So often I hear Congregations bemoaning the fact that children are not coming to church. They clearly want to see, that the way faith has been represented in the community stays that way. That is that families come to Church every week, send their children to Sunday School and participate in whatever social or faith based activities that community offers.
But families are being pulled in so many directions,
- Finding time for traditional faith gatherings while living in a community that shuns that, is problematic for the children and friendship circles in which they must move.
- Sport and other school activities are scheduled on Sundays
- Families want family time
- Growing children need rest and Sunday is often the only time that can happen
- Traveling has become more difficult due to the constancy of Australian development.
- With only a handful of children, if that in a community, families can feel that they don’t belong.
Churches have solutions.
But it takes brave congregations to step outside their lifetime experience to foresee another way.
Though organised faith is being shunned, spirituality is strong in the Australian landscape.
So where are families finding their faith or spiritual practice?
They turn to what they have learnt that’s been helpful in the past.
What I have noticed within the community is,
Walk the dog.
Are environmentally aware.
Turn to the internet. And what a choice awaits them. How do they distinguish a “false prophet” a bad theorist, a charlatan? With all the savvy whiles they can.
But most churches in Australia do not have a dedicated section in their website to those external to their congregation who might want some guidance as to how to live a faith filled life in the Christian Faith.
Many people are already wary of the established churches involvement in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, so most websites deal with the measures they are taking to make their church/congregation legally responsible.
But I would love to see congregations orientated not just to how to join them but to Family Faith Formation.
Some of my favourite sites for busy families are
For Busy parents
also available as an app
For busy kids
If on facebook I have a page called The Cross in My Backyard https://www.facebook.com/The-Cross-in-my-Backyard-196655824053543/?eid=ARBZT1cM7HzOh-cUDECMrLZoOW6_aD4uArNdSk2WahD2qZ83YZCJpNaNLyZIePZeGiqEnKRnaQ6JC3XF
It was set up to help Australian parents and small congregations find useful information on Faith Formation.