Many parents think of the church as a spiritual day care center for their children. Every Sunday morning and every Wednesday night they drop off their kids trusting that they will learn more about God and grow up to be good Christians. Though they may not realize it, in the process they are handing over their God-given responsibility as primary disciplers to the church.
On the other hand, it seems more and more parents have been persuaded to take their kids out of the youth ministries of their church to disciple them on their own. They are convinced that these types of age-graded ministries are neither helpful nor biblical, insisting that families must be together at all times.
What are we to do with these two extremes? Is one right and the other wrong? I believe we must do what Steve Wright tells us to do in his paradigm-shifting book, reTHINK. He says:
Our ministries must co-champion the family and the church ... The two institutions must step closer to one another to be based on a biblical model. [Children] and teens need family and church working hand-in-hand surrounding them with truth and godly models to follow.
Steve is right (or Wright) -- excuse the pun. The church and the home must join hands and partner together if we expect lasting change to occur. Practically this means that the church must do a better job of equipping parents to teach and train their children as well as providing environments for the family to grow together. Likewise, parents must open themselves up to the church and the community it provides as a place for their kids to be strengthened in the truths they are learning at home.