Last night was the first night of our Vineyard Family Home Group. I wasn't sure if anyone was gonna make it because there were cancellations right and left. People were sick and some were nervous about the pending ice storm. However, two families braved the weather forecast and made it safely to our house through the cold rainy weather and I greeted them with hot tea and cocoa for the kids.
There were 4 adults and 7 kids (under the age of 8) attending, so it was LOUD! My first thought was, "what if all of the families had shown up? How loud would that have been?" Most parents can relate to those moments when you are trying to have a conversation with another adult, but your kids are asking you questions, spilling their drinks, or getting in trouble for hitting other kids. That kind of stuff always happen when families get together, so why don't we just hire a babysitter to take the kids in the basement, while we enjoy our tea and conversation?
I asked each of the families to introduce themselves and tell us why they chose to be in a family home group instead of another, calmer option. One mother said that she worked all day and wanted to find something that she could do with her kids instead of choosing another night away from them during the week. The other family wanted to make connections with people, but didn't want to have to pay for a babysitter.
Why did my husband and I choose to host a family home group instead of attending adult only homegroups? We believe in the authority that Jesus gives the family unit. We want to be the ones who teach our children about Jesus. We want to model worship and prayer with our kids. We want to put God first and our family second and this home group combines those beautiful desires.
After introductions, I gave all of the children shakers and pulled out my guitar. I played a fast worship song and the kids danced around and made lots of joyful noise to the Lord. One little 4 year old girl really seemed engaged. She had her arms in the air and a big smile on her face, as she swayed back and forth to the beat of the song. Her parents told me that she is never that in tune with worship at church, but she loved it so much during the small group that she kept asking me to play more songs.
I asked the oldest child to pray for all of the adults and his prayer was so powerful. He asked the Holy Spirit to fill us with His presence and give us purpose in our lives. How many 8 year olds think about concepts like that? It was a sweet beginning to a great journey. May the Lord truly give us presence and purpose in our Family Home Group.
*Photo by D Sharon Pruitt