Kids and Missional Communities

Branch MCsbranch-circle

What about children in Missional Communities? Yes!


What does the MC do for my kids?

1. Changing children’s view of who the church is. It’s not just adults!
2. Teaching kids that we don’t go to church, we are the Church together, in community living.
3. Removing the separation between “church” and life at home or in school, etc.
4. Empowering kids to live their version of  good news in the world, on their own.

Missional living that the gospel prompts us to embrace, touches all the places of our life. This includes our kids, but it true for our kids too! A child’s life is not limited to the life a parent sees, approves of or participates in. Kids go to school, sporting events, parties, day care and are often in the care of friends or family. So, having your whole family participate in an MC, or allowing and encouraging your young adults to participate in an MC without you, means that they are learning how to let the gospel influence their whole world, not just for an hour or two on Sunday. In a Mission Circle, kids learn the value of relationships and the call of the People of God to be in the world, helping God’s renewal. Our kids make choices without us. Together, the church and MC’s can help them make good choices and choose good ways to live and participate.

 

What do my kids do for an MC?

Bringing Diversity. We firmly believe our children’s presents brings diversity to our lives and mission. MC’s are a family, and families rely on the diversity of generations to preserve tradition, bring creativity and reform our hidden perspective.  And so we see kids as being key participants and contributors to the MC experience,  adding their voice and perspective, shaping the way the MC carries out its mission, experiencing and living out the gospel right alongside the adults.

Of course, this will likely look different in each MC with child members.  A circle with infants and toddlers will likely live out the Rhythms in ways that are different than a circle with teenagers or elementary students.  And so each group will have to be wise and creative along the way — but we are confident that all energy, time and resources spent to ensure our kids play an active role in the MC is worth it!

Teaching the Adults. Our kids have a unique ability to teach us about re-creation! Left to their own time and invention, chances are our kids will be re-creating without us, a very valuable piece of forming relationships and a family connection within the MC. This is one of the glorious parts of being a child. We need to take note of our kids’ prompts to re-create and let these prompts help form the whole MC. This will be a valuable perspective shift if we are to spend quality time and play together, enjoying the richness of life. It’s one of our sacred Rhythms.


What do my kids do in the world, through an MC?

Again, the gospel should touch all the places of our lives. This includes our kids, but it is true for our kids too! The gospel can and should touch all the places in our kids’ lives too. A child’s life is not limited to the existence that parents see, approve of or participate in. Kids go to school, sporting events, parties, day care and are often in the care of friends or family. In all these places your kids have the opportunity for living a gospel life. And, often, the gift of youth unleashes a bravery that allows children to live out beliefs in a way the typical adult life can sometime discourage. Your kids are on God’s mission in their world too and they may surprise you with their keen sense of incarnational living!


What will my kids do when we all gather together?

1.  As an MC gathers, your children will participate in all Rhythms <<link>> of life the Circle shares; eating, celebrating, blessing, listening, storytelling/hearing and, especially, recreating! Often we will want to “occupy” our kids while we have “adult talk.” While this is more than welcome in some cases, this will not be the normative involvement of our kids in the MC gatherings. The group will need to decide how these Rhythms will include the kids in the MC. This may mean multi-generational prayer times or child appropriate community involvement activities, etc. And we will most certainly be asked to be brave parents, letting go in ways that stretch us, in order to help our kids grow into new awareness and behaviors to participate well in this missional/communal life.

2. Play! – Have no fear, even when we feel that adult talk is appropriate and our kids need to be “occupied” for a short time our kids’ time will be spent in this valuable Rhythm. Left to their own time and invention, chances are our kids will be re-creating without us, a very valuable piece of forming relationships and a family connection within the MC. This is one of the glorious parts of being a child. We need to take note of our kids’ prompts to re-create and let these prompts help form the whole MC. This will be a valuable perspective shift if we are to spend quality time and play together, enjoying the richness of life.

3. Kids will build relationships in an MC; playing and storytelling, getting involved in the community, hopefully together with other kids. But, not only will your kids have the chance to form consistent, lasting relationships with each other, they will also have the opportunity to form quality relationships with other adults who care for them and appreciate them in all aspects. This is often missing from a typical American childhood and can be a very formative piece of development in life, and in missional living.

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