I've been preaching this fall on the Christian Home. In the past three weeks I have talked about the importance of Sunday School -- and especially how important it is for Sunday School lessons to be reinforced at home. I've talked about Youth ministry and how important it is for churches to encourage youth to get hands on involved in ministry and mission. Last week I talked about how important it is in the Christian Home for parents to be vital, growing, maturing Christians themselves.
There is a myth in American culture that a "nuclear" family -- mom, dad, kids in isolation -- is somehow healthy and/or the proper way to raise children. I remember hearing the old African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" and was interested when I read Senator Clinton's book by that same title. But the truth, for Christians, has to run much deeper. Any village won't do. In fact, I would suggest a rewrite of the proverb that says "it takes a COMMUNITY to raise a child."
The Church is one of the very few organizations (organisms) on the planet that is intentionally and essentially a multi generational gathering. It takes a healthy community to help parents raise their children. This healthy community would include healthy growing adults (of all ages), engaged and involved teens and growing maturing children. I asked one of our young mothers, as she came out of worship a few weeks ago, how she was doing. She replied, "my son has a few new grandparents and aunts and uncles after this morning." I thought to myself, that is exactly what we, as a church, are supposed to be. It takes a community, intentional, focused, committed, growing community to raise a child.