Parent/Child Resources

How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph
How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph
Find practical action steps to help your kids grow in God's love.


Dads: Are You Hitting the Target?


spending time with your child is a gift

Father’s Day is the one day a year we officially honor all dads with new ties, a day off from household chores and time to relax with the children.

We celebrate the many ways dads invest in their kids and lead their families.

The gift of time

One of the greatest ways that dads impact their children is through the gift of time. Nothing tells children “I love you” more powerfully than devoting undivided attention to them.

Psalm 90:12 says: Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Lyndon Azcuna, executive director of Awana Lifeline, said this about his family: “Your child will only be 3 years old once. He’ll only be 5 once. He’ll only be 10 once, and 15. As a parent, make the most of each year of their lives because you won’t get those years back.”

This means:

  • Being available to your children
  • Spending quality and quantity time with them
  • Listening intently when they talk
  • Asking questions about church, friends, school, interests, dreams and daily issues
  • Instilling them with love, encouragement and wisdom.

But how can dads measure if they’re hitting the target?

One way is simply by how well we know our kids. Do we have a steady hand on the pulse of their lives, or are our kids more like strangers merely sharing a roof?

Dads, if your child is grade-school age or older, it’s quiz time. Take out your No. 2 pencil and answer these questions. And no asking your kid for answers now!

Do you know …

  1. The names of your child’s friends? (And who is your child’s best friend?)
  2. Her preferred learning style?
  3. His love language – how he likes best to receive love?
  4. Her top talents – and what she thinks she does best?
  5. What he thinks he isn’t good at?
  6. Her favorite and least favorite school subjects? What she likes and dislikes about school, too?
  7. His best – and worst – time of day?
  8. Her favorite movie, song, musician, book, website and TV show?
  9. His favorite activities?
  10. Her favorite things to do as a family?
  11. His favorite Bible verse, passage or biography?
  12. Her hopes and dreams?
  13. His favorite family meal?
  14. What she values most?
  15. Who he looks up to most?

The truth is, we all can connect more closely with our kids. It’s an ongoing process and one of our highest responsibilities from God. Let’s not look back and regret neglecting our children, even for a season. We only get one shot with them. Let’s make the most of it … starting today.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Posted in Father's Day, Parenting, Summer | 1 Comment »

The Blessing of Moms


Moms bless our lives. 

In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked a few people to tell us how their mom has influenced and blessed their lives. Here’s what they had to say:
My mom helped lay a spiritual foundation in my life by…

  • always making sure our family regularly attended church. We moved a lot when I was younger and finding a great church was always one of my mom’s top priorities.
  • taking advantage of teaching moments and relating things that I saw in everyday, normal life to the Bible and how God wants us to live.
  • teaching me patience, kindness and a good work ethnic.
  • never meeting a stranger. She taught me that everyone has value and you never know what people are dealing with—they might need to talk and we need to listen.
  • example. Growing up in the church, I learned all the right words and what it meant to be a Christian. From my mom, however, I learned what it meant to act like a follower of Christ. Her example of humility, service and shepherding is one that I have sought to emulate because she made Christ’s teachings so tangible.

My mom is …

  • a survivor. She was married only 15 short years to my dad before he died suddenly when I was eight. As a single mom, she raised us four children to be God-fearing, passionate, and reliant on God’s higher purposes in life. She is truly heroic in my eyes!
  • generous. Not a week goes by that she doesn’t give of her time and energy to help serve our family or someone else in need. She’s truly an example of God’s sacrificial love.
  • an amazing example of what it is to have a servant’s heart—especially to those in crisis.
  • my greatest prayer warrior and such a wonderful example of a woman who loves the Lord and His Word. My first and best thought of Mom is seeing her reading her Bible and doing her Bible study each day, showing the consistent growth that has been characteristic of her from salvation at age 30 until now, at age 81.
  • authentic. She lived out true Christianity. She was genuine about her walk with God and would share with us some of her struggles and how He helped her through them, as well as sharing with us her victories over temptation.

