“Q&A: Handling Criticism, Neighborhood Evangelism, Why Homechurch, Teen Friendships”

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Episode Summary

We asked what you want to hear and answered the four most helpful questions.

In celebration of 2 million podcast downloads, we did a Q&A. There’s something for everyone in this one as we candidly answer four of your questions: How to handle criticism? How to evangelize in your neighborhood? Why did you plant a home church versus join an existing one? And, How to help your teens build good friendships.

Main Points in This Episode:

  1. How to handle criticism.
  2. If you live Biblically you will look different and when you make different choices you will likely face some criticism.
  3. Examples of evangelism in your neighborhood.
  4. We answer “Why not join an existing home church versus plant a new one?”
  5. How to help teens make friends.

Scripture in This Episode:

Proverbs 15:31 – “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”

Proverbs 9:8 – “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”

1 Corinthians 1:10 – Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Titus 1:6-9 –If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting and the following. Welcome to the podcast, everybody.

Hey, guys.

Wow, what a special episode. 2 million downloads.

You guys, this is so exciting. We wanted to find a special way to kind of celebrate with you guys, and so we were like, Oh, we should do a our son actually recommended we should do a Q&A and let you guys decide what we’re going to talk about in the podcast.

You guys were so good at asking questions. We have so many good questions and obviously and you know, one podcast episode, we can’t answer every question, but we picked out four that we think you’ll like and you’ll discover them as we go here. And we will probably put some of those questions into future episodes, but they were really, really good and we just are so thankful for what God is doing in this ministry and how you have been such an integral part of it. From your encouragement to the sharing to.

Reviews on.

Itunes, some of you purchasing products to donations that have come in, it all has been instrumental and vitally important for us to be able to do this full time, and we’re just overjoyed that we get to do this. So every single week for the last. Was it three years?

Yeah, over three years.

Over three.

Years.

A full episode bringing whatever the Holy Spirit has been prompting us or through you sometimes as you give us recommendations. We’ve been teaching on all kinds of things, and it’s not just biblical parenting, although that’s super important, but it’s biblical parenting and how that applies to where the world is at right now. And I think that’s really important because it’s even more challenging to equip confident Christian kids in these uncertain times. But if we follow what the Bible says, it is more relevant than ever. The Bible is more relevant than ever right now for parenting.

And I think there’s an element to where parents are are fed up and they are making a lot of big choices and changing the trajectory of their home. They’re being courageous. They’re stepping out into new things, whether it’s parents choosing to bring their kids home and homeschool, or whether it’s changing a job to show their kids, I’m not going to comply, write or all kinds of different situations wanting to move potentially. There have been a lot of families we know that have strategically relocated, as we have for the betterment of their legacy, for their kids and their grandkids and their great grandkids for those that you can’t even see. Right. And so there’s been a lot of really cool things that have been happening over the years as we’ve covered different kinds of topics that are relevant to what’s happening in the world today. And it’s been a fun journey. I know that for us it’s a source of accountability, right? Because it’s like, okay, we say that we’re going to we’re moving forward. We’re we’re relocating. We did.

It. Yeah.

But it’s also been an opportunity for us to really be able to see what is relevant with you guys, what is the heartbeat of what you need and create products like the homeschool blueprint, right. That was created in the midst of COVID. And and we’ve had over 1000 moms go through that homeschooling course, which is still available. You guys can find out more about that at courageous parenting dot com.

Absolutely. So just as a reminder, we’re a for profit for social good company because we want to create products and ways to provide for the ministry and provide for a family that doesn’t only rely on donations. However, the donations have been also instrumental with that, and we also don’t want to be controlled by the government as they clamp down on nonprofits and so forth. And we want to be free to express everything that’s in the Word of God.

I also want to say we’ve mentioned a couple of times on the podcast that we do not do advertising on Instagram and Facebook anymore. We stop doing that. I think it was like 18 months ago or.

Something during the presidential election in the.

States. Yeah, so it was, it was like 18, 19 months ago. And God has been so good to bring people to do the courageous parenting mentor program with us by another courses and other. There have been other ways that God has expanded the ministry, that He has brought other people, made other people aware of what we’re doing to bring him glory that has helped to support us so we could keep going. Yeah. And that’s been really exciting. So us hitting 2 million downloads is like another one of those things, like, we could not have done this without you guys partnering with us and wanting to impact more legacies, to encourage more people to be courageous parents so that they can raise confident Christian kids for the next generation.

