In-Person or Virtual
These days there are so many different parenting books available, each with a different slant or philosophy for parenting. This is a creative activity that will allow your group to consider what it would be like to create a book based on the Biblical parenting principles from Ephesians. Break your group into smaller groups of 3-4 people. (Virtual groups will want to send their smaller groups to breakout rooms.) Have each group work together to create the title for a new parenting book based on Ephesians 6:1-4. Then have them write either a blurb for the back of the book or create a list of chapter names for the Table of Contents. After a few minutes, call the groups back together and have them give a spiel about their new bestsellers.
When I Become a Parent…
In-Person or Virtual
This icebreaker activity allows groups to reflect on what children consider “good parenting” and what God considers godly parenting. Have your group think back to their childhood. Did they ever used to say, “When I become a parent, I’m going to…”? Take turns sharing what you were going to (or not going to) do when you became a parent. (Examples: I’m going to let my kids watch all the TV they want. I won’t ever make my kids clean their rooms.) For those who are parents: Did you end up parenting like you thought you would, or did you change your mind? Do you parent like your parents did, or do you have a different style?
1. Read Ephesians 6:1-3. Share a time when you were skeptical of—or even disobedient to—your parents, and it turned out they were right.
2. A. In our culture, what things are honored and dishonored? B. As an adult, how have you honored your parents, or how could you honor them?
(Intent: A. Some examples may be honoring achievement and dishonoring authority.)
3. What do you think is the meaning and implication of verse 3?
(Intent: While not every individual may experience the promise, the general promise holds true that strong God-ordained family order provides a foundation for prosperity in a society. God’s promises are often aimed at both our spiritual life (heavenly blessings) and life in the here-and-now (temporal blessings). We can look to these temporal blessings for both motivation and encouragement to obey.)
4. Read Hebrews 12:7-11. A. Why is discipline an important part of training children? B. How is God’s discipline of his children a model for godly parents?
(Intent: A. Hebrews 12:11 says that discipline “yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” – it brings about peace in the relationship and in the one being disciplined. Our sin nature has to be reproved in order to produce that peace and righteousness. B. God disciplines us for the same reason that godly parents discipline their children – for our own good. Righteous parental discipline comes from a place of love, not from selfishness or self-righteousness.)
5. A. Take a look at v. 4. What are ways that parents, especially fathers, can “stir up anger” in their kids? How can we know whether it is the parent or the child who is behaving inappropriately? B. Describe a time when you inappropriately angered your child. How could you have handled the situation better?
(Intent: A. Some ways include excessively severe discipline, unreasonable demands, unfairness, and humiliating a child.)
6. What does it look like for a father to bring up his children “in the training and instruction of the Lord”? Refer to Deuteronomy 6:7 and 4:9-10, Proverbs 29:15 & 17, and Titus 2:7.
(Intent: Essential basic elements include teaching the Bible and the father reflecting the character of God. There may be a variety of more detailed responses to this question, but it’s probably safe to say that extremes of strict legalism and lax neglect should be avoided.)
This week, consider talking with your family about ways that you can become more gospel-centered in your approach to family relationships. Celebrate your victories and pray together for your struggles.
Choose one of the following groups of people to pray for: children, fathers, mothers, single parents, soon-to-be parents, or spiritual parents. Create a list of specific things you want to pray for that group, then spend some time in prayer lifting them up to the Lord. There are several ways you can do this: your whole group can choose one people group from the list to pray for, your group can split into trios and each chooses a different people group to pray for, or each person in your group can choose a different group they feel called to pray for.