Just a few months ago, I spent some time with our Summit Small Group leaders and issued a challenge: before Thanksgiving, be intentional about having one small group meeting with the entire family involved. That means adults and kids. The reason? We believe at The Summit Church that it takes a village to raise kids to love Christ. In a nutshell, according to Deut. 6, you cannot (as the family) be the only influence of the gospel that your children have and need in their lives. Israel was not a person, they are a people. God calls the people of God to help raise children together in the garden of the home and the garden of the church. You need other people, other believers, the church to speak into the lives of your children as well. Literally, it takes a village to raise a generation for Christ.
Well, my small group took the challenge and went for it this past Tuesday night. Let me just share with you a little bit about the dynamic of our small group. We have 8 couples in our group. Between the eight couples, we have….wait for it….NINETEEN (19) children. But hold on, it gets better. We have 19 children all under the age of 7. I know what you’re thinking because we thought it too, “Are you stupid???” Maybe, but we decided to give it a shot anyways.
Overall, the night was a huge success. We did an abbreviated version of small group, but it worked. Here’s how it played out;
We dressed most of our kids in their pajamas and brought them to group with us. We all arrived between 6:00- 6:15pm to hang out, let the kids spend some time together playing, parents catching up, etc. The decibel level in the house rose quickly, to say the least.
After our hangout time, we all went upstairs and had a blast doing some worship through songs. We used these great resources from The Summit Church to help lead us. The kids knew these songs since we sing them on the weekends in Summit Kids, and they pretty much led us in all the motions. To say that the kids spurred on the parents in worship that night would be an understatement. The joy, the freedom, and the fun they had when singing these great truths about God was something I will never forget.
After that, we moved on to bible study. The approach we took to teaching the bible to 19 kids and 18 adults was simple: Interactive, hands on, fun, and to the point. Don’t overdo it. Find your one thing and communicate it over and over again to the kids. Our bible story for the night was King Josiah. We role played with the kids by hand selecting one of the kids pretending to be King at age 8. I asked him to make 2 decisions on something he wanted from those in his kingdom. His requests were simple: 1.) Choclate chip cake every friday for his whole life and 2.) Cheese balls every day. We then brought in a dad to pretend to be king at age 26 and make decisions. His decisions weren’t great either. He had the kids do 5 jumping jacks and then a few pushups. We then told the story of King Josiah and the desire he had at an early age to see all of those in his kingdom love God whole heartedly. How the story played out for the kids was perfect.
We spent some more time after reading God’s word together in worship, and then we moved on to prayer. For our prayer time, we broke everyone up by family and had them spend some time praying for their children and for one another. It was a great moment for many of our families.
If I could summarize the entire night in a few bullet points it would be this:
- It was chaotic but worth it: Having our kids worship with us, pray with us, learn the bible with us was irreplaceable. However….it was chaos. It was everything we thought it would be. But it was beautiful.
- It was strategic: We taught our kids about what mommy and daddy do each week at bible study and why we did it. I want them the learn the beauty of the church at an early age.
- It was fun: So many smiles. So many laughs. I won’t forget it for a long time
- It’s something we’ll do again. Once you experience doing small group together as a family, you’ll want to do it again. Not every week…but you’ll want to go ahead and get it on your calendar soon, I promise.
Listen to me, Summit Church…if our small group can do this….yours can to.