I was a children’s ministry leader for over ten years, and I’m going to be fully transparent with you. I remember numerous times being annoyed by kids’ sports. Sports meant families missed church regularly, and the parents who served as volunteers weren’t available during the season.
Is there a way sports can be used to help our students actually grow in their faith? I think if we frame the question this way, we will be better able to equip parents to navigate sports and faith.
September 2023: Your September Resources Are Here!
When my firstborn was about 18 months old, I was offered a part-time job as a school librarian. My husband and I agreed that the only way I would accept it was if she was with family while I worked. Our parents said they’d be happy to help. Even though we offered to pay them, they refused. Their free babysitting was a huge blessing to us. Several years later, when I took a full-time position, my parents came over every morning to get our kids fed, dressed, and on the school bus – another fantastic blessing. Aside from the no-cost babysitting, infinitely more important was the fact that the girls would be with people who loved them, shared our values, and modeled Jesus for them.
As Christian parents, the core aspiration we have for our children is that they would have a lifelong relationship with Jesus. We pray for them and with them; we take them to church on Sundays; we encourage them to be involved in youth groups or student ministries. Yet studies show anywhere from 50-70% of students walk away from church or faith after leaving high school.
When we’re looking to recruit volunteers, we often turn to the parents of children in our ministry. They are the most likely candidates since their kids benefit from what we do on Sundays and mid-week services. We also look for teens to help. But there is an untapped generation of people in our churches we often overlook. Whether grandparents of the children in your ministry or the older generation in your church, there is a needed role for them to step into.