Growing up, my mom modeled authentic faith to me when…

  • she praised God for the smallest blessings in our lives. Nearly every day, she pointed out specific examples of how He answered our family’s prayers. Her gratitude and constant acknowledgment of God’s love and provision influenced my own faith more than anything else.
  • she faithfully tried to make decisions that honored God and were in her children’s best interest in the big picture. She had a simple faith that relied on God to give her strength for her tasks.
  • she would take me to visit the elderly and “shut-ins” at a local nursing home. She always baked goodies and made it a priority to visit the lonely.
  • she knew she had found what life was all about by choosing to follow God and made sure to pass along a godly model in her role as a mom.

Blessings to all the moms for the many ways you faithfully serve us and shape our lives. We honor you and wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Posted in Honoring Moms | No Comments »

Six Ways to Put Christ First in Your Kids’ Easter Week


He is risen!

Kids are surrounded by the world’s view of Easter. Store aisles are crowded with colorfully woven baskets, stringy Easter grass and mounds of candy. Movies and TV shows focus on the adventures of the Easter bunny. A kids’ CD of Easter songs fails to mention Christ’s death and resurrection.

As Christian parents, what can we do to emphasize the real meaning?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Talk about the events of Easter all year. Don’t become a Christmas-Easter parent. Talk about Christ’s death and resurrection throughout the year. The resurrection of Christ is the very basis of our faith (1 Corinthians 15:17).

2. Read the Bible account. Before Easter, begin reading the Bible accounts of what happened. If you have young children, read just a few verses each day and explain them fully.

3. Explain why Christ had to die. We all are sinners, and young children need to know that Christ took the punishment for their sins. Use age-appropriate language to explain what happened, but kids need facts. Don’t sugarcoat a child’s sin or Christ’s death.

4. Look at present-day pictures of Jerusalem. Show your children that this is a real place. If you search “the garden tomb” on a Web search engine, you will come up with pictures of the place many Bible scholars feel is the very tomb where Jesus was buried.

This place matches much of the biblical account of the crucifixion, but even the people who control the property are quick to point out that no one knows for sure—information you can pass along to your kids. However, this will at least give your children an idea of what it probably looked like.

5. Reach out together as a family. Many people truly do not understand what Easter is all about. Is there a family in your neighborhood or someone living alone who would enjoy cookies, home-baked bread or cupcakes? Work with your children to make gift baskets for these people.

6. Be creative with the candy. Some people give their kids Easter baskets earlier in the week so the candy doesn’t outshine the meaning of the day itself. Or allow your children to choose a treat after Easter because then you’re hitting sales!

Easter is a time to think about Christ’s death and resurrection in a special way. But we can thank Him every day for what He’s done for us.

What do you do to make Easter meaningful to your kids?

Posted in Easter, Family Time | 1 Comment »

What is God’s Plan for Your Child’s Spiritual Training?


spiritual training your kids

God has entrusted the important role of spiritually training children to parents. One overall premise we gain from verses like Deuteronomy 6:5-9 is that spiritual training is constant.

We can’t box it up and pull it out an hour a week or even an hour a day and expect what we’re saying to make a lasting impression. This is a 24/7 job.

But what is the plan for that training?

A verse in the New Testament offers a plan:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

One of the reasons God gave us His Word is to show us how to live the Christian life. What better training plan to copy than God’s plan for training us?

Teaching
We are to teach our children, not just about Bible events and characters, but also how we should make decisions in every area of our lives in light of what God says.

  • “Yes, that wildflower is pretty. Think of all the different colors God used in flowers.”
  • “What do you think? Do you think we should allow you to watch a movie that has so much bad language?” (Part of teaching is challenging kids to think for themselves, with parental guidance, to come to correct conclusions.)
  • “Let’s do a day trip and visit that glass factory and watch the glass-making demonstrations. God has given people unusual and unique talents.”
  • “We’re proud of you. You had a good game tonight. We’re even more proud of the way you encouraged the boy who dropped the ball.”

