Center for Faith & Family

The mission of the Center is to develop and provide resources and practical, hands-on training to help parents and caregivers implement faith in the lives of families.

Implementing Faith in the Lives of Families

The Center for Faith & Family began in 2023 at ONU with grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the planning and implementation of a Christian parenting program.

Grant funds will be used over a five-year period to support the development of training and family resources. ONU is one of only 18 organizations to receive grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in its invitational phase.

The Center is an ongoing collaborative project of ONU’s School of Theology and Christian Ministry, School of Education and Department of Behavioral Sciences. School of Theology and Christian Ministry is responsible for conducting research, making contacts with churches and church leaders, planning and implementing. The School of Education is responsible for developing curriculum and training materials. Department of Behavioral Sciences is responsible for data analysis.

This effort is funded in part by generous grants through a partnership with Lilly Endowment Inc. The development phase focuses on Church of the Nazarene churches only. The implementation phase will reach all interested Christian churches worldwide.

2023-2024 Center for Faith & Family Update

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The Center for Faith & Family (CFF) is working to help parents create a partnership between church and home for their children’s spiritual development. This begins with preparing parents for this important part of parenting.

To prepare parents well, churches need to provide them with resources and training. To help churches do this, the CFF is taking on the responsibility of training church leaders in how to train parents, and of developing curriculum and other resources to support and encourage parents. At each level of this project, our children are the primary focus. We must all work together to make sure they are grounded in faith as they begin to face the realities of today’s world.

ONU ministry and education students will also have opportunities to be engaged and equipped through the Center as they prepare to serve families. & Center for Faith & Family podcast team


Training for church leaders will be provided through the Center at annual conferences and district events at no cost. The first conference is now being planned for summer 2024 on ONU’s campus. Training materials for church leaders and families are now being developed and will be delivered to constituents by the Center.

A weekly podcast, Faith Together — in cooperation with ONU’s Shine.FM broadcast ministry — has been developed. This will feature family ministry specialists, tips for families, Center updates and more. As the Center’s work continues to develop and grow, more resources will be delivered to churches and families. To listen, visit

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  • Determine the best faith practices parents can pass to their children.
  • Determine the methods and strategies used to teach parents the best practices.
  • Develop a training to teach the best practices.
  • Provide a training workshop for church leaders.
  • Church leaders provide training to parents and caregivers in their local churches.
  • Survey the parents and children at the conclusion of the training.
  • Collect and analyze data.
  • Revise curriculum and materials.

Today’s Christian parents, grandparents and caregivers recognize that they are responsible for their children’s spiritual development. In the United States, we live in a culture where we hire people to do everything for our children. Then we become the transportation providers. We trust that the experts in sports, music, dance, church will deliver what our children need. Families are becoming more fragmented and divided. Faith is becoming more compartmentalized.

What if we switch that focus? What if parents and their support systems take primary responsibility for their children’s spiritual development? What if families implement faith into their daily lives?

The Center’s first step in this multi-level effort was to survey 1,006 Nazarene churches in the 11 districts that regionally support ONU in early 2023. Results of those surveys are already providing direction and inspiration for curriculum development and planning.

During the Church of the Nazarene’s General Assembly in June 2023, church leaders and members from countries around the world had the opportunity to hear about and give input for the Center’s work.

The next research step will be to recruit 100 families by the end of 2023 to take a three-year journey in implementing the training for families in their family. The development team will then make adjustments, based on their feedback, to meet families’ needs.

The Center’s team has worked together to identify the Top 10 Best Faith Practices (in no particular order) that families need to learn and implement together.

  1. Service to others
  2. Communal worship, including praying and singing
  3. Encountering the God of the Bible, including biblical and personal storytelling, reading and discussing the Bible together, and memorizing Bible verses
  4. Faith lived out at home, including praying together; eating together; healthy parents modeling their faith; listening to and learning from children; life-giving attitudes toward body, sexuality and marriage
  5. Faith-focused adults, other than parents, present
  6. Bedtime rituals, including Bible story reading, praying together, sharing life stories
  7. Connecting intergenerationally
  8. Discovering God in everyday life
  9. Celebrating seasonal events
  10. Forming faith through milestones
Leon Blanchette submitted headshot


Dr. Leon Blanchette

Leon Blanchette, EdD, serves as director of the Center. He is leading a team of ONU’s curriculum designers, researchers, data analysts and theologians in developing training materials, training opportunities and other resources to provide what today’s families need for their children’s spiritual development.