Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Road-testing resources: Gospel-centred Family

We thought it would be helpful to occasionally look at a different resource as it has been used in a real situation.

Anna Cox and Emily Cole have kindly answered a few questions on Gospel-centred Family by Tim Chester and Ed Moll.

1. Who used this book?

A church women's Bible study group. All mums to 1-3 children, 0-5 years of age.

2. Why did you decide to use this resource?

The book was given to me (Anna) and my husband and I found it encouraging and helpful for our own lives as parents. The book has mini-Bible studies and reflection questions at the end of each chapter so it lends itself to doing in a Bible study group. We were all young mums and had lots of questions about the whys and hows of parenting so Emily and I hoped everyone would find it helpful and it would be a good launch pad to discuss many of the issues and concerns we have as Christian parents.

3. Did you stick to the format in the book, or did you make changes? Why? What were they?

We read through 2 chapters each week. The format of the book has some mini-Bible studies before each chapter and then some reflection questions at the end. We did all the Bible studies as it was great to begin each theme/issue with a basis in God’s word. After that we’d read the chapter, stopping at different times when there was something we wanted to particularly discuss or point out. We didn’t do all the reflection questions – there are many of them and so we just picked the ones we felt were most appropriate for our group and beneficial for discussion.

4. How did your group respond to the material? What worked? What didn't work?

Everyone responded really positively to the book. When there were things said in the book we didn’t necessarily agree with we were able to discuss these and share our own experiences and opinions about different aspects of Christian parenting.  In the Introduction it reminds us that “there are biblical absolutes, but at the level of principles rather than processes. Good parenting is not about adopting certain techniques. It’s about living as part of God’s story and letting God’s good news shape your values, attitudes and behaviour.”. The book is not meant to be an absolute guide as to how Christians should parent their children, but rather a useful reminder of God’s promises and love for us and how these can shape our attitude towards raising children in as godly a way as possible.

5. Would you recommend it to other groups? Why?/why not?

Yes, we would recommend it. The book was clear, practical and easy to read and promoted good discussion within the group without requiring any prior biblical knowledge. The main thing that we all took away from it was a good perspective on parenting. Often, parenting books can be filled with practical ways of getting your children to eat their peas and carrots or sleep through the night. In Gospel-centred Family we’re reminded of the fact that we are all under grace – our children and us as parents as well, and this can shape what matters in how we discipline and what we teach our children about the world and about God.

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