Fear Not Parenting: Encouraging Parents to Parent without Fear

I just heard about another school shooting. My neighbor told me her daughter brought home a pornographic book from the school library. A friend had to pull her child out of school because he was bullied so badly. Those great little fruit pouches might have dangerous levels of lead. Transgenderism is a fad among our nation’s youth. This is the worst season for RSV, colds, and flu in decades, not to mention Covid is still out there.

This world is scary! Our kids are in danger physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and the parents in our churches are afraid. Deeply afraid. What are we as Children’s Ministry Directors to do? How can we encourage our parents to parent without fear when we ourselves are afraid?

Well, first, let’s just take a deep breath and set our minds on God’s Word. Psalm 46 (NIV) tells us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. Ahhhh! Refuge. What a great word! A refuge is somewhere safe—protected. God Himself is our refuge. That fills me with courage! Reading on we see those two words: ever-present. Soak that in! Ever-present. I love that. Always here. Always near. Trouble may draw near, but God is closer still.  It’s such a tiny verse, only a few words, but it is hefty-sized when it comes to encouragement!

As Children’s Ministry Directors, let’s be mindful of that heftiness found in Scripture when we speak to our parents! When parents come to us with questions or request for resources, it can be easy to jump straight to great parenting techniques we’ve learned, or to recommend a parenting book or blog post. And those are good. A variety of tools and resources should always be at our fingertips. But let them be our second sentence response, and may our first sentence response be encouragement from God’s Word. Even a small Bible verse for mommas and daddies to meditate on and apply can be so very powerful in helping them to build a “Fear Not” style of parenting.

But parents don’t always come to us for help, do they? Often they struggle on their own, and it is only by our keen observation that we know their struggles. Perhaps they don’t want to be vulnerable, or they feel too busy to talk or compose an e-mail. Sometimes they may even be unaware that they are in need of help. What are we to do then? Do we set up parents’ training events? A Sunday School class? Send a newsletter? Perhaps. Again, giving parents practical tools is good and helpful. Taking initiative is a wonderful thing, too! In addition, these types of things are part of our job descriptions. So yes, absolutely work with your Session to provide excellent teaching and training for parents.

But first, friend, pray. Look at Ephesians 6. It’s about war. Let’s not forget that our parents are at war! They are battling for the very souls of their children. They must not go into battle alone, but with fellow soldiers. So how do we join them in the battle if they don’t make their needs known to us? Look at Ephesians 6 again. After explaining our suit of armor, Paul gives us a battle plan: “…keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (v. 18). In Romans 8, Paul assures us that we are not alone in this effort. “…For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (v. 27) Prayer is a powerful weapon. Intercession is the means by which the Holy Spirit goes before God the Father on behalf of our parents and their children. Wow!

As we enter the fray with the parents of our churches, let us support our parents with training, good resources, and excellent teaching, but even more so, let us be steeped in the truths of Scripture! Let us be ever mindful that God is our refuge, protecting us. Let us remember that He is present with us in these days of trouble and is participating with us as the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.

As Moses said his goodbyes to the people of Israel, he knew they would face many enemies in order to enter the Promised Land. He left them with these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). He goes with us. That’s why we can encourage our parents to have no fear in parenting.

Lisa Updike, Director of Children’s Ministries at Covenant Presbyterian in Harrisonburg, VA, has been in love with Jesus since she was a little girl and has always been passionate about sharing the gospel with others. She has extensive ministry experience which includes homeschooling, teaching in Christian Schools, working as a learning disabilities therapist, leading children’s choirs, and spearheading children’s programs in several churches over the last 30 years. Lisa and Kevin have 4 children (3 through adoption).