Photo: Tammy Tolman, children’s ministry trainer, says the most fundamental thing parents can focus on at the moment is their relationship with their children.

Home can be a pressurised environment at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic shutdown.

In addition to parenting, working and helping children learn from home, a number of Christian parents also feel the expectation of another role: Children’s Pastor.

However Tammy Tolman, children’s ministry trainer, says the most fundamental thing parents can focus on at the moment is their relationship with their children.

“It would be really sad if parents think they have to become the teacher and the children’s minister,” said Tammy. “The reality is those are all special gifts the body of Christ brings.

“I’d be encouraging parents to firstly be loving and gracious and do something to build relationships, because any kind of teaching that doesn’t come through strong relationship and love is going to be hard work and time wasted,” she said.

“One family I know decided to have a meal and play a game of cards together each night. It’s brought so much joy to them as a family and drawn them together.”

Photo: Eliza, from Kingsway Community Church, completes a challenge about kindness based on the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22

Avril Mundy, Generations Pastor at Kingsway Community Church and local primary school teacher, believes the opportunity for parents to model Christian spirituality is particularly powerful right now.

“Children are going to model their faith journey off what they see you doing. Having the guts to let your kids see what it looks like practically to go to God when things are really messy and uncertain could be life-changing for them.

“I think it’s okay for young people to see the hard times in your faith journey, as long as you’re honest and say, ‘I’m a bit upset and don’t understand but God’s still in control and I’m going to keep seeking him.’

Parents can feel free to focus on relationships and modeling authentic faith without the pressure of temporarily adopting the role of Children’s Pastor.

“This is a time for parents to be parents,” Avril said. “Kids still need children’s pastors and leaders beyond the family to support them and encourage their faith. I don’t think it’s valuable at all for a parent to try to be someone else; kids just want them as they are.

“Many churches are putting together weekly kids programs for families to use in the home as a way to gather around activities and Bible stories together. If your church doesn’t provide that, does your child have a kids’ Bible on the shelf that you can begin to reflect on as a family? Or could you go for a walk and pray and look at what God has made? It doesn’t have to have bells and whistles; it can be very simple,” she said.

By Emily Ferguson