So, what do kids do during house church? (Read Part 1 of What Do You Do With The Children During House Church here)
Or, more pointed to today’s discussion: what responsibility does a house church have toward the children that gather within it?
I’ve already revealed to you that we don’t do any typical “children’s ministry” within our house church. Well, why not? Shouldn’t we be striving to provide deep biblical content for the next generation so that we can train them up in the way they should go?
Well, here’s the thing – and some people won’t like it: I don’t necessarily have an obligation to your child. And you have no obligation to mine. It is the primary responsibility of each parent to pass on their knowledge to their children, spiritual or otherwise. That sounds cold, but let’s look at it further.
First of all, in a house church / small group environment the members are typically thinking through and living their faith more deeply than your nominal Christian or stereotypical pew warmer. So they simply are more likely to be discipling their children in their daily life (you know, how discipleship is supposed to work). For example, I know that my husband spends up to an hour or more each night discussing the bible with our Wild Things before bed. Not to mention any questions or teaching moments that crop up during the day.
Also, there’s more to “training a child” than a lesson plan. What if, by living out the gospel, the good news of Jesus, in a natural, community-centered format we are training them in the way they should go? The life we lead, the practicing of what we preach – that is what trains a child. A children’s bible curricula (especially taught by someone that the child barely knows) has a very very small chance of reaching their heart. But seeing a grown-up live out their faith? To open their home and strive to view life through a Jesus-colored filter? That can have a real affect.
Is that so unlike the guidance given to the Israelites so long ago?
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; … Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 11:18-19
As a house church community we strive to walk alongside of each other on this road of life, so we naturally do have an influence on each other’s children. We give support to both child and parent when life has dished up something difficult, we step in when an extra hand is needed for a working mother; we are directly or indirectly a part of the life of every child in our group. That’s how community works.
So what do we do with the kids during house church? We let them be kids. And what do we do with them the rest of the week? We walk the road together; we clear the path, repair the pot-holes, and generally try not to trip along the way and cause them to stumble.