And God’s been putting it on our hearts to do many more things, important resources that will be coming out and additional things. So. We’re really excited about the future. We really believe courageous parenting, courageous mom, resolute man, all related in the same ministry are at the beginning of things really. And so we’re super excited and our first grandbaby is coming.

So we’re.

Yeah, we’re always learning.

We are. There will be a day when I’ll have advice for grandmas, but not now.

So let’s let’s dive in. But of course, go to courageous parenting for all the show notes, resources, free workshop, parenting workshop, which is really cool. You can catch it in episode. There’s always an image of that and a link for that. People really love that. I think 4000 people have gone through that and loved it. So check that out. But anyways, let’s dive in. So one of the questions we chose to answer is how to deal with criticism. The reason we chose this is because it came a few times and actually a lot of Christians are feeling this, especially the more intentional you get in your parenting and your marriage and how you’re living, the more odd you look in the Bible does say to be a.

Light.

And to be a peculiar people.

Peculiar people. Yeah. So we’re going to look strange to the world.

And so that’s going to bring additional criticism. Now, sometimes criticism is our friend, and it’s important to recognize that. But I would say as the human condition sits, almost universally, people don’t like it. Mm hmm.

Right. That’s true. I mean, most people would try to dodge it, right? Yeah. The concept of critical criticism is one that’s a hard pill to swallow. Right? To take someone saying, actually, I don’t like it when you or if you said it this way, it could be taken this way or there’s so many different things that you hear. Right. And I think that the more that you look different than the world, the more potential critical criticism that you’re going to get, right? Yeah. I remember when we first started homeschooling and even within our close community, it was a little bit rare. There were only a couple of people that were homeschooling at the time, and I felt so alone because I was one of the only ones doing it. But not only that, I got criticism specifically from like family who were like they just didn’t know anything about homeschooling and they were like, Why are you doing this right? And now, 18 years later, a lot of the family members are like, you know, wish their other grandkids were being homeschooled or they just they see the fruit that’s in the kids and they are really supportive and it’s been awesome. But I share that brief story with you because sometimes when you get criticism, you don’t realize that it’s because the other person is convicted or they feel like what they did.

There might have been something wrong with what they did or they have regret over the decisions that they made. And the way you’re living your life points a big spotlight on that. Even with you not saying anything, even with you, maybe you never even think a judgmental thought about it because you’re like, I know that for myself. I was like not wanting to homeschool, but I felt like God was calling me to and I was reading everything and trying to prepare. And I was so consumed with trying to take care of my own family. I wasn’t thinking about other people’s families, but the fact that I was doing what I was doing was convicting to other people. And so at the end of the day, you have to realize that that’s between them and God, even though they’re trying to make it about you and them and God and your decisions between you and God. And you just have to not fear people and do what’s right in the eyes of the Lord and what you feel like He’s calling you to do.

So when you first get a critique and of course we get critiques, right? You have to first go, what is true? We have to go get past our emotional response inside to that of how dare they? They don’t understand. They don’t know what’s going on. That was hurtful. That was hurtful. All that get beyond that for a second. Just go. What is true about this? Is there any truth to this? What is true? What is the Bible say about this? Is am I online on track here with a biblical truth in what I’m doing or are they off track or are they on track and I’m off track? You’ve got to kind of look at that. I hope you look at that and then run up by your spouse, too. If you got a critique, you should run it by your spouse because you guys should be a team and be able to help each other in that way. Most trusted advisors should be your spouse. So but here’s the thing that being said, be careful. We should take opinions, but only a few and only from the right people. And the question is, is there a competitiveness from the other person? Is there a jealousy? Is there a worldliness the way their paradigm is and how they look at things? Do they have hang ups experiences in their life that are. Causing them to view things in a skewed way and lash out at you or critique you in an unfair way. So those.

Are important. You know, I think it’s also important to that when you are taking criticism. One of the things Isaac and I talked about, and this is super hard to do, easy to say, hard to do, but regardless of who it comes from, like taking that and owning it and being willing to do an evaluation and be introspective to see if there’s anything that’s true there, something valuable that you can learn from and change and grow in is good. And so it’s always like, okay. And I said, This is easy to say, hard to do. And I’ll be honest, this is something that I forget to do probably 90% of the time. So this is a reminder for myself also, but saying thank you to the person. Thank you for sharing that with me. I know it was really hard for you to come to me with that, and this is something that I literally just had to practice with one of my kids a couple of days ago where it was like, Thank you for telling me. I didn’t actually know that that was a view that you had of me and it was hard pill to swallow. I think it’s even more humbling when it comes from your kids. Right. And but that’s part of what we have to do in life is take things from our spouses and go, okay, is there some truth to that? Is there a reason why they believe that way about me and evaluate, but then at the same time? So on a totally different note, when there’s like Isaac was going through, like things you need to be careful of. A lot of times within the Christian church, there is you would agree that I think the last two years we’ve all become aware of the division that is in the church.

