Parents matter

In the second of our new series of articles, Anna Hawken, Parenting for Faith lead, explores the truths behind the simple statement ‘Parents matter!’ and highlights this year’s exciting Big Give Christmas Challenge which begins on Tuesday 29 November.

27 November 2022

Making a difference every day

It’s easy to feel disheartened when you look at the world around us today. Climate change, natural disasters, rising costs and wars are all making the headlines. The problems seem big and we can feel paralysed to know what to do to help. But there is a group of people who are making a difference every day. Parents!

Parenting is an unglamorous, often unnoticed and unappreciated role. But it is vital to the functioning of our society and our world. As parents care for and guide their children, they are raising a generation who can help change the world today and in the years to come. Parents and carers help their children and teenagers learn and grow physically, mentally and spiritually too. They can help them to see who God is, what he is doing in the world and how they can choose to partner with him to help transform it.

Many people can help our children and young people do this, but parents or primary carers are the most important and most significant influence in their child’s life. They are the expert in their child because they know them better than anyone else! They often have more time with their children than church or school or nursery.

‘As parents care for and guide their children, they are raising a generation who can help change the world today and in the years to come.’

Even as children get older and spend more time with friends, there are lots of little moments where parents are supporting and guiding them. They are in the perfect position to help their child meet and know God and guide them to partner with him. But they were never meant to take on this huge responsibility alone.

Compelling evidence

In a 2016 report entitled Passing on Faith, Olwyn Mark reviewed over 50 years of research and concluded that while parents are the most significant influencer of a child’s faith, only 36% of them feel confident in this role. Parents need help. Our help. They need us to be the supportive community around them that encourages them and helps them with what they need.

How can we do that? There are lots of ways we can help:

Practical support: Are there parents in your church or community that you could support practically? That might be with babysitting, shopping, gardening or offering to make them a cuppa and be a listening ear. Any way that we can offer support will be appreciated. It doesn’t need to be big or frequent. Freeing up time or head space can be the most amazingly helpful gift to a parent.

Prayer: Could you commit to pray for parents and carers? That could be for the same individuals you are supporting practically. Whether they have a relationship with God or not, many people will welcome being asked for prayer requests. They will appreciate knowing that there are people standing with them and supporting them. Or you might want to think about the bigger picture and pray for the parents and carers of the nation and the world. What are your hopes and dreams for them and their children?

‘Parents are the most significant influencer of a child’s faith, but only 36% of them feel confident in this role.’

Give: Mark’s research review shows that confidence is one of the issues parents most struggle with. Parenting for Faith produces a wide range of resources to give parents and carers the tools they need to help their children meet and know God. As they apply these to their family, they grow in confidence. Every parent and every family is different, which is why we offer a whole range of resources, including:

  • Courses – the original Parenting for Faith course, the bite-size Babies and Toddlers course and the Parenting as a Church Leader course. These are all available for individuals or churches to run themselves. Or people can choose to join courses led by BRF. This allows those who don’t know other Christian parents to find community and support. With your support, we want to produce a course to equip parents of teenagers, to accompany the recently released book Parenting Teens for a Life of Faith by Rachel Turner.
  • Podcast – our weekly podcast makes it easy for parents and carers to get inspired and equipped on the go. They can listen to interviews and ideas to try whilst running, shopping or commuting.
  • Events and training – including free regular Facebook live events on topical issues.
  • A searchable website with hundreds of articles, videos and free downloads.
  • Books and audiobooks on all aspects of spiritual parenting.

To explore the whole range of Parenting for Faith resources, visit

The Big Give Christmas Challenge

It is only possible for BRF to offer this exceptional range of Parenting for Faith resources because people like you, and churches like yours, sow into the ministry of Parenting for Faith.

Starting on Tuesday 29 November at 12.00pm there is an amazing opportunity to double the value of any gift – however small – you make to Parenting for Faith.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge runs until 12.00pm on Tuesday 6 December and throughout that week, any donation you make will have twice the value, thanks to matched funding.

However you choose to support parents, thank you. You are not only improving the lives of those parents but investing in the next generation. You are enabling them to meet and know God for themselves now and to continue partnering with him to transform the world as they grow up.

Anna is the Parenting for Faith ministry lead. She joined the team in March 2018. Before this, she was a children and families minister in St Albans, where she ran Parenting for Faith courses.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge

… is now live!

Anna Hawken calls on everyone in the community to support parents in their vital work of nurturing their children’s faith. One incredible way to do just that is to support this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge through which we’re aiming to raise £20,000 for Parenting for Faith.

BRF’s Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign for Parenting for Faith runs until 12.00 pm on Tuesday 6 December. For one week, all donations made, up to £10,000, will be doubled, helping us towards our target of £20,000. All funds raised will go towards helping children and teenagers grow their own faith in God.

Messy Church Advent calendar

The Messy Church team have created a fun online Messy Advent calendar for you to follow @MessyChurchBRF across social media in December. Starting on 1 December there’s a Messy idea for every day until Christmas Eve.

Advent reflections

There’s still time to organise your Advent reading: the opportunity to build in moments of peace and reflection in the busy days of December. We have a range of Advent books to browse but here are two popular titles:

Sharing the Christmas Story Sally Welch explores what the Christmas story is really about, and how we can share it.

Celtic Adventtakes the reader through Advent through the eyes and beliefs of Celtic Christianity.