In my present congregation I have developed a program to help our families which will begin this summer. Fundamental to this is the belief that parental instruction of children in the Faith is the best possible thing for children. This is not to say that Sunday School classes, midweek programs, and other teaching done by the pastor are not important, but parents teaching their kids is always best. The pastor and church can help the parents in this task. And when I say parents, I would strongly include a preference for fatherhood being the main teacher in the Faith for his children.
With regards to this I developed a way for congregations to support a family. A congregation could provide resources (books and such) to families and also the pastor could provide instruction on how to use the resource in the home. This instruction can be done with the whole family in their home or in an afternoon class at the church. Here is what I developed: In my congregation it is being called “Christ at Home – the other six days of your Christian life”
For each odd year (age 3-17) the child would receive a given resource, only after the instruction of how to use the resource was completed however. The parents then could implement in their household the use of the resource for the good of the children. As the child grows, he or she would find themselves with all sorts of solid resources to draw upon, and even more important for them and their future household, they would grow up with an expectation that religious instruction happens at home as well as church.
Age 3 – The Story Bible (1 hour of family instruction)
Age 5 – My First Hymnal (1 hour of family instruction)
Age 11 – Lutheran Service Book (2 hours of family instruction)
Age 15 – The Lutheran Study Bible (3 hours of instruction)
Age 17 – Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions – A readers edition of the Book of Concord (3 hours of instruction prior)
The cost of this program when I purchased packages of it this spring was around $175 per child (with some sale pricing). This is a very minimal cost to be able to give these resources to your households in the parish so that parents can be helped in teaching their children the Faith.
Now I have kept my selections to things from Concordia Publishing House, but there are also many good resources out there from other Lutheran publishers. There are also other titles which could really fit well into this plan.
Works which come to mind immediately are:
Law and Gospel – readers edition
Treasury of Daily Prayer
Single Volume Large Catechisms
I am sure there are many ideas which can run from this start and I would encourage comments on improvements to what I have laid out here or other resource suggestions.