Daunting: A Letter to West Franklin
West Franklin Family,
Two very daunting things happened to me recently. First, I had an interaction with a dad who is being incredibly intentional with his family. He takes his job as being the spiritual leader seriously and, in my opinion, is doing a remarkable job. I was encouraged, challenged, and motivated all at the same time. Honestly, it was daunting. Second, we got the news that all Williamson County schools will be remote AT LEAST during the first two weeks. We received our children’s schedules. From what I understand, they will be sitting in front of a computer from approximately 7:30 am to 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday. I am sure there will be breaks, but still. Daunting.
What does this have to do with you?
Many of you are parents. Many of you are grandparents. Most all of you know someone who is a parent. Many of you, with children, have not had your child in a church building since early March. Even if you have, there have been no (or very little) targeted spiritual ministry directed at children and students. I wish what I am about to say were not true, but it is – there will more than likely be no NextGen activities happening on our campus until at least after Labor Day.
So what does this have to do with you?
Let’s say we put together top shelf videos for your child to watch on-line. Are they going to be eager to jump on after a day behind their computer? Maybe. Probably not.
Let’s say we schedule a bunch of Zoom calls with leaders and other students. Are they going to be eager to jump on after a day behind their computer? Maybe. Probably not.
Are you keeping a list? (1) for the foreseeable future, we won’t be coming back to our campus for “normal” activities; (2) most kids will be behind a computer for a majority of the day, Monday-Friday; and (3) jumping on again for spiritual discipleship does NOT sound or feel appealing.
How are they going to be discipled? How are they going to grow spiritually? How are they going to be challenged in the words and ways of Jesus?
The way God intended all along: YOU.
I love Sunday School teachers, but it has never been their job to be the primary disciplers of our children.
I love Student Ministers, but it has never been their job either.
I love Wednesday nights and camps and retreats and Putt-Putt and pizza. But these things were never intended to substitute the role of mom and dad in the spiritual development of their children. NextGen ministries at a church should be supplemental at best.
Know why this feels daunting? Probably because we have delegated the most important job we have as parents. Now, because of COVID-19, it is being revealed. We have hoped all along that others would do our job for us.
Are we still looking for a Student Minister? Yes. Is Kelly Davenport keeping her job? Of course. Will we ever have activities for our children and students again? You bet. Hopefully more and better than ever; and hopefully sooner, rather than later. I hope our children and student ministries at West Franklin will become more vibrant than they ever have been. But you know what our children and student minister’s (and leaders) primary job has to be? Helping and equipping and challenging and encouraging YOU, mom and dad, to intentionally lead your children. To come alongside YOU, giving you what you need to lead your family in the ways of Jesus.
My oldest is preparing to get his driver’s permit. Daunting. This means he and I have gone to various places around town for him to practice driving. I am always with him. I am constantly coaching him (he would say too much). I am paying very close attention to every move that is made, tweaking what I believe would make him a better driver.
Know what I am not doing? Throwing him the keys and telling him to figure it out. Nope. I am right in the middle of it, doing everything I can to prepare him to drive on his own. Know why? Because too much is at stake not to.
Mom and dad, if we wouldn’t do this with our child behind a wheel, why in the world would we hope they figure out the part of their lives that will last forever? What is more important: your child knowing how to drive or your child knowing and walking with Jesus?
We don’t delegate learning how to drive. Why in the world would we . . . you get the point.
- Pray for your children.
- Pray for opportunities to have conversations.
- Ask questions like, “What are you reading in Scripture?” or “What is Jesus teaching you?” (Use the questions provided in your weekly ebulletin)
- Pause the television after a “unique thought” was on display and have a discussion.
- Walk with Jesus yourself. (So much is caught as well as taught. . . you better believe I am paying attention to how I drive when Luke is in the car!)
Be intentional, yet don’t make it harder than it is. Be present with your children. Let your ministry staff help you. Share best practices from within your own group.
It’s daunting, yes. But here it is day 1 of the 8th month into one of the most daunting years of our generation. And you know what? You’ve made it. Let’s lead the next generation in the best way I know how to endure the most daunting of life experiences: walking with Jesus.
Because He Lives,