First Third Conversations

No Parents/No Ministry

By Neil Christianson

Remember the last baptism you saw? It is a beautiful miracle to see! Through the water and the word, God claims one as his own and we see the transformation right before our eyes. God promises to work in the life of that individual and bring them to eternal life. What a promise! But that’s not all. There is a sacred promise made by the parents that I want you to think about.

In the service, the pastor says, “In Christian love you have presented this child for Holy Baptism. You should, therefore, faithfully bring him/her to the services of God’s house, and teach him/her the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. Do you promise to fulfill these obligations?”

“I DO!”

And it’s not just the parents that make this promise; it’s the entire church community. Later on in the service we all say, “We welcome you into the Lord’s family. We receive you as a fellow member of the body of Christ. A child of the same heavenly father and worker with us in the kingdom of God.”

So I want to ask you, “How are we doing in keeping our promise?” Remember that we’ve already promised God that we would do these things. So, it’s really not an option for us. The only choice we have is whether we’ll be any good at it or not.

If we want to be good at it, then I don’t see any option but to get parents active in teaching their children about faith. Parents must be the first people we go to as youth volunteers, as bible study leaders and as Sunday School teachers. If we are not getting parents active in ministry with their children, then I would ask are we being faithful to our baptismal promises?

What do you think? Should parents be the first people we go to as volunteers? Should most of our time be spent planning events where parent and child come together? If we’re not doing these things, are we being unfaithful to our baptismal promise? If we’re not doing these things, are we effectively ministering to those in the first third of life? 

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Neil Christians is the Director of the Family Ministry Team at Christ Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC. He has been in paid children,youth and family ministry for 20 years and is passionate about mentoring others in a life of faith. Other passions include Harry Potter, movie clips and his favorite band Switchfoot. So, watch for references to these in his blog posts. 

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