After hearing about the Kitchen Table Project, we wanted to look at how we could best equip and support parents as they discipled their children. But with a very diverse congregation, facing a range of different circumstances, we didn’t want to exclude anyone. We wanted to take the opportunity to show the whole church that as one big family, we could all play a part in supporting parents as they nurtured their children’s faith.
We decided to use the Church Toolkit, took one of the sermon outlines, tailored it to our congregation and preached it on a Sunday morning. We also put together a questionnaire for parents to fill in, which contained a list of different ideas we could use to support them. As parents completed these questionnaires, we were able to get an understanding of what they felt they needed. Ideas included:
- attending the Inspire session or the Care for the Family Time Out – Primary Years course
- joining a Facebook group offering regular ideas, inspiration and encouragement
- receiving prayer and practical support
We also tailored the questionnaire to allow people who wanted to support parents to indicate how they could do this practically and spiritually. We were very aware this was a need for many of our parents who are parenting alone or do not have family living in the same country or city!
We’ve already run an Inspire session with a small group of parents, which they loved, and we have another Inspire session and Time Out course planned in the next few weeks. The Facebook group has also proved to be a great encouragement to parents, helping them to start realising they are not doing this alone, but are part of a community who wants to help them to nurture their children’s faith. It’s been a great way to easily share ideas and to touch base with parents through the week.
One single mum has been really blessed both physically and spiritually by what has been happening. Only a week after the service she found herself struggling with child care arrangements. For the first time she found it easy to ask for practical help from the church because she knew people genuinely wanted to help. This led to her being able to pray for a more long term solution with one of the ladies who was helping her, and amazingly within days her prayers have been answered. The really fantastic part is that she then felt able to share how God had helped them with her two children.
This is only the beginning and it looks like it will take time to develop, but sometimes starting small is all it takes.
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