Reproof/Rebuking
This can be a challenging area in training a child. But as parents, we must realize that children are capable of understanding there is a right and wrong way to do things.

When a child does something wrong, we must point it out to him. Once a child understands that something is wrong but continues to do it, he must be appropriately disciplined.

Unfortunately, some parents often use sarcasm, teasing, ridicule and even cruelty in reproving their kids. The purpose of reproof is not to make our children feel ashamed, rejected, ignorant or guilty but to show them God’s standard for making the right choices. Something that is wrong on Tuesday is also wrong on Wednesday. That’s true even if we’re busy on Wednesday and don’t want to take the time to stop our kids from what they’re doing.

Correction
One of the most vital areas of training is to teach a child that wrongdoing must be corrected. Correction is helping a child adjust to a situation and do it the right way.

Often correction is not for a moral issue but simply teaching life skills. For instance, a 3-year-old learning her ABCs might insist on skipping the letter “J.” A parent needs to go over and over the alphabet until she gets it, but she shouldn’t be punished for not quite getting it right.

Correction of moral issues, on the other hand, such as disobedience, lying and stealing, should (in most cases) follow appropriate reproof and punishment.

Training in righteousness
One of the main goals for parents is to train their kids in righteousness and disciple their children to be more like Christ. The word “discipline” comes from the same root as disciple.

Discipling a child involves teaching a system of self-control with the goal of building character and causing a child’s behavior to conform to Christ-like values, attitudes, words and conduct.

Raising kids with lifelong faith

All these components of child training require that a parent live for Christ. The parent also needs to share with the child the remarkable grace of God, which involves forgiveness.

Spiritual training is hard work, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to train children to know, love and serve Christ.

Posted in Discipleship, Parenting | No Comments »

Do Your Kids Love God?


Encourage your kids to love God.

February is associated with love due to Valentine’s Day. Depending on their age, your kids probably love a lot of things, whether it’s video games, iPods and recess or Legos, Dora the Explorer and pizza.

Do they love God most of all?

In Mark 12:30, Jesus is asked which is the most important commandment of all. He replies: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

That’s a challenging verse. How can we teach our children to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength? Here are a few ideas to think about:

Heart

How is your heart—and your kids’ hearts—toward God? Is your love growing for God and others?

The only way hearts can change and grow is through a personal relationship with Christ. Does everyone in your family understand God’s plan of salvation?

One way to explain the gospel is to use the Gospel Wheel. By reading or memorizing these Bible verses, you’ll be equipped to share the good news of Christ with those around you.

Awana also developed the free Gospel Message App for mobile devices. It shows you step by step how to share the gospel with adults, youth or children. It is available in English and Spanish.

Soul

Helping our children grow in their relationship with God and connect regularly with Him is vital for their souls. Two ways to encourage a healthy soul are through worship and prayer.

Worship:

  • Practice worship at home. Play worship CDs and sing together at breakfast or after dinner.
  • Find your local Christian radio station and listen to it in the car. Learn new Christian songs and sing along.
  • Engage in worship at church. Bring a heart ready to praise God. Model to your kids a grateful spirit for all God has done in your life.

Prayer:

  • Explain to your kids that prayer is direct communication with a God who loves and cares for our every need. We can talk with Him throughout our day.
  • Give your children people and things to pray for. Praying for others will help develop empathy and a servant’s heart in your kids, too.
  • Start a prayer journal with your kids. Not only is journaling a good way for kids to keep their concentration, but it’s also a helpful resource to look back to months or years down the road to remember how God answered prayer.

Mind

Thinking and meditating on the truths found in the Bible enable us to know God’s character and help us overcome sin. As our minds understand biblical truths, God’s Word will move from our head into our heart and change us day by day.

Reading God’s Word:

  • Start family devotions at home. Use the Awana at Home® parent kits featuring DVD segments, discussion questions and Scripture teaching.
  • Let your kids see you reading the Bible each day. Teach them the value of connecting with God through His Word and why it’s important.
  • After church each week, talk about the message and Bible verses the pastor used to teach the congregation.

