Inspire

Care for the Family and ‘The Kitchen Table Project’ have produced a fantastic session to run with parents in your church about how to inspire faith at home. This is so important as despite all the excellent work churches do with children and young people, they do of course spend much more time at home with their families. Therefore it is vital to equip parents/carers with the tools they need to help their children grow in faith.

Here is how to run an inspire session in your church

Inspire

The Inspire session outline below gives you the timings for a 90 minute standalone session. However, some groups may prefer to allow two hours, for a more relaxed pace with extra time for discussion.

You may find it helpful to write or print out the two questions listed below, ready to display at the relevant part of the session.

Q: Why is your faith important to you?

Q: Why is it important to you that your child develops a faith that lasts?

Equipment

To lead the Inspire session you will need:

  1. A laptop, TV or a projector with screen and speakers
  2. Post-it notes
  3. Pens
  4. Paper
  5. Bible – to read scriptures referred to in discussion cards
  6. Play dough or plasticine, pipe cleaners, Lego (optional)
  7. Different coloured sweets or fruit (see prayer activity)
  8. Elements that help faith develop (available to download and print)
  9. Discussion cards (available to download, print, and cut to size)
  10. Picture of a light bulb and a question mark (available to download and print)
  11. Take home sheets for parents (available to download and print)

Welcome

As people arrive welcome them with any refreshments you may have provided.

Allow a little bit of time for people to mingle and chat before you officially start the session. As you begin, introduce yourself and anyone else you may have helping you. Set them at ease by explaining a bit about what the Inspire session is and how it will run. Emphasise that it’s not about being shown the ‘right’ way to do things, but an opportunity for them to share their own experiences and ideas and learn from each other, as well as from the material on the video. Reassure the group that they don’t have to say anything if they don’t want to. It will also help to remind everyone about the need to listen to one another and to be respectful of different ideas and experiences.

Welcome to the Inspire session where we will be sharing ideas about how we inspire our children’s faith by bringing God into the everyday. We believe that as parents we have an amazing opportunity to nurture our children’s faith, but we also know it’s not always easy. It’s important that we do not feel guilty about what we have or haven’t done because we’re not always going to get it right. Each day is a new opportunity. God loves our children even more than we do, and we need his help, guidance and grace to go on this journey together. Let’s start by praying.

Introduction

In pairs, ask parents to share their own name, names and ages of their children and something they do to relax. Make it clear that each person will introduce their partner. This encourages good listening and it is often easier to speak about someone else.

Hand out materials such as play dough, pipe cleaners or Lego to each person. Ask parents to make a small model of their family or something that they would associate with their family. Explain that they can keep it out as a reminder of why they are here, or play with it throughout the session for fun or distraction!

Focus question

Q: What do you hope to get out of today?

Ask parents to write their answers on a Post-it note and keep it until the end of the session when we will look at whether the session achieved this.

5 min

Video – Part 1

Show the first part of the video. Andy Frost and Becky Denharder look at what the Bible says about how we can help our children develop their own faith in God and talk about how we as parents have the greatest influence over our children.

The video will prompt you to pause on the image of the ‘pie chart’.

Discussion

As the group look at the pie chart on the screen explain that although attending a good church is beneficial to developing our children’s faith, this is a small part of how our children can experience faith. The amount of time we spend with them shows that we have the greatest influence and an amazing opportunity to inspire faith in our everyday lives.

Encourage parents to discuss the questions below in twos or threes and then ask for feedback from the group.

Q: Do you feel you have the biggest influence on your children?

Q: Where do you feel that your children get most of their spiritual input from?

Activity: Why does it matter to us?

Ask the group to discuss their answers to the following questions with a partner.

Then invite parents to share in the whole group if they would like to.

Q: Why is your faith important to you?

Q: Why is it important to you that your child develops a faith that lasts?

Invite parents to write down the answers to these two questions on a Post-it note.

You can display these questions as a reminder.

Bring it to a close by acknowledging that our faith is personal and important to all of us, and we are here today because we are eager for our children to experience a relationship with God for themselves.

5 mins

Activity: Hurdles

But let’s be real. Even though we have identified how important our faith is to us and why we want our children to develop their own faith, this is not always easy to achieve in the midst of everyday life!

