Perhaps the single most frequently asked question I receive with respect to missional communities is “what do we do with our children?”. For this next series, I’m going to focus on answering that question from multiple different angles:
- Why involve your children?
- Kids and the Family Meal
- Kids and LTGs
- Kids and Third Place
- Kids and Demonstrating the Gospel
- Different Ages of Children
Kids and Life Transformation Groups
In the first post of the series, I talked about why you should involve your children, primarily from applied theology. The rest of the posts will focus on the philosophy and practice of involving children. Before diving into this next post, I’d highly recommend you read the LTG post for context.From the perspective of children, the LTG is probably the easiest to facilitate when it comes to thinking about child involvement. The LTG is designed to be a place where we can gather as disciples, and hold one another accountable to obedience as a disciple. They are single-gendered groups with two or three people, and last generally for an hour. The most critical piece to making LTGs work is valuing them enough to commit to them every week. I need accountability on a weekly basis to connecting with God, reflecting on my life, and participating in mission, and I would guess that you do to. I believe it communicates a lot to your children when you explain to them what you do in an LTG, as well as why you are committed to participating in one. If you faithfully practice this, you will model well for your children that you must have some time and space in your calendar to study the Bible, continue to confess and repent of sin, and intentionally consider opportunities and pray by name for those who don’t know Jesus. Like Jesus, it’s important that we model time alone and time with two or three as crucial to the submitted life.
How Does it Work?
The easiest solution for this is to alternate for a husband and a wife to take care of kids, or find particular portions of the day where child care is easiest. I gather early in the morning with other men, and Olivia gathers either in the afternoon during nap time or occasionally after we’ve put the kids down to bed. Bottom line, find a time in your schedule regularly where children are a little easier to accommodate, and then go for it!
A Final Word
In teaching my children to read and study the Bible, I am actually using a very similar framework for what we utilize in our REAP plan at The Austin Stone. We have created kid-friendly Bible journals at The Stone, and you can see an example that my 6 year old completed here:
In helping my kids understand their sinfulness and what repentance and faith look like, I consistently try to preach the gospel in a way they will understand. Lastly, as we are praying with them, we always ask them to consider one person by name who needs the love of Jesus. As they grow older and are able to read on their own, I will start practicing LTG with my kids to model it well. If the LTG does in fact have the core components of faithfully being an obedient disciple, then it should be transferable to our children with few modifications. In my experience, it’s a great way to regularly disciple your children!
What questions do you have about practicing LTGs with kids?