The goal of LifeGroups is to help people take the next step toward Jesus, making disciples in the context of everyday, ordinary life. If the goal is discipleship in the context of everyday, ordinary life, then my kids have to be part of the plan because they are part of my everyday, ordinary life.
My LifeGroup can't know me if they don't know my family.
Therefore, my kids are a part of my LifeGroup. In fact, in total we have 14 kids who are a part of our LifeGroup. They have to be. My LifeGroup can’t know me if they don’t know my family. I want my group to help raise my kids. I want my group to make me a better parent by seeing where I don’t apply the gospel to my parenting. Integrating kids into the rhythms of our group is beneficial for the kids and for us adults. My kids develop relationships with other Christians who have a real, active relationship with Jesus…I get support and help in shepherding my kids…and, hopefully, others in my group get a model of how the gospel changes parenting.
Ultimately, I am responsible for raising my kids in the Lord, and a large part of that includes allowing them to learn what Christian community is all about.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
- Deuteronomy 6:4-7
The most effective discipleship happens through modeling.
Discipleship is not just the transferring of knowledge. Yes, we want to teach our kids about Jesus and the Bible. The most effective discipleship, however, happens through modeling. Kids get to observe and see the impact of Jesus on our lives. They learn how to be missionaries from us. They learn how to talk about Jesus in everyday life.
My kids are going to learn from me how (and if) Jesus impacts my everyday life. They will see if a relationship with Jesus is worth pursuing. My wife and I are the primary model in their lives for understanding who God is and how we relate to him. The good news about LifeGroup is that we don’t have to be alone in this journey. We have a support system, a team of people to help and encourage us in discipling our kids.
Christian Community is the best way for your kid to live life. Including your kids in ministry is a part of being a good parent.
We have a growing number of young parents in our church family, and when kids come along, the question inevitably arises: “Can we still do this with kids? Can we be a part of communities that change the world now that we have the challenging task of keeping these little humans alive?” The answer to that is, of course, yes you can. And not only that, but, for the good of your kids, you must. Just like Christian community is the best way for you to live life, it is also the best way for your kids to live life. The way you approach LifeGroup will reveal to your kids the importance of community, what it means to see all of life as mission and how to develop interdependent relationships. Your decisions are actively teaching your kids what is important about life and what is not significant enough to make the cut. It isn’t that you have to pick between your family and doing ministry—you include your family in ministry and mission. Including your kids in ministry is part of being a good parent.