Ask parents to write down any hurdles they face when trying to inspire their children’s faith. Encourage them to write one hurdle per Post-it note but use as many Post-it notes as they want and then stick them in the middle of the table/ room or on a wall.

Give a short time for people to look at the Post-it notes and identify common themes. In itself this will help parents realise they are not the only one to experience a particular hurdle.

The following themes are likely to come up.

  1. Not enough time to spend with my child
  2. Family time devoted to other activities
  3. Needing help with knowing what to do
  4. Being worried about doing it wrong
  5. Not a good enough example as a Christian

Video – Part 2: Hurdles

Play the second part of the video.

Q: How do you feel after hearing about some ways we can overcome our hurdles?

Take some feedback.

It can be encouraging to understand that inspiring faith in the everyday is not about carving out large quantities of time, or having all the answers to difficult questions, but finding ways to show faith in everyday life!

5 min

Recap the four elements that build faith

Go through the four elements with the group and emphasise how we need the fifth element of prayer to underpin all we do.

Use the five downloadable A4 cards and place each one in the centre of the group as you explain the concepts. These elements are also on the downloadable take home sheet that you can print to give to parents.

Home – A warm, affirming family where children feel safe, loved and accepted gives a secure foundation for their faith to grow.

Be real – It’s not about expertise. We are not perfect, but living out our faith in a genuine way inspires children to want this for themselves.

Be intentional – Finding simple ways to involve God naturally in everyday life encourages our children to know and love him.

Belong – Involving children at church and building relationships with others helps our children to feel they belong in God’s family.

Prayer – Praying for our children and asking God to guide us as we parent is so important. We can look for opportunities to help them connect with God, but ultimately they are his children and he wants that relationship with them.

Activity: Inspire cards

Explore these elements in more detail using the discussion cards.

Place the cards on the table. They are designed so that anyone can choose one and ask the question to the group, which you can then all discuss. You may find the group wants to focus on just one or two questions or they may be keen to explore lots! If there are specific questions that you would like the group to focus on, you can choose these beforehand.

There is an idea on each card to help conversation if it is proving difficult to answer, but in most cases the discussion will flow naturally.

They can be used to think about different ways that we can inspire our children’s faith and to also think about which element from the five above they impact upon. Many will relate to more than one element, and it will be good to explore how they overlap.

Prayer activity

Using sweets that come in different colours (Starburst, Smarties etc.) or four different types of fruit, introduce a prayer activity that you could try at home with your children.

Assign a colour to a category to pray for, for example:

  • Green or grapes – pray for school
  • Red or strawberry – pray for friends
  • Purple or blueberry – pray for character
  • Yellow or banana – pray for their future

Take turns to choose a sweet or piece of fruit, and then pray for your child in line with the topic related to that item. This is a fun, simple way to pray with your children at home. For example, parents could invite their children to thank God for one thing about hobbies and games; people they love; creation; or Jesus, depending on which colour is picked.

Conclusion

Ask parents to look back at their original Post-it note where they wrote down what they wanted to get out of the session.

Encourage parents to share if they got out what they expected or something different.

Display the light bulb and question mark. Ask parents to write the following down on Post-it notes and stick them to the relevant symbol:

  1. Light bulb – one thing that you have learnt from the session or one thing that

you are going to start doing at home

  1. Question mark – any questions you have or anything you would like to explore further

Please take photographs of your ‘light bulb’ and ‘question mark’ Post-it notes and send to us at mail@cff.org.uk or post on our Facebook page. This will help us with evaluating and improving the session.

Use this opportunity to pray to bring the session to a close. Pray that our children might grow up to know and love God. Pray for each other as parents, that God would help us to model our faith and give us practical ways in which we can signpost our children to him.

What comes next?

Thank everyone for coming. You can ask the group what, if anything, they would like to do next.

Some parents may like to continue to support one another by setting up a Facebook or WhatsApp group where they can share ideas and encourage one another. Or they may like to continue to meet together to explore the discussion cards further, pray for their children or to do a more in-depth course, like the Bible Reading Fellowship Parenting for Faith course available at http://www.parentingforfaith.org.

It would also be good to encourage mums and dads to follow the Kitchen Table Project on social media for regular ideas and encouragement and to keep up to date with all our new resources.  @ktpcampaign www.kitchentable.org.uk

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