Supporting Parents in Biblical Literacy - Faith Formation Clinic 8.7.2010


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Ministry to children and youth is also ministry to parents. This session will identify some of the challenges we face in supporting parents of children and youth as they participate in the development of their child's biblical literacy and will look at easy ways to increase biblical literacy among parents.

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  • Take a moment to review – you should have written down one specific thing that you can do to better equip, empower, and encourage your teachers. I hope you will try those three things in this upcoming year.
    Thank participants, take questions
  • Activity: Building the ideal SS teacher
    Give each group a piece of poster paper and have them draw the ideal SS teacher. Have them identify different gifting with different body parts. These labels can be serious (a mind that knows scripture, a heart for children) or whimsical (feet that can catch with Johnny, a stomach that can tolerate the cooking rotation). Give them 3 minutes to design their teacher, and give them a few minutes to share with the group.
    Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-20
    What parts of the ideal SS teacher are represented on your team? Who has those giftings?
    What additional gifts do each of your team members bring?
    Lesson point: Ministry teams are a body; everyone that God has brought to your team has gifts to contribute.
  • Activity: Ideal Parent
    At your table…. Say your name, your church, and your role.
    Taking attributes of parents you have met, list attributes of the ideal parent. Give them 3 minutes to design their parent, and give them a few minutes to share with the group.
  • Questions: (ask them to reflect and write for each question – 45 seconds per question)
    Think about the attributes your group listed – do you have parents that embody all of those?
    Do you have parents that embody some of those?
  • CE directors are managers: To use the body illustration from 1 Corinthians, we might be the central nervous system, facilitating the movement and development of the rest of the body. In a business environment, anyone who oversees a group of people toward a common goal would be known as a manager.
    Good managers understand that an important part of their role is to help those they manage grow and develop. One of the great benefits for directors is that the team members also help us to grow and develop at the same time, if we let them.
    For those who manage, there are three important ways we help others grow: Equipping , Empowering, and Encouraging. We see this modeled throughout scripture: These are the same things that we see Jesus doing in his equipping ministry to the disciples, Paul with his encouragement of Timothy, and others.
  • Equipping:
    When we talk about equipping people to do a task, what do we mean by equipped?
  • Here is a picture of a firefighter.
    What are the things that you see that help equip him to fight fires?
    (axe, helmet, fireproof suit, face shield, reflective stripes, gas mask/respirator)
    If I were to put these things on, would that mean I am equipped to fight a fire?
    (no - being means more than just having the right gear.)
    To be an effective firefighter, there are months of purposeful training, there is a passion to help people, and there is a willingness to take risk. Equipping goes far beyond just having the right gear – it is about being truly prepared.
    If I were to strap on all of these same pieces of equipment, I would definitely have a better chance of helping in a situation of fire than without it – but I would likely still be pretty useless.
    Parents don’t get a manual when they have children. Many parents have grown up in unchurched environments, have limited understanding of faith, grew up in boken homes with no idea of how to support the faith development of their children. (In a way, becoming a parent is pretty close to being thrown into a fire….)
  • Equipping – Providing the basic tools the teachers need to be successful in the classroom.
    If we are going to be effective in equipping parents, we need to know our parents!
  • Enmeshed
  • Peripherial
  • Absent
  • In your groups, answer these two questions (give 2-3 minutes to discuss and share):
    In your congregation, what are the essential skills that teachers need to be able to be effective as they teach the kids
    What do you already do to equip your teachers with these skills?
    (Take a few minutes after groups have discussed to share 3-4 ideas about what people are already doing to better equip teachers.)
  • Consider having a parent retreat to kick off each year. (Consider this an investment you are making to the ministry year.)
    Make it fun - This should be something they can be excited about, not something they dread. Consider an off-site location: host it at a nearby camp, at someone’s cabin, at someone’s house, a local restaurant.
    Make it worthwhile - Provide practical tools that will help them be more effective in their preparation (Walk through the curriculum that has been selected, why it was chosen, shared or develop program goals for the year, etc.)
    Make it meaningful - Remember – parents are there as an expression of their own faith life! (Encourage them to connect to one another, get to know one another better, and commit to pray for each other over the course of the year
    Support parents in their own biblical literacy development
    Encourage them as they engage in their own devotional life activities. (Small groups, Bible studies, personal devotional time, etc.) If they are “feeding” others, it is important that they are being fed as well.
