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May, 2012
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What Happens At Church

by Dr. Layne Smith

Dr. Layne Smith, Interim Transition Specialist with the Center, addresses a challenge he sees for the parents (and perhaps grandparents) in our faith communities today.


“What happens in Vegas [may] stay in Vegas” BUT what happens at church shouldn’t stay at church. It needs to go home as well. Have we relinquished our God-given role? Parents, don’t be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4) Too many of us have abdicated our responsibility to be the primary faith nurturers of our children. While we can pay for many services, we cannot “hire out” the faith formation of our children to the “professionals.”

Our children are at church no more than four or five hours per week, if that much. They are involved in so many activities that most have no time for one more program, regardless of how good it may be.  The truth is that if healthy faith formation does not happen in the home, most likely it will not happen at all. How can we encourage our families in this regard? It is a critical conversation that we need to have with each other.

Rick Melheim of Faith Inkubators, in an effort to get parents involved in their children’s faith formation, launched what he calls “Faith 5.” (Christian Century, February 22, 2012, pp. 22-25)  Faith 5 asks parents to invest five minutes daily in doing five things with their children that can facilitate faith formation.  They are as follows:

  • Share both the highs and the lows of the day.
  • Read a verse of scripture
  • Discuss how the highs and lows relate to the scripture – Perhaps God is saying something to you and/or your child
  • Pray for each other’s highs and lows
  • Offer a blessing to one another

Faith 5 requires parents both to listen to their child empathetically and to be willing to be vulnerable with their child in sharing their own highs and lows.  What a gift we can give to our children!  Are you willing to start now?