It's Vacation Bible School week at our church. It's a cowboy theme this year, so our building has been transformed into Saddle Ridge Ranch by our great team of children's workers. Our church does a fantastic job with VBS. My girls love to go and all of us look forward to it every year. We're all exhausted by the end of the week, but it's well worth it.
One of the things I've learned in getting ready for this year's theme is that cowboys rarely work alone. They work in teams. Ever heard the phrase "Howdy, partner"? It's a cowboy expression. Cowboys know it's easier to do their work with a partner.
As parents, we need to recognize that the church is our partner. Too often we look at the church and think our kids should learn everything they need to know about God without a lot of effort on our part because we take them to church once or twice a week. The truth is we need to be partners with the church and not rely solely on the church's teaching to guide our kids.
If your child was studying for a test, would you assume that he would learn everything he needs to know at school or would you help him study at home? You would help him study, right? So, why do we assume that in an hour a week at church our kids will learn enough about Jesus and God to form a lasting relationship and learn all they need to know to stand firm in their faith despite all the pressures of this world telling them to do just the opposite?
Our kids need constant teaching. That's why Deuteronomy 6:6-9 tells us to be constantly teaching our kids. It doesn't say "Take your kids to church and ask them four questions about what they learned on the way home." We need to look at our church's children's programs not as the beginning of our kids' spiritual instruction but as a supplement to what we're teaching at home.
Several things will make your partnership with your church more effective.
- Find out what your kids are learning in their classes. If you know what they are studying at church, you can reinforce it at home.
- Get to know your children's staff and use them as a resource. When you're stuck on how to deal with an issue in your child's life, give your children's minister a call. He would love to help you figure out the best way to deal with the issue.
- Know your children's teachers at church. Most of us spend a lot of time getting to know our children's teachers at school, but we don't pay nearly as much attention to their teachers at church. These adults can be a great partner with you. Plus, every child needs to know that there are other adults who share the same convictions as mom and dad. Sometimes hearing the same thing mom and dad are saying from another adult they respect makes it seem more plausible to a child.
Take advantage of the great programs your church offers for kids, but don't let that be the end of their spiritual instruction. And the next time you walk through the doors of your church, stop and think "Howdy, partner!"