But even on a level of like spiritual maturity, there are people who are mature in their faith and there are people that are not mature, that are still drinking spiritual milk. And there’s this entire spectrum of people on a different plane, on their spiritual journey with Jesus and having grace for where people are at when they come to you and recognizing like they don’t see the bigger picture in this. And I think that that’s especially important when it comes to you actually giving critical criticism, which is not something we were going to talk about in depth, but it’s something that we need to be really aware of because isn’t it easy when someone comes to you with a criticism to think of the ways that they also do that or think of the ways that they also offend you? One of the things that we have really tried to do, even with our kids, especially our teenagers, is when there is conflict and there’s something going on not to let it get about other things, to try to keep the main point. The main point. And that can be hard because people innately want to self preserve and blame shift and like make things about bigger things. And so when, when we’re raising our kids because as a parenting podcast, we need to teach them and discipline them in dealing with one or one or two like the main issues at a time. Otherwise it can be very overwhelming.

Scripture here, Proverbs nine, seven and eight. It says Whoever corrects a scofflaw gets himself abuse, and he who proves a wicked man incurs injury do not reprove a staffer or he will hate you, reprove a wise man. He will love you. So this is just a warning. You have to discern when to reproof somebody that’s critiquing you falsely, because if they’re not a wise person, you could further injure yourself, get hurt. There are times like on social media, for example, and I’m not saying this is a prescriptive thing for you to do. It might only be an Isaac thing, I don’t know. But I often will like the criticism I disagree with about me.

Or about what you’ve said.

Or about what I’ve said, because at least they’re participating, you know what I mean? It’s like you.

Want to be.

And I want to be loving. And I find that if I like it. It doesn’t mean I like it because it’s social media, it’s just hitting a button. It’s like I feel like it’s more of an acknowledgement, I hear you versus I’m embracing it as I agree with you. And it’s okay that they may perceive that differently, but it also totally diffuses it. So I think that that’s a counterintuitive approach I’m not saying to do, but it’s a bigger purpose here of like if I start arguing with people on the Internet, for example, it usually just leads to worse and division and everybody sees it and it wouldn’t be a great thing.

Well, and I would say to is that a best use of your time or is that a scheme of the devil to waste your time? Like, we don’t have time for that. Yeah, you know what I mean? And so this this scripture that Isaac’s bringing about, like discerning who to actually get into an argument with, if you will, or to defend what you’ve said if you’re teaching biblical truth and you get criticized. Because I think that’s more what the question is today is like if you are teaching biblical truth or you’re walking out biblical truth and you’re doing.

Your parenting decisions you’re making.

Right. Exactly. And then you start getting criticism because of that. Like, remember that you’re getting criticized because of Christ and because you’re obeying Christ and that you will be blessed because of it. The Scripture is very clear, but also like if you’re getting criticized because of something you’ve written on social media, be use wisdom and don’t necessarily like pick your battles very wisely. And if you don’t know the person that’s commenting, you can’t actually make a wise discernment because you don’t know where they’re at spiritually. You don’t even know if they’re saved. And so there isn’t an ability to be able to tell if they’re scoffers or they’re a wise person. It’s interesting because recently, about a month ago, I got a comment. I don’t get a lot of criticizing comments, but I got one that was that could have been viewed as critical, maybe even argumentative regarding I had done two posts that were very contrasting, one about daughters, one about sons, and they were back to back, but they were separate posts not to be read necessarily together, not like you would read like an article. And this was a new follower and had only read those two posts and was like brought something up and was like offended personally because of her own personal background obviously.

