At Northwest one of our primary goals is to be a generation of faith that raises a generation of faith. With more than 60 percent of church-attending youth rejecting faith after high school it is clear that we need a plan. We firmly believe as families, and as a community of faith at the Northwest Church of Christ that we can grow a group of young believers with a genuine and lasting faith! In case you missed the first sermon on this subject you can listen to them on the following links: Semon #1 A Generation of Faith, Sermon #2 A Community of Faith
IT STARTS AT HOME
In past decades many churches have tried to take too much responsibility for the faith development of children and teens. Many parents took a backseat when churches implied that they would “handle the faith stuff” if parents would merely bring their children. The bible has always been clear that faith development happens in the home (Deut 6, Eph. 6:4, Proverbs 22:6). We know, of course, that the church plays a secondary role in faith development of children and teens. There are times when as a community of faith we must encourage, support and assist a family who faces challenges in sharing their faith. We understand that not everyone feels comfortable talking about their faith with their family. Sometimes even when families are willing to start faith habits within their home they don’t always know how or where to begin. This is why we have written and provided a guide called “The Imparting Faith Blueprint” for our families to teach and model faith within their homes. This guide is for families who have children from 0-18 years of age. It provides age appropriate ideas for faith development. We provide free copies of this guide to our visitors/members or you may find it at www.impartfaith.com or in e-book form at http://www.amazon.com/Imparting-Faith-Blueprint-ebook/dp/B007RKBENI This guide provides an overview of God’s plan for faith development, faith-at-home activities, as well as assistance for those who have unique family challenges.
Once you understand what faith-at-home is and why it is important it will be important for you read and answer the questions in this booklet call E4 FAMILIES. You can download the E4 FAMILIES here. This booklet helps you identify your strengths as well as opportunities for improvement when it comes to passing down faith, and can help you set goals as you move forward.
A CONNECTION AT CHURCH
We also believe that families should have a faith-connection while at church. We do provide nursery services throughout the entire worship service. Children 4 years old through first grade will stay in the worship service with their parents until the conclusion of communion and prior to the sermon. We offer a special bible hour for children 4 years old through first grade. After first grade we think it is very important for children to get accustomed to worshiping God and listening to the message with the other adults at Church. We believe in being a community of faith that strengthens one another in the way Ephesians 4:11-16 describes. We know that it requires patience and resolve on the part of our parents to train their children to understand and enjoy church, but it is something that is important as they mature and develop a faith of their own. Instead of having separate children, teen, young adult, and adult worship services we believe in having our worship time on Sunday to include every age group. That is why our church service has one multi-generational assembly.
Having one multi-generational service allows children and teens to share the same experience as the rest of their family. This allows families opportunities to talk about the sermons later and provides additional opportunities for faith activities to happen within the home
FAITH@HOME YOUTH MINISTRY
Our youth ministry is a little different than typical youth ministries. We have what we call a faith-at-home style of youth ministry. We think parent-to-teen discipleship is most essential part of the faith development of teens. (We encourage parents of teens to fill the E4 FAMILIES booklet to work on the way they disciple their teens). We believe that being a community of faith where the whole church interacts and builds each other up is the second most important part of the faith development of teens. Teens must have a connection to the larger church if they are expected to remain faithful as adults. The youth group also plays a part in helping teens discover Christian friendships with their peers.
As a result of these core beliefs our Sunday morning class is both for parents and teens. This class takes place in our youth house which is on the street behind the church property. (6398 40th Ave N.) at 9:15 am. Each Sunday we cover lessons together and give parents and teens something to talk about to make their faith discussions at home less awkward and forced. Discipleship 101 is a tool that is designed for parents and teens (designed for high-school, but can be adapted for middle school too) to work on becoming a disciple of Christ. Discipleship 101 provides opportunities for for discussion between parents and teens. You can download the first section of DISCIPLESHIP 101 here. If you want to check out more about our philosophy of youth ministry watch these two webinars. These two webinars were recorded for our parents of teens class that took place in January 2013.
At Northwest we also want to have a balanced approach to our youth ministry. While our emphasis is on family, we do believe that giving teens opportunities to have fun and positive experiences is important. As a youth group we have hangouts, trips, camps and events that are just for them. Hopefully this helps in visualizing our church’s strategy for being a generation of faith that raises a generation of faith! We will continue to add descriptions as well as tools to this page so check back soon!