In the book What Matters Now in Children’s MInistry, Gina McClain chose the Word “Parents.” She writes:
“Every parent has a vision for their kids whether they know it or not. A vision for an education… from a Doctorate to simply an educational step higher than they achieved. A vision for a certain lifestyle… from multi-millionaire to simply a step above what they had growing up. A vision for opportunity… from NCAA athlete to simply more open doors than they had opened for them.
Some visions are more precise than others. In the end, parents want more for their kids. This vision drives decisions they make: where they devote their time, money and attention and where they lead their kids to devote their time, money and attention.
Parents in your church need a vision for their family.”
That is our role in children’s ministry. We spend 1-2 hours a week with a child in our ministries – 3 hours at the most if we’re lucky enough to have them participate in a mid-week program as well. They are with their parents so much more during any given week, that the best thing we can do is help give their parents a vision for their children that will be based on instilling a biblical worldview. Gina hits on a fundamental point. Parents will have some form of vision for their kids. If we do not help them find a biblical vision, they will end up with a vision for their kids consistent with current cultural trends. In our culture, that means that they will most likely develop a vision for their children that includes financial success, aptitude at sports, “happiness,” and/or busyness. As Gina explains in her chapter, our role in children’s ministry is to fill the vision void with a vision:
“…that leads parents to dream about their child’s pursuit of Jesus
…that encourages parents to lead by example
…that drives them through the challenges of everyday parenting
…that exceeds the external and embraces the eternal
…that lays the groundwork for successive generations to follow Christ
…that extends beyond the time they attend your church”
This should be our goal. This is the vision we should seek to help parents develop, and we must start this process of vision building early in the lives of their children – maybe even before they have children. As an aside, I particularly loved the idea, and the eloquent words that Gina uses to describe it, that the vision we should seek must “exceed the external and embrace the eternal.” In a world so caught up in appearances, this is an important component in any biblically based vision. In Gina’s words we must “Lead them [parents] to dream about a life lived for Jesus.”
Questions for further discussion
The stated purpose of this book is to spark further conversation. I have included some of my thought above, but I think this chapter creates a whole list of additional questions for discussion. Please chime in with your comments or additional questions below. Here are the questions I came up with:
How would you succinctly describe the vision that you believe parents should have for their kids?
What does your church do to help parents develop this vision?
How do partner with parents to help fulfill their vision for their kids?
What can you do in your children’s ministry to help correct unbiblical visions?
How do you balance the authority granted to parents by God when it comes to their kids against the goal to develop a biblical vision in kids?
How do we help parents move from theoretical vision to practical application of their vision?
By the way, I borrowed the images for this post from the actual e-book which you can download here for free!
The stunning artwork was developed by Imago. I hope I have not overstepped by reusing the artwork here in this discussion of Gina McClain’s chapter. Check back in coming weeks for additional articles expanding on other chapters from this amazing book.
You can find a link to this, and all the other articles I’ve done related to this book, on my What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry Page.