    Provide additional relevant material to parents throughout the year that helps equip them.
    Lesson Specific material – It is common for us to provide take home leaflets with kids, but what about something for the parents to reinforce the lesson with their kids?
    Information about the age-appropriateness –Help parents understand age-appropriate biblical literacy goals. (Information includes: Where are the children at developmentally? What are practical ways to engage children of that age in learning? What can you expect from children of that age?)
  • Take-home #1
    Based on what we have talked about and ideas we have shared, write down one thing that you could do to better equip your teachers
    (give about 30 seconds for them to do this)
    OK, let’s move on….
  • We have talked about equipping – so what does it mean to be “empowered”? When we talk about empowerment, what comes to mind?
    (Have them share/shout out 3-4 ideas)
    Excellent - Those are all associated with empowerment
    To help us consider why empowering is important for our parents, I want to give you this illustration :
  • I have a light bulb. What do I do with a light bulb? (put it in a lamp, light socket, etc.)
    So I take the light bulb and screw it into the light socket. I have “equipped” the light bulb. Is that all it needs? (no, it needs electricity!)
    Equipping a light bulb into a lamp isn’t enough. A bulb needs to have a source of energy or power. In the same way, while it is important to be equipped, it is just as important to have power. One without the other just isn’t effective!
  • If equipping is providing the basic tools the parents need to be successful in the classroom, empowering is providing the power your parents need to be effective.
    Have you ever met someone who was equipped to do a task, but wasn’t empowered to do a task? What kinds of things get in the way? Perhaps this is because of:
    Lack of confidence (perhaps are afraid, feel inadequate)
    They can’t get behind a project or idea, or they feel intimidated
    Lack of influence (they haven’t been given the ability to really impact anything)
    As we work with our parents, we need to be sure we are helping to overcome whatever these obstacles might be – even if we are the obstacle! (maybe I am the one who is causing them to feel intimidated!)
  • Some practical ideas that you might consider empowering your parents might include:
    Create small group opportunities that allow them to share what they are learning/doing
    (gives veteran parents a chance to share experience with less-experienced parents) - You could provide donuts or coffee on a monthly basis, invite parents for a prayer time weekly before SS starts, host a potluck for the team or go to a restaurant together for lunch some Sunday after church.
    Connect teachers with parents or guardians. Teachers and parents are partners in the faith formation of children.
    Have a kickoff event where parents can meet teachers, Do a monthly “teacher spotlight” in your CE newsletter to help parents learn more about the teachers, Encourage your teachers to get to know and interact with parents, even if it just saying hello when they see each other in church.
    Include support for parents in worship
    Consider how worship empowers parents as they support their children. Do the lessons used in worship synch with what kids talk about in Sunday school? Are you giving family take-home sheets to parents?
    Pray for them
    Develop a practice of praying for each of your parents.
    Look at this list; write down one way that you want to empower the teachers in your own congregation.
  • Take a moment and write down one thing you can do that you could empower your parents.
    (give about 30 seconds for them to do this)
    We have talked about equipping, empowering – now lets talk about encouraging.
  • To explore how important encouragement is, let’s imagine that we are running a marathon. What kind of things encourage runners as they are running a marathon? collect a few responses from session participants – other ideas might include:
    Water stops (frequent stations where refreshment is handed out to runners)
    Friends and family (as well as strangers!) who cheer participants on along the way
    The presence of other runners (a community of participants)
    Encouragement is extremely important to anyone who is doing anything over a long period of time – Just like being handed a glass of water during a marathon, encouragement refreshes us, nourishes us, and helps us to keep on going.
  • Equipping is providing the basic tools the parents need,
    Empowering is providing the power your parents need.
    Encouragement is providing the recognition and the feedback that help refresh and sustain parents over time.
    I am sure we all know what encouragement is. But have you ever thought about how much it matters to your parents?
  • Let’s do this activity - Think back to an especially meaningful time when someone encouraged you on your own faith journey. Answer these two questions:
    Who was the person that encouraged you?
    How that encouragement impact you?
    (give them a few moments to do this)
    Imagine that you are one of the parents in your congregation doing this exercise. If they put your name down, what would they say about the encouragement that you provide? Would they say good things? Would they be able to say anything at all?
