This is usually one of the first questions asked when it comes to Church models whose "engine" is built on missional 'community life groups'. “What about children?"
The implication, of course, is that children are going to lose out if there is not an array of formal children’s programs to teach and take care of the children.
The assumption is that the “Sunday School” programs provided by traditional churches, are the best way to raise up spiritual kids. But the fact is, the majority of children raised in these programs exit youth group after high school (if they have lasted that long) and do not become regular church-goers. This is not to say that something of value didn’t take place, but it does point out that we are not getting the “results” for which we've hoped.
We believe there is great potential within the missional community life group church model for far better results.
Why? First of all, because that's how God designed the family to grow in their faith; together!
God's original recipe for a succesful nation was for children to be taught from home, to love God in the context of everyday family life! As clearly stated in:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9: 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
So how does this play out in a missional "Community Life Groups" church model?
Children will spend more time with their families in worship, seeing their family members involved in spiritual activities. The influence on children who grow up in the context of families who are modeling their own spiritual life, is more impactful than 1,000 teaching sessions on faith in Christ.
Because we were all created to be imitators and to learn by imitating. We see those natural instincts in children as they grow and imitate parents and older siblings. And so when children see parents with faith, they desire to seek and develop faith. If they see parents with adoration for all God has created, they develop adoration for God’s creation. And when they see parents who truly believe God will provide what they need, they learn to develop a trust in God for their needs.
In this way, church's that are established around the missional community life group model, provide far more opportunity for this to happen as children are integrated into church in the context of “family” life. They will see their parents actively participating in worship, communion, and fellowship over the Word—not as spectators but as participants. The importance of this cannot be overstressed. Faith is caught through quality relationships not quality programs!
Having explained all of that, we do recognize that there are times when children do need to be taught in an age appropriate environment and therefore we do provide a seperate space for just that purpose with appropriate Clearances for those involved in teaching the children.
For questions, please "contact us".
For more information on Children and Youth, please see "Children Information".