But in her very short like maybe 30 word comment, I did actually choose to respond in a tried to be in a loving way. And what was amazing about the response was, Hey, I never saw it. Like I never meant for these posts to be written to get like to be read together. There are two separate posts, but read together. I could see I could see your perspective and saying I’m sorry if that personally offended you because it stirred up a past hurt in your life. And that was all I said to her. That’s good. And she was so surprised, first of all, that I got back to her and to that I would even have that kind of I would take the time to care that much. And I don’t often have the time, even though I do care that much. And and now she’s commenting and liking all kinds of things. And she’s even messaged me a couple of times and I love that. Like, that’s how we should be as believers, right? To have grace and compassion for the ones that when we don’t know where they’re at to go. Hmm. Maybe they’re saying this because they have hurt in their past and have compassion on them and just give that to them like.

Such a good one. We have three more important questions, but I do want to just finish with a scripture here. Proverbs 1531, the ear that listens to life giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despise himself. But he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. So we do want to look for again, is there any truth to this, too? And if it’s Escoffier, then just be careful in how you respond. And if their loved ones or friends that are criticizing you, that’s an in-person only discussion and you should not avoid it. You should definitely run towards the conflict, not run away from the conflict when it’s friends and family, especially because they’re not scoffers, they’re people in your life. And they may be scoffing you in the moment, but they’re people that you’re you have a relationship with and that are important in your life. And you want to continue. You want to get through it. And you can you can decide if you can overlook the offense or if you need to talk about it because you’re agitated inside.

And I would say some people, too, even within their family, they do have scoffers like there are scoffers within families. There are also unbelievers that are not going to ever agree with you that are potentially even in your family or in your in your neighborhood or whatever. And the point is, though, is that you need to discern because scoffers tend to be also like there are many different aspects of what a scholar could be. Maybe it’s a person that wants to make other people feel bad or wants to point out faults in other people, to make them feel better about their own sins. And because there are people that are like that. Right. And. For them. That’s a form of justification and it’s not right. Right. And those are the times when we get to experience what persecution looks like, unfair persecution, even blame shifting, which is actually I’ve experienced this in my life on a personal level, and I cannot tell you that that it’s easy. But I can tell you that if you lean into those experiences where you are in conflict with people who are close to you in your life, you can experience an intimacy with Christ and understanding a little bit more, just a little bit of the grand persecution that he experienced when he was being led to the cross, the betrayal of people who were close to him, people spitting on him, blaming him for things that were untrue, unjust, just it was the entire thing was horrendous.

We just experienced Resurrection Sunday. So it’s just fresh in my mind. And and I, I know that when we walk through those hard things, it’s easy for us to get hung up on and think that it’s all about us. But we have to remember that our lives are actually all about Christ. And if we look at it through the lens of How can I now relate to Christ more? How can I understand some of the persecution that He went through? It can literally be transformational for you and your own personal relationship with Christ because you relate to Him in a totally different level and there’s a spiritual maturity that begins there.

Well, we could do a whole podcast episode on each of these questions. So, so good. Yeah, well said. So we’re going to do a quick bit on evangelism in your neighborhood. Such a good question.

Yeah, this is actually a question that we got from one of my cousin’s husbands. I love that, Marc. Hi. He lives in Amsterdam. It’s pretty cool. We have people all over the world that listen in to the podcast and we are new in a neighborhood now and our situation may be completely different than your situation. Just want to say that first of all, we live on acreage and everyone in our neighborhood also lives in acreage. So this is about evangelism in your neighborhood. But even in being in acreage type neighborhood, I feel like this is the first time that we’ve been in this situation where we’ve still known our neighbors so much more than we have in the past when we’ve been on acreage. And it’s interesting because I think that part of it is the times. I think people, even non-Christians want to know the people that they are in community with or the people that are close to them geographically and like they want to team up to.

They want to know what your strengths are and what you’re good at. And I think that people are kind of thinking if things get really tough, you know, how can we help each other? So regardless of faith, there’s this like mindedness in that area, which is kind of neat. It’s very cool. It’s very cool. And but, you know, there’s lots of ways to do this. And God may call you to do this in a unique way that we don’t even mention. But the ways we’ve done it is, I think first is hospitality.

