As I looked across the congregation during yesterday’s starry Epiphany service, my heart swelled as I saw children of all ages leaning into their parents’ arms. Parents held children in their laps, wrapped their arms around little shoulders, or gently rubbed backs. As I watched these tender moments, I had my own epiphany: this is likely the one time a week that parents and children may have to cuddle and spend time together. In addition to learning how to use the hymnal or recite the Lord’s Prayer as they worship with their parents, children are experiencing love and associating these warm feelings with worshiping God.
The idea that faith is “caught more than taught” rings true in both research and personal experience.
The Fuller Institute, Vibrant Faith and many others have written about home being the primary place where faith is formed. This fourth post of the Engagement Over Attendance blog post series offers a beginning list of ways that we might measure family faith engagement.
First, I recommend that Christian educators have made family faith formation and a ministry goal. Mark your progress in developing at-home faith materials and educational events. Families are searching for resources and guidance to equip them for the sacred task of parenting. Lifelong Faith’s Family Formation Journal offers strategies for churches seeking to intentionally nurture faith at home.
Other possible measures include:
- Surveys of home faith practice that ask families if they pray, read the Bible, serve together and talk about faith more than before that could be given quarterly or twice-yearly.
- Busy schedules are an exhausting obstacle for families. Help families schedule time together with campaigns. Have families pledge to have dinner together, be screen free for an hour each day, and/or keep a weekly Sabbath time. Count the number of families who make the pledge and follow up with them for their stories at the end.
- If you offer take-home faith kits, keep track of the number of kits given out. Offer opportunities for families to give feedback. For example, if you sent home an Epiphany door chalking activity, ask families to send in a photo and a sentence or two about the experience.
- If you offer home faith activities online, record the number of email opens and link clicks
This series began with a set of assumptions about faith formation. Each week a new assumption and related measures are discussed. Click to explore measures of Discipleship and Prayer from previous weeks.