Memorizing God’s Word:

  • Encourage your kids to memorize verses in their Awana handbooks. Practice verses over breakfast.
  • Try these memorization tips from other Awana parents.
  • TruthScripts™ is a Bible memory program with incentives and specific Bible verses to memorize as a family.

Strength

Knowing God’s Word is important. But putting faith into action is also a command from Jesus.

After Jesus shared the greatest commandment from Mark 12:30 listed above, His next instruction is found in Mark 12:31: The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

One way we can love our neighbors is to serve them.

  • Bake cookies for a neighbor. Extend kindness to someone who might be struggling or experiencing a difficult time.
  • Visit a nursing home and encourage the elderly.
  • Stock a food pantry in your community.
  • Shovel snow from a neighbor’s driveway. Make sure your kids don’t expect payment.
  • Make cards or crafts for a relative, friend, neighbor or fellow church member in need of encouragement. This is especially effective if you have younger kids or artistic children.
  • Reach out to the needy in other parts of the world. For example, this could mean sponsoring children through Awana Adopt-a-Club, World Vision or Compassion International, sending a care package to a U.S. soldier or raising money to donate to a mission agency.

Posted in Celebrating Family, Discipleship, Family Time, Loving God, Parenting, Serving, Valentine's Day | 3 Comments »

31 Practical Ways to Be a Great Parent


be a great parent in 2012Parenting is filled with joys and challenges. One author says it is akin to “having your heart go walking around outside your body.” And it really doesn’t get easier with age!

The following list is not meant to be thorough. It offers practical ways we all can improve as parents. Consider incorporating a few ideas into your parenting this month. (There’s one for each day in January if you’re up for a challenge!)

In random order:

1. Pray for your child in her presence at the start and close of each day. Keep it brief, but put thought into what you say.

2. Tell your child on a regular basis that you love him.

3. Hug your child often.

4. Spend at least 30 minutes of one-on-one time with your child each week. Turn off your cell phone and focus on him.

5. Tell her you’re proud of her. Be specific why.

6. Surprise your child with a small gift that you know he’d appreciate.

7. Read the Bible or a devotional lesson together at least weekly – even if your child is a teen.

8. Play a board or card game with your child.

9. Take out your child for breakfast or lunch at least monthly.

10. Take off work early to cheer him on at an after-school activity.

11. Give your child an encouraging card, e-card or email message.

12. Leave an inspirational quote on your child’s pillow before her bedtime.

13. Learn a Bible verse or passage together.

14. Praise your child in front of his teachers or peers.

15. Make a dinner of his choice with him.

16. Serve with your child somewhere in your community – such as a nursing home, homeless shelter or hospital.

17. Ask your child to forgive you for something you did to her recently, such as losing your temper.

18. Pray for your child for five minutes every day.

19. Pray regularly that God would grow you as a parent.

20. Join your child in a random act of kindness for a neighbor.

21. Play catch with him.

22. Rent a funny movie, pop popcorn and laugh hysterically together.

23. Help your child with homework. Commit to being very patient!

24. Hold a family faith night. Do a fun activity, read a Bible passage and pray together.

25. Prioritize healthy eating and exercise habits for your whole family. Reward your kids when they achieve milestones.

26. Plan a fun weekend or day trip away for the two of you.

27. Take lots of pictures of your child and your family.

28. Devote yourself to only disciplining your child in love. This may mean delaying discipline for a few minutes while you collect your emotions and pray.

29. Put a picture of her in your wallet or purse. Look at it and thank God for something about her daily.

30. Celebrate your child’s successes with enthusiasm.

31. Be the first one to encourage your child when she experiences pain or failure.

Question: What would you add to the list?

 

Posted in Celebrating Family, Family Time, Parenting | 2 Comments »

The Birth of Jesus: Preparing Our Hearts for a Meaningful Holiday Season


Christmas memoriesBut the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

  Does the Christmas season bring thoughts of silent nights and joy to the world into your home? Or do you struggle to deck the halls and hope in your haste that Grandma didn’t get run over by a reindeer?

