For starters we include our children in everything we do. We place a high value on inclusion. The reason is simple, we believe that discipleship is the proper model of the spiritual growth of our children, and all people. If we think that discipleship is the means by which to best reach others, then we must be committed to it in the context of our own families. We believe that the primary discipler is the parent, Mom and Dad.
In most of the West when Mom and Dad arrive at church they are told to drop off they kids in “children’s wing”. Where wonderful Christian men and women will teach their children. They are wonderful. They are amazing. My kids have benefited deeply from Sunday School. They are benefiting even more as they see us engage with others and others engage and model the faith for them and with them in a multi-generational context.
We are in a time of training and preparation in the Antioch Movement. Part of this is me as the “professional” getting out of the way and letting go of leadership. We have been learning a model of bible study leading that is simple and can be with anyone and led by anyone. So, I started getting out of the way,
“Who would like to lead our conversation next week?” I asked.
“Is there an age limit?” asked the 11 year old.
“I want to wead…” said the four year old.
“Ummm….OK. Sidney you’re leading next week.” I responded.
“Sid, we’ll practice this week together. OK?” her dad chimed in.
“OK, and Vinnie will help too!” Beamed Sidney…
A week later, we had a great conversation. Sidney’s dad asked the question, Sidney repeated it. It was fantastic. It was proof that anyone can lead a discussion about the Scriptures and do so well. For the adults in the room I think it showed them that we need not fear leadership.
A four year old did it.
That’s not the best part though. The best part is that Sidney wants to lead it every week. She is engaged and interested in our gathering around the Scriptures. She has meaningful training from her parents. Her parents are training her and helping her grow in the Lord.
The rest of us saw this, experienced this, and profited from this.
Discipleship is something that is central to who we are as the church. It is our central means for reaching the lost and maturing the found. If we believe this then our practices must reflect our belief.