My church, Faith Lutheran in Lincoln, Nebraska, is working through a unique family event this summer. Our Pastors are presenting a sermon series on parenting intending to cultivate resilient families. In addition to the sermons, we have special activities during the Sunday school hour designed to give parents opportunities to share their faith with their family. We are also sending home devotion boxes that provide a list of things parents can choose from as they teach the faith to their children.
Because Pastor Will produces a regular podcast, I suggested we use this technology to serve the purpose of family ministry, too. This episode, called Serve and Return is the first in this series. Please give a listen and if you like it, pass it on.
As Pastor Will mentions in the podcast, it is not our goal to push guilt on to parents by giving a list of things that they should do. Instead, we want parents to see how God’s plan for parenting. God made parents the most influential teachers in the lives of their children. He also designed the brains of children to learn in spite of mistakes because brain development does not depend on perfect parenting. A child’s brain grows through interaction with parents over the course of the day, so a poor interaction, or a missed opportunity, will be balanced out by other experiences. We could say God created a child’s brain to be forgiving.
Serve and return is the name for those small interactions you have with your child each day. You might be giving a direction, correcting a behavior, praising, laughing, or sharing God’s love. Each interaction teaches your child’s brain what is important. The best thing about serve and return is when we weave faith into those experiences. We are telling our children we love them, teaching them how to live a healthy life in this world, AND showing them how God cares for them.