Interview families about faith

By Jim LaDoux
Interviewing families about their background, family and faith traditions and hopes for their children provides faith formation leaders with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the life and faith journeys of the families they serve. It gives church leaders a venue for sharing their philosophy on lifelong faith, what it means to be the church, and how households can live their faith everyday, everywhere, with everyone.  Listed below are a few ideas to consider before meeting with faith members.

1 | Learn about the family.
1. Tell me about your family (Members? Grow up here?).
2. What are some things that you do together as a family?
3. What are some things you consider important to your family?
4. What are some of the challenges you currently face as a family?

2 | Ask questions about their spiritual life and faith journey.
  • How long have you been a member of this congregation?
  • What are your hopes regarding ______ involvement in our ministries?
  • In what ways would you like to see _______ grow in his/her faith between now and the time he/she graduates from high school?
  • Are there specific things you hope ____ learns or experiences as a result of being involved in our congregation’s youth ministry program?
  • As parents, what are your plans for continuing to grow in faith this year?
  • What role do grandparents, sponsors, friends and relatives play in helping you grow as a Christian? What role would you like them to play?
  • How do you currently practice faith at home throughout the week (prayers, devotions, etc.)?
  • What do you need from me/our congregation to continue to grow as followers of Christ?

3 | Share your understanding of how faith is formed on a daily basis.
  •  “At ____, we view parents as one of the key faith shapers in the lives of their children and we’re here to support households in that process.”
  •  “Research shows, that if faith is to grow, then it must be practiced daily. We encourage all families to find ways to pray, learn, serve and celebrate on a daily basis.”
  •  “We offer a variety of programs/activities to support youth and their parents in their faith journey (describe some of these items). Are there any specific programs/ministries you could envision your family participating in?”
  • “Research shows the importance of worshipping as a family, and we hope that you will worship regularly (3 or more times a month) as a family. Is that a realistic expectation for you?”
  • “We believe that everyone has a story to tell and a gift to share. What are some ways you’d like to use your gifts to love and serve others?”
  • "Our ministry to young people would not exist if parents didn’t provide ongoing support. What are some ways you could see yourself supporting young people here?"

4 | Suggest a few “next steps” for growing in faith beyond the church.
  • Invite student/parents to register for upcoming events, classes, trips and retreats.
  • Collect Student Profile form and obtain parent contact information.

As you wrap up the conversation, thank family members for their time. Give the family a few faith-forming resources to "try on" if they're willing to do so. Offer a closing prayer.


  1. What would partnering with faith parents look like in your ministry setting?
  2. What questions would you raise with faith mentors to be support their efforts?
  3. What are some of the obstacles families face when forming faith outside of the church?
  4. What is your faithful next steps for equipping and supporting faith mentors?
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