We know that parenting is a uniquely challenging job these days. And past support systems have fragmented or disappeared. The church community, which once served as a relational hub for young families, has been usurped by a myriad of conflicting options. The church knows the crucial role parents play in nurturing a lifelong faith in their kids, but has sometimes struggled to offer the kind of help parents really need. Parents’ needs and longings have shifted, and the church has been struggling to understand those shifts and respond. Meanwhile, the steep declines in church membership and attendance are ultimately driven by parents of school-age children. The parents involved in the 20 churches that are part of Vibrant Faith’s 4th-Soil Parenting project, a partnership with the Lilly Endowment, are using innovative tools and strategies to explore their own spiritual lives, then learn to better influence their kids toward spiritual growth. I’ll pull back the curtain on what’s working in this project, and what we’re learning about the church’s role in supporting home-centered faith formation.

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