As Pastor Roy has mentioned at worship, I am currently enrolled in the Children, Youth and Family Ministry Certification School through Vibrant Faith Ministry and Wartburg Seminary. In January, we had our week long intensive course in LaGrange, Texas. The week was full of learning, sharing and growing in relationship with God and each other. The end focus of this coursework which runs through May is to help each participant develop a strong ministry program and to equip them with the tools needed to lead a vibrant, growing ministry.
One of the primary focuses of what we are learning is the key factor that families play in faith formation. Research has shown that the top four people that influence people’s faith throughout their lives are mom, dad, a pastor, and grandparents. Here is the shocking part of this statistic though: on average mother’s only spend 12 minutes a WEEK in caring, faith building conversations with their children and father’s only 5! Clearly these conversations must be impactful. But what if we had more of such conversations? What if parents took 5 minutes each day to talk about their lives; about their faith life? With the youth program, I will be sending out each week to parents a synopsis of what we talk about and including some follow-up conversation starters to have with their youth. Our hope is these will be a springboard for discussions and the sharing of faith stories.
This past weekend, we held a lock in on Sunday night. During the night, we held a number of deep conversations among the youth and it was amazing to see them open up and share with each other. Afterwards, I sent out information about our discussions and asked parents to ‘push’ their kids to talk about the weekend. I was pleasantly shocked a few days later at hearing from parents about the impactful family conversations that had arisen from the weekend. Youth were sharing their hopes and fears and insights. Parents were doing the same. Our children and youth truly do wish to talk about their faith and to grow in their understanding of God. We simply need to be better stewards of the responsibility God bestowed on us to grow the faith.
` Over the next few months I hope to share more of what I learn and share how youth ministry is working with families to grow disciples within Living Lord. I want to thank the church for their confidence in me and being willing to send me through this amazing learning process. It will most definitely be an amazing, fun and challenging experience.