Opening Doors To Discipleship is a series of four courses in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition to help teachers and leaders equip themselves to be faithful teachers and leaders.

Parents and Caregivers as Christian Educators

The concept of parents and caregivers as primary Christian educators is not new. Today’s cultural shifts, mainly sporadic church attendance, clarify this reality for many faith communities. There is a renewed sense of urgency to do more to support adults who are fulfilling this important role. Congregational leaders are seeking new ways to equip parents and caregivers for nurturing young disciples.

Dr. Anna Brown, certified Christian educator and director of Christian education at Pleasant Hills Presbyterian Church, Duluth, Georgia, addressed this topic in a day-long workshop, “Parents: Christian Educators on the Frontlines,” through Columbia Theological Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning. After exploring biblical, theological, developmental, and cultural foundations, Brown modeled educational and spiritual practices for creating a framework for equipping parents and guardians.

Brown’s outline for children’s educational ministry may help people—as educators, pastors, teachers, parents, or volunteers—start conversations about how to better recognize and support parents and caregivers as Christian educators.

  • Provide opportunities for parenting adults to explore their own faith stories and to learn more about children’s faith development
  • Use the liturgical calendar of the church year as a foundation for education at church and at home
  • Model prayer styles and Bible skills as tools for any place and time
  • Help parents, caregivers, and children connect their stories and stories in children’s literature to the biblical story
  • Create an ethos of adults and children worshiping, learning, and serving together as God’s stewards
  • Equip families and faith communities to celebrate the sacraments and to recognize developmental milestones throughout the life cycle

Parents, regardless of the age of their children, long to walk beside their young disciples. Church leaders and volunteers recognize the need to equip parenting adults on the Way. The task, to nurture growing faith in adults and children, is worthy of intentional conversations and actions. Be challenged by the call for parents and caregivers to be the primary Christian educators.

Contact a Presbyterian Reformed Educational Partner (PREP) representative, listed under CONTACT US, for more information about this topic or other articles in the e-newsletter archives.

By Candace C. Hill, coordinator of educational ministries, Congregational Ministries Publishing, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).