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Building Faith at Home

Tracy Carpenter

Blueprint: Ministry to today's parents is as important as ministry to their children. Your best tool is your ability to encourage. Continuously encourage parents to not give up. Encourage them to take advantage of the time they have with their kids. Encourage their daily efforts to care for and mentor their children. Encourage parents to use their lives as the best examples of their faith for their children.

Don't pressure parents to take on involved projects, lessons, or "homework" to build kids' faith; it sets parents up to fail when they don't have the time or energy to follow through. Simply remind parents that every moment they have with their children is a moment they can use to point their children toward Jesus. Parents today carry around enough guilt because they feel stretched too thin and think their children are paying the price. Parents need reassurance--not more activities or expectations--from you.

Wiring That Works

Today's parent is connected socially--to people from every walk of life. In the past, neighborhoods often served as borders for parents' social circles. Today we live in a global village where communication with people a world away is almost instantaneous. Parents rely on advice from people they know only through digital media almost as much as from immediate family and friends. They tend to place more trust in what peers and friends say than what "experts in ivory towers" say. To truly connect with today's parent, you must build a framework of often-digital social connections.

Blueprint: A significant way you can equip parents is to construct a safe, reliable social network where faith conversations happen daily. These parents don't just need support from their pastors and leaders on how to instill faith in their children; they need support from each other. Give parents direct connections with other parents. Help guide them to forums and social networking sites where they can talk openly about the issues they face in an atmosphere they're accustomed to. You can create forums on your church website (check out, on Facebook, or on faith-based networking sites that offer topics your parents will connect with (try There's nothing better for a parent who's struggling through an ordeal than to hear another parent say, "Boy, have I been there" or simply, "I'll pray for you."

A Decent View

One of the most dramatic differences between today's parenting landscape and yesterday's is the dramatic increase in multimedia exposure.

The new millennium was ushered in by an explosive technological revolution. At any given moment, kids of all ages experience multiple technological influences in their lives--and the Internet is only the starting point. In most of today's homes, it's normal to see computers, televisions, and a cell phone for every resident old enough to walk and talk at the same time. Numerous forms of technology bring with them numerous avenues for media bombardment.

To put it another way, "Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions." That's according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Parents may be onboard with technology, but chances are they grapple every day with how to effectively monitor, manage, and mitigate technology when it comes to the largely uncensored media their children experience.

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