It Takes a Church to Raise a Parent

Creating a culture where parenting for faith can flourish

Rachel Turner

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Parents are the primary disciplers of their children, but we as a church are called to be their community who supports them as a family, equips them to succeed, and cheers them on the path of parenting for faith. This book will help children's, youth and senior leaders to learn how to position themselves for maximum impact, develop foundational values and practices to operate out of, and establish practical steps to shape a culture where parenting for faith can flourish.

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Author info

Rachel Turner has been a full-time children's and families worker and the National Children's Work Coordinator for New Wine, and continues to consult, speak at conferences and run training days for parents, children and youth workers around the UK and Europe. She is the author of the Parenting Children for a Life of Faith series.


The Reader website. Review by Susanne Mitchell

The title is a twist on the old adage 'It takes a village to raise a child', but the twist is key to the book. Parents spend 2,000 to 3,000 hours a year with their children compared with the 100 hours a Church youth worker might have. So, it makes more sense to focus on serving the parents than the children if you want to disciple the children. The next key message is that there is no one right way to parent for faith. Turner does not offer a formula but writes from distilled experience. Dividing the book into three sections, Vision, Skills, Church Culture, her advice is well structured and easy to follow. Just when you think she is stating common sense you recognise a pitfall you might well have fallen in. Her points are grounded in topical, relevant and humorous comparisons - M&S adverts, IKEA, the station helpdesk, sports coaching. She constantly reminds us to offer rather than instruct; to suggest and draw on existing skills; to build rather than set up for a fall. Some of what she says might apply to other areas of ministry but in the section on Church Culture she makes a useful distinction between children's and youth ministry. This book is for church leaders and is a pretty comprehensive, though compact, volume to accompany prayer and planning around this particular ministry, before perhaps using BRF's website and course. The book itself explains why parenting for faith is a 'whole church' task and suggests how to encourage those who do not think they have a part to play, as well as how to work with families where only the children have faith.

Reviewed by Susanne Mitchell


Church Times, 1 June 2018. Review by Dana Delap

This exciting book challenges the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. Rachel Turner, the Bible Reading Fellowship's Parenting for Faith Pioneer, suggests that parents have the most significant impact on the faith and discipleship of their children and young people, but that only one third of parents feel confident about passing on their faith within the family. The village or church should not try to replace the family, but provide encouragement.

Turner longs for churches to have the skills to mentor and empower parents to raise God-conscious children. She argues that they need to lay the foundations of a church culture in which communities journey alongside parents, carers and grandparents, nurturing, equipping and encouraging them to be confident about their faith.

Over the past decade, resources aimed at enabling churches and their leaders to help children become disciples have proliferated. But 'experts' on evangelism, clergy, Readers and children's and youth workers have disempowered the family members who live with the children and young people whom the Church wants to influence. The people who make the most difference in the lives of the young are the adults who can feel least equipped to do so.

Children and teenagers need to see what a real relationship with God looks like in the everyday highs and lows of life, and the church community needs to learn how to create a vision of what parenting that nurtures faith can be, raising expectations among parents while offering the affirmation that there is no 'right way' to do it.

If churches can summon up enough humility to admit that parents, carers, and grandparents have more impact on the faith of the children than they have, then the multi-generational support that they offer will inspire parenting of that kind. But that is easier in a large church than a small one. In many contexts, a multi-generational church community is only an aspiration.

This book and its accompanying website give a vision of what families helping their children to learn faith can look like, and how the church can help. It might not be possible to offer a full programme in every church context, but it is a vision towards which all should be striving. Every congregation has a member who knows how to hold a baby, walk with a toddler, or hold a song-book for a child; if this book does no more than encourage a generous welcome to a family in church, it has begun to fulfil its promise to enable a church to raise a parent.

Canon Delap is Team Missioner and Vicar of Blockley, in Gloucestershire.


Presbyterian Herald, October 2018

This is a parenting book that is not for parents. Rather, it is a book for church leaders and other volunteers within children's ministry to think about how to support parents as they share their faith at home.

It aims to encourage those who journey alongside parents as they are on the frontline of raising children. It is a book that gives us ideas and practical advice of how we can keep the promise that we make at a child's baptism to support those parents.

The book is written in three parts: part one is about creating the vision for parents so that they know that sharing their faith is a vital part of being a Christian parent, but in a way that is accessible and allows for choice. Part two is about setting out skills that are necessary for the job to help parents see how they can share their faith in the everyday. Part three is about creating a culture within the church that supports parents but also shows how everyone has a role to play in the journey of faith of children and young people. This last part is also about reminding everyone that they have a part to play in supporting, encouraging and teaching faith as a community.

This is yet another great book by Rachel Turner; it is easy to read and full of practical ideas, as well as big-picture thinking. A definite must-read for church leaders in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857466259
  • Published: 16 February 2018
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
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