F O C U S
To provide a fairly short devotional to help parents see growth in their children. It’s easy to look back and see the physical growth and maybe even intellectual/emotional growth but do we see our children’s spiritual growth?
Time Needed: Approximately 15 minutes (20 minutes max)
- Photos: Parents should bring printed (not digital on iPad, tablet, phone, etc.) photos of their child in as many years as they can provide. The photos should preferably be loose (not in an album).
- Space: Parents will be spreading out the photos so there should be tables for them to sit at with enough space to spread out 4-12+ photos.
- PowerPoint: A PowerPoint (or equivalent) slide or slides may be helpful for instruction and focus.
- Bibles: Decision would need to made ahead of time whether parents should bring their own Bibles or staff provides them.
But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15
– Featured Scripture Text –
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
(this text, although the longest, seems to touch on many valuable themes like: prayer, knowledge, wisdom, bearing fruit, spiritual growth, strength, patience, inheritance, redemption, forgiveness)
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
- ACTIVE: Have parents arrange photos of their child in chronological order and spend some time looking at them. (encourage them to also take looks at those sitting around them).
- Depending on the Milestone, obviously there will be more photos to look at as the child reaches junior and senior high. However, huge changes take place between birth and Kindergarten! The strength of this devotion taking place at every Parent Event is although predictable – the growth of the child always changes!
- Ask: What do you see when you look at the photos? (allow parents to respond to the group if comfortable)
- ASK: Think of the time these photos represent. What joys, pains, sorrows, celebrations come to your mind when you think about your son or daughter?
- ASK: How do you see God in your son or daughter as you glance over these photos? Where has your child seen God over the time these photos were taken?
- ACTIVE: Have everyone open Bibles to the passages. Read the Colossians scripture aloud to the group.
- Pray through the scripture: (spend about one minute or less on each verse or verses)
- Verse 9: Read the verse and ask parents to silently pray for spiritual wisdom for their child.
- Verse 10: Read the verse and ask parents to pray for ways their child to bear fruit in serving God and serving others.
- Verse 11: Read the verse and ask parents to pray for not only health and physical strength but also for their child to grow in spiritual strength.
- Verse 12: Read the verse and ask parents to think about all those gifts and talents that their child possesses. Ask them to prayerfully thank God for each of those strenghts.
- ACTIVE: Have parents gather all the photos up and hold them in their hands.
- Verse 13-14: Read the verses and ask parents to pray for the entire family. Thanking God for bringing you together in grace, love and forgiveness.
- If time allows you might ask for comments from individuals. How was this meaningful? Were there any worries that came to the surface? How might this devotional help you in your relationship with your child (did it give you any perspective)?
- PowerPoint would be useful throughout this devotional especially with individual verses (projecting the questions you are asking). An alternative would be a printed sheet.
- The hardest part of this type of devotional is keeping it moving along – otherwise this could turn into a half-hour or more exercise. This is perhaps best used as a way to springboard into the overview of Family Ministries (parents leading faith in their families) as well as an overview of all the Milestones.
- We should assume parents will arrive at the Parent Event already having looked over the photos. They might already have been thinking about some of the questions asked.