Cliff College Certificate in Parenting for Faith – course summary

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Unit 1: Why Parenting for Faith

This unit is all about understanding why we need Parenting for Faith. We start by exploring the student’s hopes and dreams for the communities they serve, then go on to explore the biblical vision for how children are to be discipled. We take a look at the reality of parenting today, compare how church history has defined ministry to families with the patterns and practices we see in the Bible, and in the light of that consider what is – or what should be – the role of the church in discipling children and young people.


Unit 2: What parents need to know and who we need to be

In this unit we unpack one of the key ideas of Parenting for Faith – that God designed us to be connected to him, not just knowledgeable about him, and then consider the importance of giving parents and carers a vision for a God-connected child. We consider the ‘IKEA’ approach to ministry and then think about how we can, as children’s, youth and families leaders, act as a ‘help desk’ to parents, being available to listen, encourage, give choices and be proactive.


Unit 3: Giving vision: the power of truth and stories

Unit 3 explores some key truths parents need to hear about their role and their capability, and then looks at ways we can share these truths with parents effectively. We then think about how powerful stories are in transmitting vision and creating culture, and consider ways to share stories well.


There are two streams for units 4 and 5. Units 4a and 5a are for students who are new to Parenting for Faith and they cover the five key tools for parents and carers that are at the heart of all we teach and do. Units 4b and 5b are for students who are already familiar with the five key tools.

Unit 4a: Key tools for beginners

This unit unpacks and explores the first three of the five key tools: creating windows, framing and unwinding.


Unit 4b: Additional tools for families

This unit looks at some of the big ideas contained in ‘Parenting Children for a Life of Confidence’ and ‘Parenting Children for a Life of Purpose’ – companion volumes to ‘Parenting Children for a Life of Faith’ and contained in the Omnibus edition of the latter. We start by looking at the relationship between identity, relationship and purpose – the three strands of discipleship – then go on to consider how to tell the whole gospel (the big story of the Bible) to any age. We finish with an overview of children, teens and purpose and children, teens and confidence.


Unit 5a: Key tools for beginners part 2

This unit covers the remaining two key tools: chat and catch and surfing the waves.


Unit 5b: Advanced leadership skills

This unit explores ideas for extending and embedding Parenting for Faith in your churches and communities. Starting with ideas for keeping the parenting for faith momentum going, we then consider how to train your team in the ideas and values of Parenting for Faith, and end with looking at how Parenting for Faith can be used in the specific context of 0s to 5s ministry.


Unit 6: Relationships and coaching

If parents and carers are the primary disciplers of their children then, as ministry leaders, our role is to engage, support and equip parents and carers – to coach them. In this unit, we learn some lessons from sport about how to coach effectively: how important relationships are, how to coach the individual without losing sight of the group, and how to coach when families are struggling or things go wrong.


Unit 7: Creating space for skills to grow

In this unit we look at practical ways to equip parents and carers at gathered events such as groups or clubs and then look at two techniques: side by side experiences, where you equip whole families with a parenting for faith idea or skill, and creating springboard resources, which help people when they are struggling to get started with a parenting for faith idea or tool.


Unit 8: Parenting for Faith for children’s and youth ministry

So if parents and carers are the primary disciplers of their children and teens, how does that affect children’s and young people’s ministry in church? In this unit we consider what our role is, and look at the practical implications for our approach and programme delivery: how to remain parent-centred, how to facilitate parents and carers to engage with what we have taught, and how to involve parents and carers in their children’s key spiritual moments. We also think about how to engage and invest in parents and carers in the specific context of youth ministry and finally, explore ways to transition families between age groups well.


Unit 9: Fringe families

Unit 9 discusses the idea that if God’s design for discipleship is that it is centred on the home, then that is true for all families, not just those who come to church. We consider ways to build strong relationships with fringe families and how to make the time we have with them count.


Unit 10: Parenting for Faith in church services

In this unit we look at ways we, as service leaders, can use the five key tools so that everyone present is enabled to connect with God well and understand him and his vision for us better. We also explore some really practical ways to equip parents to parent their children for faith as the service is going on, and end by considering the power and importance of the multigenerational community that the church is.


Unit 11: PFF with all sorts of families

In this unit, we briefly look at some of the challenge families may be facing and how to equip and encourage them well as they parent for faith: families with additional needs, solo spiritual parents, families where parents are struggling with their own health and families who foster or adopt.


Unit 12: How to change culture

The final unit of the course explores how to put this all of this into practice: how to create a culture of Parenting for Faith in your ministry or church. We start by considering what a ‘culture’ is, and then at two models for culture change, and then explore how to have productive conversations with leadership so your heart can be heard well.


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