What We Mean When We Say “Partnering with Parents” in Providence Kids
Providence Kids exists to partner with parents as the church and the home share the goal of discipleship. This is the one shared goal we have together, believing that church and home are better together. But what do we mean when we say we “partner with parents”? And more importantly, how does Providence Kids partner with parents?
A partnership involves participation and responsibility from multiple parties. There are certain roles that each party must play in order for the partnership to work. Your local gym supplies the exercise equipment and the aerobics instructors, but in order to get in shape you must pay the membership fees, show up, and put forth the physical effort to actually get in shape. The desired and intended outcome is only accomplished if both parties do what they’re supposed to do.
The same is true in our partnership between church and home. Some things the church is intended to do and some things, we believe, the home is intended to do. They must both work together in cooperation and understanding of each other’s specific roles when it comes to the discipleship of the next generation.
What Roles Does the Church Play?
The church is uniquely designed to provide gospel community and other gospel voices in the lives of the next generation. The Christian life is not an individual sport. So from an early age, even our nursery and preschool classes are designed, in part, for kids to build relationships and create community with one another. Our nursery and preschool classes and elementary life groups don’t function properly when your kids don’t attend because they are contributing to the makeup of that community, so a piece of that is missing when they are not present.
The church also provides other gospel voices in the lives of the next generation. While we believe that parents are the primary disciple makers of their kids, we also believe that all parents need other gospel voices saying and repeating the same things that you are saying. While our Providence Kids leaders are a major part of that, be aware that they should not be the only gospel voices in addition to mom and dad. The people in your community, whether it be via a Life Group, Discipleship Group, or simply other members of the church, should not only have a relationship with your kids, but should be contributing to the spiritual formation of your kids.
My 5 year-old son recently asked me, “Why do we go to so-and-so’s house on Wednesday night’s?” I gave him a crash course in ecclesiology that church isn’t just something we attend in a building, but it’s a people, relationships, and a family that we’re a part of and that we want to spend time together with. Do your kids see church as an event to attend or a people to belong to? And who are those specific people that you are intentionally surrounding your kids with and do you see our Providence Kids leaders as part of that community? Our hope is that you do or that you will.
The last unique benefit the church primarily plays is that it is able to teach a systematic theology and a scope and sequence of the Biblical narrative. While we call parents to lead family worship in the home by reading, praying, and singing together, there are some things to teach systematically that are easier to do as a church. This is why we teach a 1 Year biblical overview of the metanarrative of the Bible with our preschool classes and why we walk expositionally through the entire Bible over the course of 4 years in our older elementary life groups. We believe the environments of our small groups and classes are better suited to do this than your regular family worship time within the home.
What Role Does the Home Play?
Our church and home partnership cannot succeed if our parents are not taking advantage of the disciple-making opportunities afforded to them within the contexts of the everyday rhythms of life. The biggest benefit the home has is time. Discipleship takes time. Always. Parents are uniquely situated to have maximum discipleship impact because they have the maximum amount of time.
So when it comes to memorizing Scripture, catechizing, and reaching people with the gospel we believe the contexts of the home is best suited to accomplish these things. Of course, part of our partnership is resourcing and equipping families to do these things which is why we have things like our Simple Daily Routine, our Providence Kids Catechism, and our BLESS practices for relational evangelism.
One strategic way we want to emphasize the responsibility of our parents and the role of the home within our church and home partnership, in addition to some of our family discipleship resources, is to give you time and margin to do these things. This is why we don’t constantly have church programs attempting to fill your schedules, because we want to be the church scattered just as much as the church gathered.
We want church to be the people of God being disciple-making disciples in the everyday rhythms of life. This only happens when our parents embrace the roles and responsibilities that God has given them to play their part in our partnership (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
We long to make disciples of all nations and all generations here at Providence and that can only be done if church and home partner together to share this goal. By each party understanding their proper roles and responsibilities, we are able to work towards making that goal a reality and introducing the kids of Providence to Jesus and growing them up to love and worship Him as church and home partner together.