It’s a busy—and sometimes stressful—time of year, but we must not miss the true spirit of the season – or fail to convey that true spirit to our kids. How can you prepare your children—and yourself—to grasp and appreciate the true meaning of this holiday season?

“Away in a Manger”: focus on the miracle of Christ’s birth

  •  Read the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-20. Use a nativity set to make the story come alive to younger children. Locate Bethlehem on a map. Act out the story and have each family member play a part.
  •  Prepare a birthday party for Jesus. Bake a cake and honor Him whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Encourage guests to bring a gift for Jesus—perhaps something for a friend or neighbor in need.
  •  Place an empty “manger” in your home. Throughout the Christmas season, when someone performs a kind act for another family member, he or she gets to put some straw in the manger. Before the Christmas story is read on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, lay the baby Jesus figure on top of the straw bed.

“Silent Night”: take time to reflect on the wonder of the season

  •  Go to church on Christmas Eve . Make this a treasured family tradition.
  •  Use Christmas cards you receive for family devotions. At dinner during the Christmas season, pray for each of the families who sent cards from that day.
  •  Teach your kids about the symbols of the season. Some ideas:

           Wreaths: show God’s love never ends like a circle

           Holly: the sharp green leaves remind us of Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries of the blood He shed for us

           Candles and lights: signs of hope that show us Christ is the light of the world

           Angels: the heavenly host that filled the skies the night Jesus was born

           Stars: the star guided the wise men to the birthplace of Jesus

           Evergreen: symbol of life

          Candy cane: a tasty tradition with rich symbolism and a well-known legend

“Deck the Halls”: make your home festive and inviting during the holidays

  •  Decorate your home with a Christmas tree, nativity set and stockings. Hang a stocking for Jesus, too, and ask each family member to write what gifts they’d like to give to Jesus (patience with a sister, a grateful heart, etc.) Place the papers in the stocking. On Christmas morning, share your gifts to Jesus with each other and pray together.
  •  Teach about the symbolism of all the lights surrounding Christmas. Read Bible verses describing Jesus as light, like John 8:12, John 9:5, John 12:46, 1 Peter 2:9 and 1 John 1:5,7. Discuss what life would be like if we didn’t have the light of Christ. Light candles throughout the season. Drive around town and look at the outdoor Christmas light displays.
  •  Invest in relationships this season. Don’t neglect the important people in your life because your to-do list is a mile long. Invite your friends and neighbors to a holiday open house. Keep it simple. Ask guests to bring canned goods for the local food pantry or a new toy for needy children.

“The 12 Days of Christmas”: give meaningful gifts

  •  Don’t just buy something so you can cross that person off your list. One mom gives her children three gifts in an attempt to simplify and teach a lesson on contentment. She reminds her kids that the Christ child received three gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—and so each year that is the same number they receive.
  •  Make a Christmas “thanks list” instead of a Christmas “wish list” with your kids. Name 10 things for which you are thankful—gifts that God has already given you. Post your list in a place to remind you of all that you’ve received and to help foster a spirit of gratitude this season.
  •  Teach your children the joy of giving. Encourage them to buy or make gifts for each family member. Recognize their excitement in receiving gifts, but show them the real joy that comes from giving.

“Joy to the World”: share your faith through loving acts of service

  •  Go caroling in the neighborhood and spread God’s love through music to your friends and neighbors.
  •  Visit a nursing home and share the message of Christmas with the elderly.
  •  Stock a food pantry in your community. If possible, help distribute meals as a family.
  •  Adopt a needy child or family through your community or church outreach ministry. Provide for any physical needs they might have as best you can and pray for their salvation and spiritual growth throughout the upcoming year.
  •  Invite a non-churched family to join you for Christmas service. Take a bold step of faith and be aware of people’s increased receptivity to spiritual matters during the Christmas season.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Teach Your Kids How to Give Thanks


give thanks

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a day to gather with family, eat delicious food and watch lots of football.

Hopefully, it’s also a day to pause and think about God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives. How has He blessed your family this year?