Yeah, that’s been a huge thing. I mean, a lot of you guys asked other questions that we’re not able to dive into, but the answer to those questions is also hospitality, like how do you find friends for your kids? Hospitality, you know, and this is a huge one for evangelism in the neighborhood. And if you think about it, this is something that Jesus modeled. He met people’s physical needs. He broke bread with people. And he talked about the importance of breaking bread together. And so having an open door where your neighbors even feel okay to stop by. That happened just this last weekend on Resurrection Sunday, a neighbor stopped by and they knew that they were welcome. Do that. And, you know, just getting to know people even before they’ve moved in, we’ve had those experiences as well where real estate agents have said, hey, do you live close by? I have some people. I’m showing a neighborhood house to you. Can we stop by and being able to connect with them and have a couple hours to get to know them before they even moved here, you know, and that’s been awesome. Like, is there a situation where you can reach out to people who are new in your neighborhood where you can actually help them to move in? Or I’m just thinking of other ideas like bringing a meal if they don’t want your help with unloading their U-Haul, which was something we experienced when we moved here.

A lot of people, even from over the mountains, came to help us. They brought food, they filled our fridge with food because they knew we were moving here and had a lot of kids. There was all kinds of ways that they served that helped to jumpstart those relationships and just be loving. And so it’s fun to be able to kind of repay that or be able to be in community with people. Another thing that we have done is just inviting people to join us for home. Church We’re going to be talking about home church in a few minutes, but we have been able to do that. And so like there’s a couple that comes to our home church that’s going to be building a house behind us, Lord willing. And so, you know, there’s all different kinds of ways that you can practice evangelism.

What’s the way that your neighborhood communicate? Gates with each other at first. Look for that. You know, is it a Facebook group? Is it some kind of, you know, list of names and numbers? I mean, I think that’s how can that communication work? Obviously, you can introduce yourself and knock on the doors and all those things. But I would I would do that. And then how can your gifts be utilized with your neighbors? How can you be helpful? So being helpful, being a light. Is there a neighborhood project? We have one coming up, which is there’s a more part of an HOA, actually, and there’s this little piece of land and we want to help put in fence posts to, you know, so there’s a gate so that.

We can protect.

To protect the area. And then there’s goals some of the neighbors have of making the beat, you know, putting a beach in on the river and all these kinds of things. So, you know, being involved with that I think is exciting for the outcome of a cool place for our family and other families to hang out, but also doing something together. And I think your first point is true. I think that it might be easier than it used to because people are very interested and see it as more important than they used to of knowing who’s living next to them. So I think that’s a big deal. All right. I think we need to move on just for time, but we could talk a lot more about that praying. But we forgot to mention praying. Pray for your neighbors. Yeah. And pray for those relationships and pray for those opportunities. And I find when I pray, I’m more likely to see the divine appointments, the God institutes. And when I’m not praying for somebody, I tend to ignore them and miss them.

And I think that it’s easy to overlook the power of the witness that your kids have, too. Doesn’t always have to be you. Sometimes the divine appointment or sometimes the way that you’re an evangelist is actually when your fruit goes out from your home to serve other neighbors, whether it’s moving water lines, taking out garbage cans or like I’m just even thinking of that different things that the kids have done or giving a dozen eggs for free to some neighbors or eat a couple dozen or whatever. Like there’s just so many different ways that you can serve one another.

Okay. I do have one little story from our Damascus house. When we lived on acreage, the the the neighbor was there was actually a conflict with a neighbor and right next to us and he was a renter and the owner of the property. It was like an old farmhouse on acreage and they rented it out and, you know, they were using drugs and they were tough, you know, kind of tough around the edges, people. And they had.

A lot.

They had. So that’s our observation. Right. And obviously I’d talked to him several times, but then things were fine. But then their dogs started coming into our property and they were pit bulls.

They were to be clear.

And they were not friendly, no pit bulls. So to where they kind of hovered around Angie’s car wouldn’t let her and the kids get out when I was at home and these kinds of things. And to make a longer story short, I started thinking about what are my rights? You know, what can I do to protect my family? Should these dogs get out of hand? And, you know, obviously I talked to the neighbor, but it didn’t stop and they would come over and get them. But it was it was hard, though. And we had a fence. We had the white pasture fence, but they would just go through it. Right. Because I wasn’t meaning for big animals not to be able to come through. But then and it was it was getting kind of.

Dangerous.

Dangerous situation. And I was thinking of my rights and all these things. And then I just prayed about it and God just revealed that I need to work with him in a different way, try a different approach. And I, you know, we kind of talked about it and I offered to pay for actually. No, what happened was I found out he was a mason and we needed some mason work done on our front entry gate. And, and so we traded him working on my front gate for paying for wire fence to go on my fence to solve this problem together. And then while he was building the front gate, I was able to share the gospel with him and so forth. I don’t.

Know, kids were able to talk to his kids because they would all.

