I’m pretty excited about our new parenting class we’re offering at Redeemer. Finding the right material can be hard sometimes when there are several different options from which to choose. But after re-examining and skimming (I’d already read and enjoyed it before) Gospel Centered Family
by Tim Chester and Ed Moll, and getting confirmation from a trusted leader, I knew we had made the right decision. Then, the next day, Gospel Centered Family goes on sale for 60% off!
I really knew we had made the right decision. You can also get it from the Good Book Company
(one of my new favorite publishers) for the same price.
This book practically challenges parents to foster a gospel centered environment in the home, but it also has a section directing parents to consider their missional responsibility as well. Some books neglect that part of it, but I was glad to see Chester and Moll wed the inward and outward component of family ministry in their short book. Again, it is very short, with short chapters and scripture passages, making it to read with a friend or a group.
But another reason I’m excited about the class has nothing to do with the content-though the content from day one will reinforce this timely truth. We’re running the parent class alongside our existing Sunday School classes. Not only is this designed to give folks another incentive to take advantage of this 36 week discipleship tool (Sunday School), but it helps us reinforce that parents have the primary responsibility in discipling their children.
Sunday School, nursery program (we start teaching at 2!), children’s church, youth group, bible clubs, assist parents; they don’t replace them. I think we’re teaching that not just with our words, but in our structure. Am I being anal? Neurotic? Possibly, but sometimes well meaning churches may have a particular vision, but their structures may actually preclude that vision from being accomplished.
These programs are of valuable assistance, and we’ve been praying for increased participation. I guess I just don’t understand folks who don’t want any assistance in discipling their children: Amy and I teach Connar everyday formally and informally, but we need the help of Sunday School teachers and will relish the help one day from a youth group.
At the same time, parents have the privilege, responsibility, command, and often difficulty (that’s whey do this stuff in community-we need it) of teaching their kids the gospel and its application to all of life. So running a parenting class alongside the children’s Sunday School class retierates that the church equips parents to be the primary though not single or solitary, disciplers of their children.
Once a week Sunday School is great, particularly for 36 weeks out of the year. We see a difference in those kids who’ve gone through the studies for years and those who haven’t. But I would bet that much of that difference is the result of godly parents who recognize, welcome, and relish the assistance, yet have also made family discipleship a 24-7 lifestyle instead of a program or a bible study.
Most folks probably fall into the “outsourcing” mode when it comes to discipling their children and the assistance has become the totality of their children’s discipleship. We’re hoping to hit that issue head on this Fall. Looking forward to what may happen.