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The goal of this ministry focus paper is to examine the role of the institutional church and that of parents in the spiritual formation of children. This paper explores new ways in which the church can collaborate with parents to better accomplish this important task. It also seeks new ways to reimagine this partnership and how the church can provide parents with the tools and resources needed to confidently reclaim the role of primary faith nurturers.

This project seeks to present the importance of parents and the home as the primary source for a child’s spiritual formation. Child development theorists have shown that caregivers are the greatest influences on a child’s early development in all aspects of life. There is a small window of opportunity to lay a foundation of faith that a child will continue to build upon for his or her entire life and the home is where that takes place. Church was once the focus of the American family and an important element in a child’s spiritual formation, but fails to ring true in the twenty-first century. Even when a family makes attending church a priority, formal religious teaching encompasses only one hour of a child’s 168-hour week, not enough to make a significant impact on his or her spiritual formation.

This paper contains three major sections. Part one looks at the need for parent support and education within the institutional church. Part two establishes the theological foundations of this project. Part three engages a conversation to create a plan of action. Reimagining the partnership between church and home begins with the support of the community of faith, while developing resources and tools to better equip parents in their God-given vocation as primary faith nurturers of their children.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Jones, Anthony

Document Type





Children, Spiritual Formation, Parenting




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November 2018

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