Engaging Parents in Your Church in Conversation

Partnering with parents–wait…it’s not what you think. I’m not going to rattle off statistics, cliches and trite admonitions that we need to do better. Instead, I’m going to invite you to consider engaging parents in your church in conversation.

Kidology has graciously agreed to host my doctoral dissertation on its website. You may go directly to the download page here.

I won’t lie: it’s a dissertation, not a popular level book on church life. That said, I do define obscure terms in a brief glossary of terms within the dissertation. Also, the formatting of the work follows conventional scholarly protocols within my academic discipline. In other words, it may seem academic at some points, and downright dry at others.

Nevertheless, I happen to know there are gems contained therein. The literature review alone is worth the download. But of greater significance is where the study led me in terms of practical application: parent coaching.

Although I am no longer a Children’s Pastor or church leader of any kind, I continue to use the principles learned as I engage my neighborhood in mission. Don’t be put off by the title Praxis of Nurture in Small Churches. Praxis refers to truth discovered in action, as well as applied truth. It speaks to the necessary synthesis of theory and practical application and how they inform and impact each other in mutual process.

The reference to small churches was chosen against the advice of my primary reader. He thought I was unnecessarily limiting the impact of the work. He was probably right in some respects especially insofar as parent coaching truly can be beneficial to any size or type of church context. But I do not regret my decision because of the reasons stated in the body of the document which can be summed up as: small churches cannot always hire to their weaknesses so we need to think through how we might help families intentionally disciple their children without the aid of professionally trained specialists.

If you are a church leader who impacts parents and families, I hope you give the dissertation a read. It’s relevant for youth and children’s ministry leaders and for senior leadership, too. If you do read all or part of it, log on to the discussion forum to give me your feedback or ask questions. Thanks!


The Need for Parent Coaching

Last year I began a new initiative in my church which developed into a form of parent coaching. It is very loosely based on Karl Bastian’s VIP strategy, which can be found in the Leadership Lab 4, Partnering with Parents. This post suggests one possible scenario which can lead a family toward participating in parent coaching. Although it is fictitious and the names are not meant to represent any real person, I believe it is a plausible situation.   Continue reading