    For some of us, encouragement comes easy. For others of us, we have to work at it.
  • Celebrate their contribution throughout the year
    Start the year with a celebration ! Some ideas might include:
    Host a breakfast to kick off the education year and invite and involve parents.
    Gift a new Bible to each family to use in the coming year.
    Find ways to celebrate the ministry during the year
    Have a holiday coffee just for the parents
    Provide a newsletter/email to parents summing up the progress/accomplishments of each grade, or stories of creative ideas for families
    Thank parents at year’s end by planning a celebration of their participation.
    Host a “thank you” meal or plan a coffee hour after worship
    Write notes to parents (or about what they learned that year, or a favorite moment).
    Affirm the contributions of each parent
    Get to know each parent personally and learn to recognize their gifts
    Be honest and sincere when communicating with your parents (when they do something extraordinary or when something else needs to be addressed).
    CAUTION: this does not mean shower your parents with constant false praise. Good managers will tell you that the most effective praise is doled out judiciously and, most importantly, sincerely.
    Emphasize the importance of parents in the faith development of children
    Remind your teachers that the seeds planted in Sunday school might take years to bloom!
    Recognize your own role in the faith development of your parents. You have the potential to impact their own faith journey in a powerful way – recognize that every interaction you have with one of your teachers is an opportunity to share the love of Christ.
  • Take a moment and write down one thing you can do to encourage your teachers
    (give about 30 seconds for them to do this)
  • Take a moment to review –
    At this point, you should have written down at least one specific way to equip, empower, and encourage your teachers.
    Encourage them to remember these three visual elements throughout the year to remind them of equip, empower, encourage.
    Thank participants, take questions.
  • Supporting Parents in Biblical Literacy - Faith Formation Clinic 8.7.2010

    1. 1. Supporting Parents in Biblical Literacy Susan Hinton and Chad King © Augsburg Fortress, 2010
    2. 2. Session Goals • Explore the needs that parents have in regards to building biblical literacy with their children • Leave with three specific ideas that you can use to support parents in your congregation
    3. 3. The Ideal Parent Identify your “ideal” parent • 5-6 characteristics
    4. 4. • Who in your ministry embodies those attributes?
    5. 5. What is your role? • CED’s are managers • Good managers help others grow by – equipping – empowering – encouraging
    6. 6. Equipping • What does it mean to be equipped?
    7. 7. Equipping • A well-equipped parent has the necessary tools to support the faith development of their child • To equip the parents, we need to know the context of the those to whom we minister
    8. 8. Parent #1 – Sally • Actively and willing involved with and engaged in church life since she was a child • Connected to the congregation through many vital relationships with others at church • Has taught Sunday School for several years • Actively facilitates her own child(ren)’s involvement in church activities ENMESHED
    9. 9. Parent #2 – Mike • Has been involved with church, but only as much as was absolutely required by his parents • Left church after confirmation • Started attending church after children were born • Few of his own activities or interests connect him to the church BORDER
    10. 10. Parent #3 – Teresa • May or may not have grown up connected to church life • Children attend regardless of parental involvement • Not connected or involved with the church directly at all UNPLUGGED
    11. 11. Equipping • What skills do parents need to be effective as they support the biblical literacy of their child? • What do you already do to equip your parents with these skills?
    12. 12. Equipping - Ideas • Consider a parent’s retreat • Support parents in their own biblical literacy • Provide additional relevant material to parents throughout the year
    13. 13. Equipping • Write down one thing you can do to better equip your parents.
    14. 14. Empowering • What does it mean to be empowered?
    15. 15. Empowering • Providing the power your parents need to be more effective
    16. 16. Empowering • Provide opportunities for parents to learn from one another • Connect teachers and parents • Provide support to them in worship settings • Pray for them
    17. 17. Empowering • What do you already do to empower your parents? • Write down one thing you can do to better empower your parents.
    18. 18. Encouraging • providing the recognition and feedback that help refresh and sustain parents over time.
    19. 19. Encouraging 1. Who was the person that encouraged you? 2. How has that encouragement impacted you?
    20. 20. Encouraging • Celebrate the parent/church relationship throughout the year • Affirm the contributions of each parent
    21. 21. Empowering • Write down one thing you can do to better encourage your parents.