The following hands-on ideas will help you and your family focus on gratitude in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day:

1. Start a family gratitude journal. Encourage each family member to record one thing each day they’re grateful to God for in their life. Use this journal template for November to get you started.

2. Decorate a Thanksgiving tablecloth. Buy a fabric or plastic tablecloth and use it on Thanksgiving Day. Set out fabric markers. Ask family and friends to write or draw something they are thankful for this year. Bring out the tablecloth each year at Thanksgiving time so family members can keep adding to it.

3. Awana parenting blogger Linda Weddle suggests making a Thanksgiving chain:

You know those paper chains kids make by looping construction paper strips around each other to form links? Give each of your Thanksgiving guests several strips and a marker. Ask them to write something they’re thankful for on each strip.

“Later, have your kids make a chain from the strips. Hang it up in your house as your very first Christmas decoration of the year. That way all those things you’re thankful for won’t be forgotten – at least for a month or so. You could choose to make the strips from red and green paper or blue and white paper to make the resulting chain more Christmas oriented. You could also add some glitter to the strips.”

4. Read the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19. Ask your children how they would have reacted if Jesus had healed them.

5. Pray at meal time and thank God for His provisions. Ask a different family member to pray each meal so everyone feels comfortable praying aloud.

6. Try this meaningful hands-on activity with your kids: Thanks and Giving Trees. The mommy blogger who created it explains the best way to use it:

“I print off two bare trees for each child. Every evening starting November 1, we put one leaf on each tree. On one leaf, we write something we are grateful for and stick it on the Thanks Tree. On another leaf, we write something we have done to serve or give to others and place it on our Giving Tree. Serving can be as simple as smiling at someone, singing a song to a crying baby, sharing a toy or writing a letter to Grandma.”

7. Memorize a Bible verse about thankfulness. Try Psalm 105:1Psalm 107:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Colossians 2:6-7 or James 1:17.

8. Read a children’s book by Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar, Sparky Shines His Light. The book teaches kids the importance of gratitude.

A Thanksgiving psalm:

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
5 For the LORD is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalm 100)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

 

Posted in Family Time, Gratitude, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments »

13 Ideas to Get Your Child Excited About Serving Others


serving a sibling honors God

“Mom, it’s Emily’s turn to feed the dog!”

“I don’t want to take out the garbage.”

“Why do I have to help Julie get her shoes on?”

Have you ever heard statements like these in your house?

Teaching our kids why it’s important to serve others is a challenging task for us as parents. We are born with a selfish nature. Our inward focus on ourselves often prohibits us from seeing the needs of others.

But God’s plan is different. He sent His Son to teach us a new way: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

So how can our kids become more like Jesus and begin to serve others? Perhaps these ideas will provide some helpful next steps:

Serve in the home

  •  Model a servant’s spirit to your kids. If they see you complaining or grumbling about serving a family member or friend, what lesson will they learn?
  •  Daily chores provide ongoing service opportunities for your kids. Things like setting the table and emptying the dishwasher are small acts of service that make a difference in family life.
  •  Challenge your kids to show random acts of kindness to their siblings without being asked. Praise them when you catch them in the act!

Serve at your church

  •  Volunteer to serve as a family in your church in the nursery or as greeters. If you’re a musical family, offer to sing or play an instrument during a weekend service.
  •  Bring a meal to a new mom in your church or someone just home from the hospital. Read Galatians 6:10 and talk about what it means to serve others in need.
  •  If your kids are old enough and have trusted Christ for salvation, teach them about spiritual gifts. Explain how they can use their gifts to build the body of Christ. Read Bible verses about spiritual gifts.

 Serve the community

  •  Participate in community-wide food drives. Collect food and help stock food pantry shelves.
  •  If a family member has recently battled an illness or disease, encourage your child to raise money for research or other fundraising activities.
  •  Reach out to neighbors. Rake leaves, make cookies, invite them to your church or Awana ministry or have them over for dinner. Make sure the kids play a big part in this outreach.
  •  Take your children with you to a nursing home. Bring pictures or cards or other small gifts to share with residents.

