Our role as parents and the church is to create environments that foster the work of the Holy Spirit in our homes and at church. We structure our Parenting Intensives and Weekend Celebration Services around 10 environments that foster faith. These environments allow for encountering God, knowing God, and responding to God’s work.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s chosen teacher; it is he who causes spiritual growth and formation when and as he chooses. As such, we have articulated ten distinct environments that our ministries will help cultivate in the church and at home. We desire to create spiritual space, which we refer to as an environment, in which God’s spirit can move freely. Following is a brief explanation of these ten environments:
We live in a world that denies absolute truth and yet God’s word offers just that. As we create an environment that upholds and displays God’s truth, we give children a foundation based on the knowing God, his word, and a relationship with him through Christ.
Biblical content needs a practical living expression in order for it to be spiritually impacting. Knowledge is the “what” while modeling is the “how.” This environment serves as a hands-on example of what it means for children to put their faith into action.
3. LOVE | RESPECT
Without love, our faith becomes futile. This environment recognizes that children need an environment of love|respect in order to be free to both receive and give God’s grace. Innate in this environment is the value that children are respected because they embody the imago dei (image of God). We must speak to them not at them, and we must commit to an environment where love and acceptance are never withheld due to one’s behavior.
4. FAITH COMMUNITY
God designed us to live in community and to experience him in ways that can only happen in proximity to one another. The faith community serves to create an environment to equip and disciple parents, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to bring a richness of worship through tradition and rituals, which offer children an identity.
This environment highlights who we are in Christ. According to Ephesians 1, we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, sealed, and given an inheritance in Christ. This conviction allows children to stand firm against the counter-identities that the world will offer in order to bring them destruction.
The power of the Big God Story impacts our lives by giving us an accurate and awe-inspiring perspective into how God has been moving throughout history. It further compels us to see how God is using every person’s life and is creating a unique story that deserves to be told for God’s glory.
This environment captures the ability to take ownership for one’s life, gifts, and resources before God. In addition a child must be challenged to take responsibility for his or her brothers and sisters in Christ as well as for those who are spiritually lost. Our hope is that the Holy Spirit would use this environment to allow each child to be nurtured within a kingdom-minded worldview.
8. COURSE CORRECTION
This environment flows out of Hebrews 12:11-13 and is the direct opposite of punishment. Instead, Biblical discipline for a child encompasses: a) a season of pain, b) the building up in love, and c) a vision of a corrected path for the individual with the purpose of healing at its core.
This posture of the heart asks the question, “what needs to be done?” it allows the Holy Spirit to cultivate a sensitivity to others with a cause that is bigger than one individual life. It helps fulfill the mandate that as Christ-followers we are to view our lives as living sacrifices that we generously give away!
10. OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
As children and students are challenged to step out of their comfort zone from an early age, they learn and experience a dependence on the Holy Spirit to equip and strengthen them beyond their natural abilities and desires. We believe that this environment will cultivate a generation that, instead of seeking comfort, seeks a radical life of faith in Christ.