Article by Sarah Thompson, Director of Communications & Volunteer Mobilization
Words of Affirmation. Acts of Service. Receiving Gifts. Quality Time. Physical Touch. While many refer to these "five love languages", that were developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, in the context of marriage, their significance also spans to the way children express and receive love.
"Children receive love emotionally, Chapman explains. "but because they are all different, we must pay attention to their individual needs. We must learn to speak our children's [love] language if we want them to feel loved."
At Glory Chapel International Cathedral, leaders recognize that without healthy families it is impossible to have a healthy church and community.
Because of this, the children's ministry leaders at Glory Chapel set out to helpparents and caregivers of the young children they serve learn about their children's emotional needs, the importance of parent-child relationships, and ways they can use words and actions to build strong relationships with their children.
Backed with a grant from Urban Alliance through its Thrive initiative, a one-day workshop was offered, and more than 20 families took part.
"I was encouraged to see families at our church come together to learn how to strengthen their relationships with their children," shared Jessica Sanderson, children's ministry co-leader at Glory Chapel. "It is the first time we had an event that involved both the parents and children in this way."
"We began the workshop by providing a Biblical framework for loving our children," explained Sanderson.
What followed was an overview of The Five Love Languages, examples of how to love children using each language, group discussion and an activity where each parent and caregiver committed to one way they will express love using their child's love language.
"The Love Language Workshop was enlightening and an opportunity to reflect on the needs of my children. The leaders did a great job presenting the information and giving examples of how to communicate in my children's love languages," shared Esther Gonzalez-Torres. "I'm practicing what I learned and observing my children's responses. I love learning new ways to develop a relationship with my children."
Grant support from Urban Alliance helped the ministry provide lunch, childcare and books for parents and caregivers to take home.
"UA support was integral," said Sanderson. "The lunch created an opportunity for children and their caregivers to complete the love languages quiz and enjoy time together. Without childcare, many of the families would not have been able to attend. By providing books to take home, it gave parents and caregivers the opportunity to continue building on the information they learned at the workshop."
Because of the overwhelmingly positive response they received, the church plans to offer more workshops based on topics most requested by the families they serve.
"We're excited that our children's ministry has the opportunity to strengthen families in our church and community." said Sanderson.
For more information about Urban Alliance's Thrive initiative, contact Rosaicela Rodriguez, Urban Alliance's Director of Implementation, Children & Youth Initiatives.