What do Christian Parents understand of their children’s spirituality and how do they nurture it?

For many years we have been told that children are not the church of the future but the church of today. This investigation has led me to question whether this is just a catchy platitude because churches do not appear to know how to support children’s spiritual development.

A significant amount of research has taken place in recent years on children’s spirituality this has revealed that the world of the child is perceived to be quite different from the world of the adult. This investigation set out to discover how much of this information had filtered down to Christian parents, and what, if anything, they were doing to nurture it? By using a quantitative research method I quickly discovered that parents knew very little on the subject. This proved embarrassing for some, resulting in questionnaires not being completed, and follow up interviews not taking place.

The participant group of parents were drawn from local churches and from a group of ministers and children/youth workers in training. Their questionnaires were analysed and reflected on. The simplified conclusions were that Christian parents were struggling with this subject and admitted that they needed the support of their churches to help them. However what was more enlightening was the fact that those who were training for ministry had no greater understanding of this subject than the average parent in the pew. If ministers are not receiving the correct training in this area it brings into question how churches can provide guidance and the support networks that parents need.

Tina Collins

Tina graduated from BCYM with a BA (Hons) in Children and Family work and Practical Theology.