By Candace Kostna, Family Ministry Coordinator
Take a moment and think about your faith journey. Who has played a significant role in shaping your faith? Your parents, grandparents, and extended family members likely top your list.This makes sense, as parents do play an integral role in their children’s faith formation. Grandparents and extended family members are also influential – that’s the nature of family.
So does this mean only parents and family members are influential in passing on faith to their children and teens? No, not at all. All adults in a faith community can share their faith and values through their actions and experiences together with children and youth.
Many faith communities, ours included, hope to build lasting faith in their children and youth. We want them to stay connected to their faith community as they grow into adults. Here at SPLC, we welcome families in worship, our ministries include events for young families, Confirmation classes and youth group for our teens.
While these activities, some being age-specific, all contribute to faith formation, there is something much more critical to staying connected to a faith community. Our children and youth need to feel that there is a place for them – that they belong in our fatih community. “When adults in the congregation show an interest in young people and build relationships with them, young people feel welcomed and valued …” (from the book Sticky Faith by Kara Powell et al)
So what does “showing an interest“ look like? Here are some examples:
This is part of our cross+generational approach – engaging all generations together– whether it be in worship, learning or service – to practice our faith. Through these interactions, we are building personal, trusted relationships between adults and young people. We all become more comfortable in sharing our stories, and offering support and prayer for each other. In turn, our young people are more likely to retain a vibrant relationship into adulthood with God, Christ and our faith community.
May our experiences together be opportunities to be faith-building adults as we share the “things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:3-4)
Together we grow in faith!