Recently our church has been wrestling with what it means to be “missional” — a family on mission together. My wife and I have been struggling with the same question, particularly with regards to raising our precocious (and sometimes rebellious) 3-and-5/6ths year-old son Rohan. I knew he needed to be more respectful and obedient, but (for whatever reason) I didn’t feel comfortable simply demanding that by fiat. As a result, we’d been more-or-less stuck on this issue for many months. For Lent, Respectful Obedience has become one of my top four requests (along with Emotional Connection, Sustainable Integration, and Viral Transformation).
Thursday night, I decided to pray about it while putting Rohan back to sleep after he woke me up at 1 AM. I felt God say I should look at how He dealt with his children: Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, etc. In most of those cases, God chooses someone, gives them an assignment, and then — after they’ve taken a leap of faith — He makes a covenant with them. In short, I need to start thinking in terms of discipling Rohan (teaching him to obey God) — rather than merely parenting Rohan (teaching him to obey me).
On the one hand, this shift feels a bit premature. Most curriculum I’ve seen tends to focus simply on teaching younger kids basic facts about God the Bible, and doesn’t engage in active spiritual formation until (at the earliest) seven or eight. The usual perspective (which I largely agree with) is that first kids learn to obey their parents and teachers, and only later learn to obey God.
Then again, the same could be said about Christian education in general, up to and including seminary. That was a key motivation behind my book Growing Church Leaders, which attempts to integrate knowledge, wisdom, and service into a holistic approach to Christian maturity and leadership. Maybe we need to rethink parenting as discipleship — and vice versa! — starting from toddlers on up.
Especially for boys. Many of the Rohan’s most annoying qualities as a toddler — impatience, self-will, righteous anger — are the same that would make him a great leader as an adult, if properly directed. I don’t want to squelch those passions, but it is imperative that he learn to master them.
Which brings me to Knight Club. The goal of Knight Club is to help fathers and sons learn to win’s life most important battles. To do this, we work together to train our heart, soul, mind and strength to reflect the image of Christ.
Right now it is just him and me, but I have a suspicion this is something that will appeal to many other fathers and sons.
I have grandiose dreams of curating a global curriculum with comprehensive gamification on becoming a mature man of God, but right now I’m starting with one Bible verse:
Interested? Stay tuned for more…