Family Emphasis

The scriptures encourage us to belong to congregations of believers that are extended spiritual family to one another. That means we have been called into relationship with one another. As a spiritual family, we refer to one another as brothers and sisters, and are led by elders who serve as spiritual mentors to us. We’re exhorted in scripture to develop close and meaningful relationships with each other where we bear with each other, forgive one another, encourage, teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:12-17). We believe that when congregations become communities of people who know and love one another, who see each other as an extended spiritual family, the children especially benefit. For that reason, we strive to create an atmosphere at Quaker Avenue that’ll nurture such relationships, especially between the children and the rest of the congregation. By the time our children graduate from high school, we hope and expect they’ll have among their closest relationships, not only their peers, but many other spiritual aunts, uncles and grandparents, as well.

Along with the importance of being a spiritual family, we also believe we should encourage our parents to take lead in teaching their children. We believe no one is better equipped to teach a child than the child’s parents. Ultimately, the critical truths of life are learned less in a classroom than in the everyday examples and mentoring parents provide. For that reason, in contrast to the traditional Sunday School used by most churches, we have opted to invest our time and resources into programs and materials that build confidence in parents to be teachers of their children and to create in our congregation an intergenerational fellowship that nurtures the spiritual development of all. For more about our philosophy, go to menu item “Articles” and see under family, a number of articles.

Below is a list of some of the activities and programs we have developed at Quaker Avenue to encourage our parents and to help us become a spiritual family of God.

  • Faith Development Course
    About once a year we offer a special opportunity for families to meet together with their children to discuss several issues surrounding the decision to become a disciple of Jesus and be baptized. The course may be a weekend experience or it may be carried out over several weeks depending on the participating families' schedule. The studies highlight experiential learning and facilitate parent-child interaction.
    Patchwork Families
    Frequently on Wednesday nights we have "patchwork families," an intergenerational, small-group experience designed particularly to nurture children. Members of all ages create "patchwork families" and experience together activities that allow young and old to teach one another spiritual truths.
    A-Z Scripture Memory
    Scriptures are designated for younger and older children to memorize. Talents are awarded with each learned scripture to be redeemed for prizes at the "store." Children recite scriptures each week at His Kids devo.
    His Kids
    A devotional for younger children follows each Sunday morning service. Devotionals are led by various members of the congregation, focusing especially on our fathers and focus on the great stories of the Bible.
    Faith Chronicles
    This is a family Bible study curriculum we have developed that leads families through a systematic study of 48 "essential" stories of the scriptures, which provide a spiritual foundation for faith development.
    Marriage and Parenting Seminars
    Seminars and special workshop opportunities are provided as needed to provide support and continuing instruction for young couples, parents, parents of adolescents and step families.
    Family Musical Activities
    Family members of all ages are encouraged to participate in several musical experiences throughout the year, often including Christmas and Easter musicals.
    Service Projects
    Opportunities are provided for families to work together in a variety of ministries to the community including Carpenter's Kitchen, Family Promise, and the Ronald McDonald House.
    Life Groups
    Many of our small groups that meet weekly strive to provide an environment that is inclusive of the children. Whether they participate in some or all of the study, the groups enable our children to develop relationships with other adults in the church. We also provide life groups for older students (junior high, high school and college).
    Dedication of Infants
    Each year, usually in January, we have a dedication service for all the babies born the previous year. After an appropriate message, parents are invited to bring the newborns to receive a blessing from the elders. Grandparents are also invited to participate. The parents and the congregation receive an exhortation from the elders reminding them of the serious responsibility of the entire church to be a faith community which nurtures the spiritual development of these little ones among us.
    Dedication of "New Schoolers"
    The transition from home to school is an important time in the life of families. At Quaker, we try to provide support for our parents at this time by marking this important passage with a special service. During this service we offer prayers of blessing and protection for these young students. Each child is also given a special Bible to recognize and reinforce the truth that the Word of God must be the foundation of all learning.