Research from multiple sources has shown that the parents actually have a greater impact on faith development than any other source (including church). After several attempts at planning different events or trainings, I realized that parents don’t exactly have an abundance of time to come to meetings. So, in order to assist in their journey as both parents and faith-formers, I began an email newsletter called “Resourcing and Equipping Parents,” or “R.E.P.” for short. The idea is to get resources into the hands of parents who might not know how to be leaders in this way. While the activities and practices I suggest are relatively simple, I believe they can have a profound impact on the entire family! I break it down by age group (infant, toddler, preschooler, grade-schooler, and teenager) and invite families to take on a practice based on the monthly theme. Themes have included reading the Bible, praying together, blessing others, showing compassion and kindness, and having conversations about faith. Sometimes the suggestions are one-time activities, other times times they are daily practices, and occasionally it involves downloading a tablet or smartphone app. Anything to get families connected with God and each other!
I’m working on getting this available more widely although, as you can imagine, it is no small task. Right now, if persons want to sign up, they can go to http://hesstonmc.org/parents/. It’s not exclusive to parents of those who attend Hesston Mennonite, but that is the main audience I’ve been working with until lately. My dream would be to have others contribute as well at some point. In the future, I also hope to have “back issues” available for those who might want to look back on past ideas if they’re new to the mailing list.
–Clayton Gladish, Hesston Mennonite Church