Has your child ever asked you a question about God that you couldn’t answer? What does God look like? What happens when you die? Do dogs/cats/parakeets/goldfish go to heaven? Of course you have! Any parent who is raising a child as part of a Christian community knows that feeling. What about the feeling you get when your child or grandchild makes some simple yet wonderfully profound statement about God or the world? It’s so beautiful and perfect. As a parent to elementary-aged children, I want more of those profound statements – and, I even want more of those tough questions.
I know what you’re thinking…“you shouldn’t mind the hard questions about God: you’re a pastor!” True. I do have a seminary degree, but that’s not what qualifies me to answer my children’s questions about God and faith and the world. What qualifies me for those tough questions? I’m their mother. I’m a Christian. I love my children, and I want the best for them. I want to be honest when I believe something, and I want to be honest when I’m not quite sure. I want to live into the mysteries of this world – and to carry my children along with me. I want to show my children that I’m intentionally working out what it means to be faithful and to be a disciple.
As a pastor – as your pastor – I worry that parents don’t feel “qualified” to parent their children through the difficult questions about God and faith. It’s okay to feel like you don’t have all the answers. None of us do. That’s one of the many things that proves that God is God and that we are not! It is the role of the Christian community to raise up the children – my children, your children, all children entrusted to our care. Our wonderfully vibrant children’s ministries at Hayes Barton UMC provide children with so many chances to learn and grow in their faith. Our adult ministries provide opportunities for parents to grow in their faith, too. This summer, we are giving families space to learn and grow in their faith together – parents, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters in Christ.
To be truly welcoming and practical for families, family ministries must be easy and fun. This summer Hayes Barton UMC families will have the opportunity to gather for messy, delightful, easy, and fun Family Worship at our Faithful Families programs on three Friday evenings – June 7, July 19, and August 9, from 5:30-7:00pm. We’ll provide a kid-friendly meal. All you need to do is show up in play clothes that are okay to get messy. Bring a picnic blanket. Wear your flip-flops. We’ll meet in the Fellowship Hall and outside on the Patio.
Our Faithful Families worship evenings will introduce basic concepts about faith to you and your children through casual worship – no need to worry if your three-year-old decides he wants to wander around or dance during the music! We’ll talk in a simple way about the faith idea for the evening, and then we’ll have learning and activities that you can do at your picnic blanket together with your children or grandchildren. Our June theme is Pentecost – the Church’s Birthday. Our July theme is Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Our August theme is You Are a Child of God.
Please register your families online at hbumc.org/signups. That way, we’ll know how many t-shirts to get for tie-dyeing and pizza slices for dinner! Whether you can make one Faithful Families evening or all three, you are welcome. And you can answer the tough questions! God gave you your amazing children and has provided you with all the tools you need to raise those children up with a foundation of faith! Let Hayes Barton UMC be a supportive community for your faithful family.
Your sister in Christ,