K.I.D.S. in Discipleship
Pastor Dan MacLafferty’s ah-ha moment came as an answer to a prayer: “Lord, what have you dreamed up for children?” His church sponsored wonderful programs for kids of various ages and parents gratefully dropped off their children for the activities. Yet, something kept bothering him.
The answer finally came: “Dan, you are not discipling the children.”
Thus began K.I.D.S. in Discipleship, a new paradigm for families where parents are connected spiritually with their children, where parents are the moral and spiritual mentors of their children. The program spotlights children from ages 4 to 13, and their parents. Interested church members are more than welcome, too.
Twelve churches sent teams of four or more participants to the three-day K.I.D.S. University training held in Clovis, Calif., on November 7-9, 2010. Team members included the pastor, parents, children’s division leaders, and interested members.
“I believe it will help strengthen our families and our churches, that we will have spiritual growth and numeric growth too. It is discipleship at its best!” says Santa Maria Pastor Jose Vasquez about the K.I.D.S. program.
Each team left with an action plan and a timeline which included a series of sermons on the importance of family, the selection of 10 small group leaders, a 12-week parenting/mentoring program for parents and interested church members. In fact, the goal is for the entire church to be trained so everyone knows how to disciple the children of the church.
“The 12-week program helps the parents and mentors fall in love with Jesus. The foundation is falling in love with Jesus,” says Rosa Gillham, conference children’s ministries director.
Next comes a 24-week small group for parents and their children that meets once a week for one hour. Each family goes home with interactive family worship ideas and additional activities for the coming week.
“As a parent I need to know what my children are thinking and this is going to help me know how to get closer, with interactive worship and fun, so they can talk to me and I can talk to them,” says Gillham. “The parents become disciple-makers, then the children become disciple-makers. Parenting/mentoring at home produces children who want to share Jesus.”
“K.I.D.S. provides a structured ministry designed to provide parents with tools and skills that will assist them in raising spiritual giants,” says Steve Horton, vice president of church ministries for the conference. “Participants kept telling me, 'Praise the Lord for a definite plan we can follow!'”
(In a box)
Did you know…
♦ that by their mid-20s, at least 50 percent of Adventist young people in North America have left the church? (Why Teenagers Leave the Church, Roger Dudley)
♦ that by age 13 a person’s spiritual identity is largely set in place for the rest of his or her life? (Barna Research Group)
♦ that most parents abdicate responsibility for their children’s moral and spiritual development to someone else?