parenting


Home is the ultimate small group for growth and mission in this world.  Think about it.  Home life provides a context of discipleship unlike any other where parents serve as primary pastors to their children.  Mark Driscoll writes,

Because parents love their children the deepest, know them the best, and are with them the most, they are best suited to be a child’s primary pastor who gospels them, teaches them, loves them, prays for and with them, and reads Scripture to them.

I would only add that the home ought to be a place where parents model a missional life to their children.  But let’s be careful not to go too far with this idea of home as a small group.  Though it’s true that parents are the primary teachers and shepherds for their children, it doesn’t mean that the Church is secondary and unneeded.  On the contrary, our temporary, earthly family is part of a bigger, eternal church family that reinforces and supplements the biblical instruction we ought to be giving in the home.  Our home small group is not the church.  It is part of the church, indeed, part of the body that grows and adds members through it’s common mission.

Mark Driscoll gives a realistic approach to doing family devotions at dinnertime: 

Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.
Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.
Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.
Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to pray aloud.
Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.
Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.
Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.
Step 8. Ask questions about the passage.  You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline.  Then, ask the following questions:  What does this passage teach us about God?  What does it say about us or about how God sees us?  What does it teach us about our relationships with others?
Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.
Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too.  This demonstrates gospel humility to them.
Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.
Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.

Adapted from “Family Dinner Bible Studies” by Mark Driscoll in Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter, a study guide. (Mars Hill Church, 2009), pages 69-70.

Some thought provoking words about the evil of dish washers from Tim Chester:

1. Despite what all the adverts claim, they don’t wash as well. They mist over glasses and leave a soapy taste on things. We can all tell crockery, mugs and glasses that have been routinely washed in a dish washer.

2. They remove a great opportunity to train your children to serve. Doing the washing up is lesson 101 in serving others.

3. They remove a great opportunity for pastoral care. One person washing while another is drying is a great context for pastoral chats. It’s one-on-one. But you’re doing a task together so it’s not too intense. ‘How are you doing?’ ‘How’s your walk with God?’ Great questions to ask while your filling the washing up bowl. Or how about, ‘You know you wash up like a legalist’!

4. Dish washers guzzle electricity. Not as bad a tumble dryers (another evil and mostly unnecessary household appliance). So reduce global warming – and keep your hands beautiful and soft for free!

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Agree/Disagree?  I don’t know about you, but this was one of my household chores as a kid and it not only provided a way to serve the rest of the family, it also opened up time to talk with my mom while she washed and I dried.  Likewise, for the first 6 years of our marriage, Jaime and I never had a dishwasher and we didn’t seem to mind.  But … I think we’re glad we got one now that we have 3 small kids!

Read Russell Moore’s thoughts on adoption as cosmic and missional here.  LBC members, don’t forget Dr. Moore will be our guest speaker this Sunday on the topic of adoption.  Please invite your family and friends.

Yesterday our senior pastor asked us to turn in our Bibles to the book of Habakkuk.  He just started a series on this book last week.  You could hear the pages flip as everyone tried to find it.  Meanwhile, Jaime turned to Emie, our 6 year old, and asked if she could find it.  About 10 seconds later she had flipped to Habakkuk and handed the Bible back to her mom.  I looked at my wife with amazement as I kept fumbling to find the book myself!  Emie had learned the OT books this year and had a big smile on her face knowing she had found Habakkuk before her Daddy!

171 Are you looking for music that helps your kids memorize Scripture and actually sounds good?  I’ve been really impressed with the songs from Seeds.  They have quality songs set to Scripture and put in different themes:

Timothy Jones recently gave a seminar for Children Desiring God based on his forthcoming book, Perspectives on Family Ministry.  Topics included:

  • Problems in the Church with Family Ministry
  • What Needs to Change
  • 3 Models of Family Ministry
  • How Does it Work?

*Read more about it here

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