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Quick Faith Builders

12 easy ways you can equip parents to lead their children spiritually

Parents need simple, quick faith-builders that'll make an impact on their children. You can give parents the tools and the time to foster spirituality in their children's lives by passing on these 12 easy methods that put Jesus in the forefront.

1. Get the Word Out -Any time you find a helpful article or idea, attach this note to a copy of it: "Thanks for sharing your child with us. We know the spiritual welfare of your child is very important to you. Attached are simple ideas you can use with your child at home. If we can help in any way, please let us know." (You may need to contact the article's publisher or author to get permission to reprint.)

2. Ask Me-Create stickers kids can wear home that say, "Ask me what I did today at church!" Encourage parents to ask their kids about the lessons, activities, and crafts they did during class.

3. Mealtime Prayers-Many parents race through fast-food windows to keep their kids' bellies from grumbling on the go. Encourage parents to make a habit of thanking God for meals no matter where they're eating-even in the car. Kids and parents can take turns saying a special prayer of thanks wherever they are.

4. Hello and Goodbye-Provide parents with a craft kit to make a cross. Have them hang the cross near their front door where it's clearly visible. As parents and children leave and enter their homes, they'll be reminded to say a prayer of thanks for Christ's sacrifice.

5. The After-Church Report-Encourage families to begin a new after-church tradition. On the way home, family members will take turns telling one thing they learned at church that day, one thing they enjoyed, and one thing they didn't understand or want to learn more about. This new tradition will help solidify lessons learned, give parents the opportunity to answer their kids' questions, and give families a chance to find out what everyone is experiencing at church.

6. "Fortunate" Cookie Recipe -Give parents a simple, laminated recipe card for cookies they can make with their children. Attach a tube of icing to each card and include this note: "Each time you make these cookies with your family, use the icing to write one thing you're all thankful for on your cookies. Pray together, thanking God for his care and generosity."

7. Prayer Package-Create a family devotion basket kids can take turns taking home each week. Collect or write enough family devotions for families to do one or two daily for a week. Alternate the devotions when every child has taken home the basket, and include seasonal and holiday devotions when possible.

8. Good News-Design a send-home newsletter each week for kids to share with their families. Include a review of the lessons you've taught, extension activities for families, and resources for faith-building. For curriculum with preprinted newsletters, go to www.cmmag.com.

9. One Book, One Church-Start a reading project in your children's ministry. Have your volunteers and ministers select a book monthly for all the families in your ministry to read at the same time. Then bring the families together in discussion groups, online chat rooms, or special presentations by the book's author.

10. The Greatest Gift-Give each family in your ministry a family- friendly Bible and a yearlong calendar plan to read different selections from their Bible. A great new Bible that includes devotions, fun facts, and other activities is the Hands-On Bible (Group Publishing, Inc.). For more details, go to www.cmmag.com.

11. Make a Point-Publish a weekly "Lesson Point" in your church bulletin that explains what kids are learning in your children's ministry. Encourage parents to discuss the point with their kids.

12. Extend the Lesson-Go high-tech and create an online page where parents can access "Lesson Extenders" to use during the week that help drive home your classroom lesson and give families opportunities to learn together.

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