Andrew Lee
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It Takes the Whole Church

Just as the African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child, I believe that it takes the whole church family to raise a child of God. It is no one person's job.

I hope we can surround our youths with rich and diverse relationships with sisters and brothers in Christ. Because as I shared in my last newsletter, we encounter Jesus in our relationships with others. The best way for our youths to grow in their discipleship journey is to witness the life of many other 'little Jesus's' who engage in their own journey with God faithfully and also would intentionally walk alongside the youths for long term.

That's what Youth Family Puzzle Challenge is all about:

If you haven't already, I encourage you to join the challenge by clicking HERE and filling out a questionnaire. You'll be given a puzzle piece and "neighbors" (those with neighboring puzzle pieces) to connect using each other's answer to the questions. Once you have begun connecting with all of your "neighbors," please bring your puzzle to the church in our youth room over the next couple of months, so we can complete the puzzle together. (Also encourage your children to do the same, please!)

I pray that many meaningful relationships will emerge and deepen as God leads us according to our interests, hobbies, passions, dreams, experiences, personalities, and wiring; between the youths themselves, between the youths and their parents, between the youths and other parents, with young adults, adults, seniors, and children. And when you connect with other parents and adults in the church, you can bond over your shared passion of discipling the youth.

I will intentionally look for opportunities to include volunteers and helpers in all of our youth gatherings. Please share with me if you have any ideas and suggestions, too.

The Primacy of Parents' Role in Discipling the Youth


Now, involving the whole church for our youths is important obviously, but the parents' role in discipling the youth is of the first and foremost importance. No matter how much time and influence other people have on your children, they can never trump the impact you have as parents to your children. God has given you a calling that is more important than your careers and probably second only to your calling as spouses; that is parenting.

I don't know anything about parenting. I have zero experience other than receiving parenting. But I still want to help you and support you as much as possible because I know that it is another best strategy as I think about disciple our youths. One thing I know to be helpful regardless of your context is to come together with other people who are going through the same journey. Parents coming together with other parents and sharing your journey of parenting can be immensely helpful, I believe.

If you already have such support group(s), that's great. Keep meeting!. If you don't, may I encourage you to reach out to each other? And if your group can have one or two more couples and include them in your group, that may a great way to support those with relatively less resources too.
 
I recommend you two books you can read together with other parents:
  1. Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family (Paul David Tripp)
  2. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community (Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof)
The first one will help you utilize the amazing resource of the gospel for your parenting, giving you hope, security, wisdom, and joy. The second one will help you expand your resources for parenting by reaching out to the wider community. It also has discussion questions at the end of each chapter, so you can easily use it in your group.

And when you meet, would you consider including me in the group at least once in a while? I'd love to learn from you about parenting, too, and also be connected so I can assist you in discipling our youths together. I'd appreciate it.

I'm also thinking about summarizing one chapter of those books at a time and including it in my newletters for you. Please let me know what you think and of any ideas and suggestions you might have!