“Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?” (Luke 11:11-12, NRSV)
Parenting was less complicated in the first century. These verses from Luke indicate that there was wide agreement among parents about what to give and what not to give to their children. That’s really not the case today. Parenting options are so abundant and there are competing voices in the culture about what kinds of things and experiences children should have. Your pediatrician might recommend one thing. The Disney Corporation has another opinion. Your kids’ friends often act like expert advisors. The sports world has another agenda, and then there are the criminal elements eager to weigh in as your children move into adolescence. Parents are often confused and isolated among this chorus of voices.
How does your church help parents navigate these muddy waters?
If you don’t help, they’ll leave. We’ve known for a long time that more and more Americans are joining the ranks of those who are unaffiliated with religion. Catholics have been holding steady in their overall membership numbers largely because of Hispanic immigration, but even that is changing. As Hispanics become immersed in American secular culture, they are also tending to become unaffiliated with religion. Read this article to learn about the Hispanic exodus from religion: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/08/upshot/even-as-hispanics-lift-catholicism-theyre-leaving-it.html?_r=0
People are finding religion to be less relevant, and there is an urgent need for churches to become more helpful, more welcoming, and more caring. Starting with parents is a key. If you don’t get the attention of parents, your church is lost. If they are married, help them build stronger marriages, a key to successful parenting. If they are single, help them find meaningful connections with other single parents and members of your community who can ease the burdens of single parents.
Here are some website that will get your parent ministries kick started:
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