Play, they would all come over. And it turned in from this very tense situation to the Lord, prompting me to find another way. And he found another way as I was talking to him, and it was just so fruitful to see. So let’s look for the God’s solution and these things too.

I even think of another story where we had another neighbor in that same neighborhood that was struggling with being in and out of jail and had a wife and at the time had one kid, and then she got pregnant again a little later and there was like a Christmas time where they were really struggling. I think he was actually in prison during that time and we found out about it and we were able to take some stuff over to the kids and we hired him when he was on probation and out of jail to do custom cabinetry in our home. And Isaac would share with him often about the gospel. And we invited them to church and they came one Sunday.

And well, then he actually accepted the Lord. He got back.

And yes, we got to go.

And it was really just a neat thing to see how God can work. And and so wherever you are, let’s just be praying for that. I was going to move on, but then these things.

Goodness, guys, thank you for asking that question. We haven’t actually talked about or remembered these stories for over a decade. Yeah, that happened a long, long time ago. So special. There are many ways that God can work in your lives and through you.

All right, Rapidfire here on a big two more topics. Another home, church or versus going to an existing one. So the question was more like this what made you decide to plant another home church versus just going to an existing home church in your.

Area or existing church?

Yeah, but I think it was a home church question. But either way, it is a good question. And just our experience is, you know, where we were, we were part of a great home church and we still love all those people and it’s still very healthy and growing.

And they’ve come to visit us.

And so it’s wonderful. You know, the Lord had us move. So, so for a year, you know, obviously you’re getting to know a new place. We thought, well, we’re open to going to the, you.

Know, a traditional.

Traditional church building, a non home church and a Christian church.

And so to see what God was doing in Idaho and know how to pray and we were trying to build community as well. We wanted to get to know people. And and this should be an example to you of how we are for the traditional way that church is set up as well, because we were willing to go and be a part of it.

Yeah. And you know, a lot of our marriage, first 16 years of our marriage, we went to some really good churches. Yeah. So in visiting churches for a year, there’s some really good churches and maybe not so sometimes. And that’s how it goes when you’re visiting churches. Right. And so but it was fun to see what God’s doing and all those things. One of the things that became really apparent to us is the larger A churches, the harder it is for the people to be of one mind. And the Bible does talk about that. In the times we’re in, we feel that it’s even more important to be of one mind in a church. It doesn’t mean we all like the color blue, but of the things that matter, biblical things doctrinally that were of one mind and that there’s not resistance when we’re trying to do something biblical.

Right.

With people around us because it looks so different.

And camaraderie and working together as an actual body, that’s members of one another. One example is just think about the the experience of sitting in a large church. Maybe you have 100 people sitting around you, maybe you have 2000 people sitting around you. First of all, do you know those people by name? Like that’s a super simple question. Secondly, do you know what they believe on abortion? Do you know what they believe on any given topic regarding doctrine? Like, do they actually believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, the only way to the Father? Did you know that there’s like 5% of believing Christians that actually believe he’s the only way? I just read the statistic on one of the websites that we use for resources and I like this is a big deal because so many people will say, well, I’m a Christian, but I think that other people can get to God through other religions too. That’s becoming a growing theme that people are accepting, and it’s just not biblical.

So in first Corinthians 110, it’s Paul. It’s talking about divisions in the church and it says, I appeal to you brothers by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. And you might be thinking, Well, I think that’s true. I think that a lot of times in a bigger church, we don’t even know if that’s true, because there’s not even a lot when it’s a large number of people, we don’t even know what people believe. You know, the bigger challenge of this, we might be faring okay, but when we put our kids in the youth programs and those kids have they’re.

A blank slate.

And they’re not of one mind because they’re coming from families that are not of one mind. They’re very impressionable. And it could really shift the paradigms of your kids.

Which changes your family culture. It changes your family legacy. It literally it can change like the trajectory of a child’s spiritual walk.

So I think there’s a reason why Paul is saying be of one mind. And if you don’t know that the people going to your church of one mind, then you should think about that. Another thing is to is you go, well, well, the church is a place for people to come to know the Lord. And while people of different levels of maturity, as Angie talked about earlier and that’s a good thing I’m going to be patient it.

Suffering with.

Them. We read the scriptures to be churches, a place for believers to fan each other’s flames, to encourage and stir up good works within one another. And you can’t really do that unless there’s of one mind.