Serve the world

  •  God commands that we show compassion and care to those in need. World Vision  has a helpful list of verses to read together as a family.
  •  Participate in your Awana ministry to reach kids around the world through Adopt-a-Club.
  •  Sponsor an international child through a child advocacy agency like Compassion. Pray for your sponsored child every night at dinnertime. Send notes of encouragement. Challenge your children to raise money for their overseas friend.

Additional Bible verses on serving:

Deuteronomy 10:12

Joshua 22:5

Joshua 24:15

Matthew 20:26-28

Romans 12:11

Ephesians 4:12

Ephesians 6:7

Philippians 2:5-11

Colossians 3:23-24

 

 

 

Posted in Church, Discipleship, Family Devotions, Family Time, Loving God, Parenting, Serving | 2 Comments »

4 Ways to Building a Parent-Church Partnership


How you and your church can help your child grow spiritually this school year

Build a spiritual foundation in your child's life through Awana

Have you ever visited a construction site and watched workers lay a foundation? It’s the most critical step in building a house. The concrete provides a secure and stable foundation for the home to be built above.

Did you know that as a parent, you, too, are a builder? You are laying a spiritual foundation in your kids’ lives that will last forever.

Here’s the great news: your church is ready to partner with you in the spiritual development of your children. You don’t have to build alone!

If you’re ready to strengthen your kids’ faith foundation, here are a few ideas that will help:

1. Connect with a church

This one seems obvious, but it’s a great place to start in building a biblical foundation.

  • Attend and participate in a local, Bible-believing church.
  • Make church a nonnegotiable priority in your family’s weekly schedule.
  • Talk about what each family member is learning at church.
  • Encourage Christian friendships—both in your kids’ lives and your own.
  • Get to know your pastor and learn about the ministries your church offers.

2. Get your kids to Awana

What is Awana?

If you want to learn more about the Awana ministry, discover what Awana is about. Awana helps churches and parents partner together to raise spiritually strong children and youth with a lifelong faith in Jesus Christ. Weekly programs for ages 2 to 18 are tailored to each age group.

How can I find Awana?

If you’re looking for Awana in your area, visit the Awana locator. After you enter your ZIP code or city, you’ll receive a list of churches near you that offer Awana.

How can I help my child get the most out of Awana?

One of the chief goals of Awana curriculum is to give children a biblical foundation for faith in Christ. Awana offers tools to equip your kids to learn God’s Word, though the best resource is a consistent routine where your child and you work on Awana lessons together.

To help your child memorize Bible verses, you can get a handbook music CD. These CDs put verses to song so your child can learn verses more easily through catchy tunes. We also offer parent handbooks that allow you to study the same lessons your kids are learning in Awana. These books give you insights and ideas for teaching these Bible truths to your children.

3. Disciple your kids at home using Awana at Home

Churches nationwide equip parents with vision and ministry skills to lead their children spiritually through Awana at Home®. Our family ministry provides tools and encouragement for parents to step confidently into their God-given role. (See Deuteronomy 6.) At-home versions of Game Time, Handbook Time and Bible (Large Group) Time present exciting ways for parents to instill spiritual truths in their kids.

4. Serve together

Teaching your kids to serve others is another faith builder that can be especially powerful when done as a family. Serving together in your church allows your child to use his spiritual gifts to serve God both now and in the future.

Here are some service ideas in your church and community:

  • Visit a nursing home and encourage the elderly.
  • Serve as greeters during weekend church services.
  • If you’re a musical family, offer to sing or play instruments for a church service.
  • Serve during special holiday outreaches or projects at your church.
  • If your children are older, invite them to serve as Leaders-in-Training (LITs) in your church’s younger-age Awana programs.
  • Stock a food pantry in your community. If possible, help distribute meals as a family.
  • Adopt a needy child or family through your community or church outreach ministry. Provide for any physical needs they have as best you can. Pray for their salvation and spiritual growth throughout the year.

 

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