Know”, Updated: December 15, 2013 1st, 2021, accessed July 17, 2021, https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/helping-kids-keep-the-faith.

[3] Ibid.


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