What’s one hour worth?: Guest Blogger Heather Horn

A Children’s Ministry Director’s Perspective on Parenting
What’s one hour worth? 
Let’s think about this first…Who is responsible for your child’s general education?  You?  School?  Both?  Do you help your child with homework?  Do you practice flashcards or help them study for a test? Do you meet with their teacher and do you follow up on any concerns you have?
Now, who is responsible for your child’s spiritual education?  You?  Your church?  Both?  Do you reinforce lessons at home? Do you help your child memorize scripture?  Do you meet with your child’s Sunday school teacher? 

Children’s Ministry professionals take great joy in teaching your children God’s Word, BUT we also realize we often only get ONE hour a week to teach this crucial information.  ONE HOUR…that’s 52 hours a year IF they attend every week.  Some of you have your children in 2 or 3 church activities, bringing them up to a possible 156 hours a year J.

Let’s compare that to a few other influences common among today’s children…
  • Ø  35 hours a week of school (well over 1,000 hours a year)
  • Ø  3-4 hours a week of TV; at a conservative 30 min a day (over 200 hours a year)
  • Ø  2+ hours of sports, dance, instrumental lessons a week
  • Ø  Time in daycare or with babysitters

Some of this may seem overwhelming.  As a Director of Children’s Ministry (DCM) this overwhelms me.  What can we do in one hour when children have all these other influences all week long?  I am not going for the guilt factor here.  I am a Mom too and we have enough guilt as it is, but I hope that we can all look at the bigger picture.  Where are we investing our children’s time?

This is why I know Children’s Ministry workers and parents NEED to be on the same team.  I always say, ”No parents, No Children’s Ministry!”  You are the ones who work on Bible verses with them, reinforce lessons, motivate them, model Christian behavior at home and literally transport them to church!  In my job I am always looking for ways to support parents, team up with them and come alongside the entire family.  I often think, “As a parent what would I want from my DCM? Better communication of what is happening in classrooms? Better curriculum?  Parenting classes?”  But how can I do this on such a large scale? 

My advice to you, the parents, would be to take full advantage of the Children’s Ministry Leaders at your church!  Whether that would be a full time Director, a Sunday School teacher, a Pioneer Girls leader…whatever the position, they are there because they want to invest in YOUR children!  Let them know what you need from them.  I promise they want to hear from you!  Ask them what your children are learning each week.  Ask for a schedule of Bible memory verses if not provided already. 
Take the initiative to introduce yourself to the Director or your child’s Sunday school teacher.  This will not only benefit your child (and you) but will encourage the people who work with you children.  They will realize you support them fully.  Remember most of the people who work with your children are volunteers!  Isn’t it great to know other Christian adults are investing in the lives of your children?  I’m sure that many of us can remember awesome Sunday school teachers or youth leaders we had that helped guide us in our Christian walk.  It’s important that you help to foster this important relationship. 
It may only be one hour a week but it may be one of the most important hours of their week! 

Ideas to reinforce Children’s Ministry at home:

  •  Write out or type Bible verses on larger paper and hang up where they will be seen often.  (i.e.: on the fridge, in a child’s room, in the car, even make them into a placemat for that week to be worked on daily over a meal)
  •   Don’t throw away those coloring pages or lesson papers.  Put them on the kitchen table when you get home from church and ask your children questions about the lesson over Sunday lunch. 
  •   Display papers brought home from Sunday school (or other ministries) just as you would school work, so it can be talked about during the week.
  •   Read all communication that comes home from your child’s class just as you would for school. 
  •   Use technology to your advantage.  “Like” your church’s children’s ministry Facebook page, check out the church’s website and get your director’s and teacher’s emails.  This way you will stay “in the loop” with upcoming events and can ask questions about your child’s progress. 
  •   Plan a short meeting with your child’s teacher or have them over for lunch or dinner.  What an encouragement that would be to them!  

      Heather Horn is the Director of Children's Ministries at Hawthorne Gospel Church in Hawthorne, NJ.  She is passionate about serving the Lord in this role but knows her best service to the Lord is through her role as Wife to her best friend Josh and Mother to two awesome little girls! 

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