When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
No matter what your situation is, the reality is that the next generation needs everyone’s investment. We all want to be great parents and influences, and to hand off the best possible world to the next generation. But no matter what, we all get tired. Discouraged. Lost.
But there’s hope for something better. Instead of getting lost in the day-to-day grind and battle of parenting, we can lift our heads up for some much needed perspective. Where are we headed? How do I adjust as they grow? How do I get the help I need? How do I release them as healthy and wise adults? When we know the answers to those things, it changes how make decisions each day!
Jodi taught this week about what it looks like to be anchored - because it’s only when we’re anchored that our kids have a chance to be as well. God gives us his presence, his promises, and his people to help us navigate the challenges of raising the next generation - but it’s our job to intentionally lean in.
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
no one is off the hook in this conversation!
Every group has a different makeup of people in it! Parents of little ones, parents-to-be, parents with grown kids, and of course, NON-parents!
But no matter what the situation is, this series is for everyone. The reality is that the next generation needs all of us to help them win as they grow up. This series works for everyone on two levels:
1. Everyone has some direct influence on the next generation
Rarely does anyone NOT have any relationship with someone under 18. Aunt, Uncle, friend, grandparent, coach, neighbor… Kids don’t just benefit from adults aside from their parents investing in them - they NEED it to thrive! So no matter how BIG that direct influence is, it’s always important.
2. Everyone is creating the world the next generation will inherit
What we share, what we build, what we celebrate, and what we hate all plays a part in creating the culture that the next generation is growing into. What we do and how we live will determine what they have to deal with when they grow up. So therefore… indirectly… NO ONE is off the hook! Paul tells us in Philippians 2 that we should be like Jesus, valuing the interests of others over our own, and in this case it means caring deeply about the world that we’re handing off to those coming up behind us.
Someone’s “Previous Generation”
We teach what we know, but we reproduce who we are - and it’s helpful to remember that we are all a part of our kids’ “previous generation”. Just like every generation before them, our kids will most likely try to emulate the good things and correct for the ways their “previous generation” went off-track.
Fast forward in your mind and think about the world the next generation is inheriting, especially the culture of faith that we are handing off. What do you think the next generation will be trying to emulate from us, their previous generation? What about the things they’ll be “correcting”?
Growing up, what kind of influence did adults other than your parents have in your life? What did they teach you about how to live, what's important, and what God is like?
God gives us his presence in every situation, his promises to guide and strengthen, and his people to encourage us to keep going when it feels impossible.
Which of those three things have been most meaningful to you as you’ve followed Jesus or explored a relationship with God?
Which of those three have you felt the least familiar with along your faith journey?
Prayer is admitting my dependence on him and that I need him to show up. It’s reminding myself that I’m not the hero and that God is - that I can let God be God and just follow Him.
What has your relationship with prayer looked like throughout your life?
Things to think about…
How have you thought of it?
Who taught you about it?
What have you thought about WHY we pray and what we pray for?
How has it shaped how you approach prayer in your life right now?
Prayer is also not a shopping list where we ask for what we need and “place the order”. Prayer is a place of surrender, of vision, of humbling and healing, and of remembering I can find God’s strength in my weakness.
What does prayer look like practically for you right now? Does it feel more like a shopping list? Is it happening at all? Or is it feeling like the place that Jodi talked about?
It’s hard to just “do it better” when it comes to prayer, because many of us are missing some foundations or tools that would help us move forward. What do you think would be most helpful for you to approach prayer in a new way?
Things to think about…
Do you have clarity on what prayer actually looks like?
Do you have an idea of some methods, tools, or frameworks that would help you pray?
examples, examples, examples!!
Especially the last question on prayer is probably in need of some examples! Give it a bit to see if anyone comes up with an answer right away… don’t skip the silence…
…but it’s pretty possible that the group will need some examples to get on board with.
For example… mine would be that when I am not praying regularly, or when it feels like a shopping list, I need other people’s words to pray. I read other people’s prayers in books or blog posts or the Bible so I have a place to start. And in the process, a healthy model of what prayer can look like is right in front of me, and shaping how my approach.
Another example of mine would be that I need paper. Talking in my head is… well… IMPOSSIBLE. Seriously, doesn’t work very well. So I need either a place where I can talk out loud, or a way to write things down. That’s a tool that helps me pray and helps me spend actual time with God.
But don’t use my examples! USE YOURS!
Figure out YOUR response to this question, and what moves the needle forward in your prayer life - or what is missing from your toolbox that is stopping you from anchoring yourself in God’s presence through prayer.
We learn about God’s promises from His “word” - the Bible. Deuteronomy 6 says “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.”
We can’t anchor our kids in God’s truth if we’re not anchored in God’s truth ourselves.
What areas of your life have you intentionally sought out God’s truth and wisdom? How did it change the way you approached that area of life?
Are there any areas of your life in which you haven’t yet tried to anchor yourself in God’s truth?
It’s hard to just “do it better” when it comes to reading the Bible, because many of us are missing some foundations or tools that would help us move forward. What do you think would be most helpful for you to approach the Bible more intentionally? What’s the biggest obstacle standing between you and the Bible?
Anchoring ourselves in God’s people takes intentionality, even once we have some friends on the journey of faith alongside us. We are always doing two things that deepen our relationships and sink the anchor a little further: we put ourselves out there a little bit more by sharing a little more honestly, and we create safe space for others to do the same.
Which one of those two do you want to focus on more in your own friendships? Do you need to take your own next step of vulnerability or intentionally help someone else feel safe enough to do take that step?
Jodi said that identifying other adults or older students that are great examples can be a game-changer for kids.
Do your kids have adults besides you who people who are committed to them and their faith? Do your kids know who they are and why they’re important?
As a parent, what’s your next step toward making sure your kids have trustworthy and committed adults that they can trust?
Besides your own if you’ve got them, who are the kids in your life that you can influence? What’s your next step toward building those relationships a little bit more this week?
Check in on past homework…
We’ve had homework every week of the Arrows series - how has it been going? What do you need to catch up on this week? How can we help each other do that this week?
Week 1 we were challenged to create values that give our families or future families a clear goal to aim for that’s all about who we’re becoming, not just what we’re doing.
Week 2 we were challenged to take a deep dive into understanding the phase our kids are in so we could figure out what they need most right now in life.