January 26, 2009

Gift of Time = Priceless

I have a stack of computer work to do this week. Taking a quick break right now to say hello. Jack is home sick today, he has a sore throat, sneezing and sounds a bit stuffy.

Last night was our first night of study of Queen Esther. A great turn out of women and many new faces who I will enjoy as new friends. This is my last Sunday night series I will facilitate due to the beginning of Groups. I am so glad that God led us to start a weekday study, so I will still have a place for in depth study.

"Groups" is just what it sounds like. Being in a large church people walk through the door and unless they get involved they might feel like they have connected. I have always said that when you go to a small church you walk through the door and there are places to serve and everyone immediately knows there is a new face. When you go to a large church you have to be intentional about connecting with others. Groups will be a way that people can be cared for in community, develop relationships and share a faith walk with their kids if applicable and with several other persons or families. This will be a great way for Rob and I to be intentional about passing our faith down to our kids. The Spiritual Formation class that I audited last semester will give us a wonderful pool of info to share. Spiritual Disciplines, intentionality, serving, different methods of prayer, each week looking to God to enter into a relationship that is "deeper still."
The big concern that is voiced is that kids over 2 years old are included in the groups, unless childcare is arranged. At first I was thinking about how my kids would rather be in youth group or kids activities, but my kids are at school with friends every day, with their friends at church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, and this will be an opportunity for us to give our kids the tools for their walk with the Lord. A time where they are more individually nurtured and taught as compared to one of the bunches.

I loved one of the points that someone made last night is that the kids that grow up in small churches have a larger rate of staying in church once they are out of their home, as compared to those of a larger church. The larger churches offer more activities, more same age fellowship, more entertainment for the kids, but the smaller churches are more "family focused" and that has made a difference in helping kids find their own journey with God. Groups could be a way to develop the family and extended family relationships to give our kids what is needed to find their own faith.

I am excited about this gift of quality and intentional time with my kids that my church is making possible.


Anne said...

I know I am in the minority here, but I am thrilled that there is a push for "family integrated" worship/fellowship! I have had the pleasure of participating in that for the last several months and it has been beyond fabulous! I love it, and I have grown from it, but more importantly, my kids LOVE, LOVE it! They are learning and growing in ways I couldn't have imagined. It is awesome! I am so thankful you are excited about it too! And thankful for you!

Jana Beck said...

It all depends on what the purpose and focus of your group is. I would say that if everyone is one board, it would be a wonderful time to include the children. That would be the focus, and a very worthy one. My children have greatly enjoyed being a part of our small group in a different way than you intend to go. The adults meet for accountability and intense prayer time that would be somewhat inappropriate in topic at times for children. Therefore, our children have a sitter all together. The bonds they have formed with the children they are with week after week has created a fellowship and belonging for them in the larger body during more corporate times that is priceless. There can be good in both settings. I am so excited for the journey your church is taking. I know you will all be richly blessed and God glorified.

Jana Beck said...

Sorry about the typo. I meant to write "on board" in the first sentence of my last comment.