Because the sermons will actually be adapted for unbelievers. In churches that are so focused on bringing in unbelieving people, there’s less equipping of the saints happening, less discipleship happening, and more just bringing people to the knowledge of God, which is different. It’s a different meeting that’s a different kind of thing. Like if you want to do an evangelism like event, that would be one thing, right? Awesome. But the church meeting is about the three things. It’s about prayer, the teaching of the Apostles and the saints. Breaking the bread, breaking of the bread with the family of God. Right.

And worship.

And when you talk about what the breaking of the bread is, here’s another perfect example of this, is that the Bible actually tells us that we’re not to be in conflict with one another when we take communion or we’re condemning ourselves. How do you note like, do you have time where to to find out if, oh, did I offend you? Or Are we good with each person that’s in the body when it’s such a large body?

So hey, that being said, we’re very much for churches, large churches as well, because good things are happening in those places. But the question was, you were asking us about.

Our personal.

Our personal decision. And as we look at having so many kids and going to a church, we need to we need to think about those things. It’s harder to be one mind now. So we did visit home churches, actually, a couple of them. They’re hard to find, aren’t they? Right. So but we did visit some and we just found that we weren’t of one mind in those particular ones we visited. So we were completely open and excited to join another home church. Actually, we weren’t looking to start a church.

Yeah. In fact, when we moved here, that was our heart. If you listen to our other podcasts when we moved here, we were open to joining that more so than just starting one.

But God said, Why don’t you just start doing church at home with your family and I’ll bring people to the church? I mean, didn’t say that audibly to us. I’m not saying that. But that is that is a sense that I got.

So and it was something that we actually talked we brought forth to our kids and we asked them if they wanted to start doing home church because we were driving quite a long ways. And, you know, that’s the other thing is most of you think about that kind of stuff, too, when you’re picking a church, you want to live closer to the church so that when you’re building community, it’s something that you can actually do and practice hospitality and be in each other’s lives on a more regular basis, not just meeting on Sundays. And that’s part of it is building biblical community and having fellowship with one another and investing in each other. And we just found that for us, like the commitment that it would be for having so many kids, especially teenagers, and potentially taking this one over here to that person’s house and this one to that house. And it would have been way too intense regarding building community that way.

Now, regarding home church, a couple of things that are really important to us is, first of all, that there’s at least somebody there that is elder qualified that is really important. Now sometimes you see the church spreading and acts and so forth. There weren’t necessarily in every situation, probably somebody elder qualified. There are church planters, but God will provide an elder qualified person over time.

If Paul would even bring people in and assign them to churches to be an elder.

It was that important that so so not too much time should go by, even in a home church without someone being elder qualified. And it’s, you know, so imagine us going to a church if there wasn’t somebody elder qualified and I’m leading my kids and my family, that doesn’t really work. It doesn’t work out very well. Just think through that process. There needs to be someone elder qualified and and in Titus one six through nine, it says and there’s many parts in the Bible if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. So the children are believers and they’re obedient to their parents. For an overseer, as God’s steward must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable. A lover of good, self-controlled, upright, wholly disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught so that he may be able to give instruction and sound doctrine also to rebuke those who contradict it. If that’s not happening, what you’re going to have is the wrong doctrine being allowed to be shared and messiness with what’s being shared during the meeting. And these kinds of things.

The lack of order in the church, which is a whole other aspect like home church, is not just gathering together and singing some worship songs and everybody going around and sharing what God’s taught them that week, right? That’s more of a home group kind of situation. And we’re not going to dig into what like the actual structure of home church looks like in this podcast. That’s a totally different topic. But one of the things that’s important to us in evaluating is, is there order? Because God is a God of order and are the elders leading in a way where there is order that is honoring to the Lord and obedient to Scripture, some other scriptures that talk about elder qualifications? If that’s something that is really important for you to learn and you haven’t really looked into that much, is First Timothy Chapter three and first Peter Chapter five. We just wanted to throw those out there for you guys to do further research.

That’s so good. And another thing on this is there’s got to be sound teaching. I just want to emphasize that again, there should that is one of the major purposes of getting together. And, you know, angels are watching when church is happening, all churches and there’s no perfect churches. Right. So angels are there. And it’s a reverent, important thing. It’s not a Bible study. If it’s church, it’s a different thing. There’s a different thing happening. And there is prayer, there is worship, there’s reverence, there’s sound, biblical teaching, there’s.

Breaking.

There’s accountability, there’s structure, there’s allowing the spirit to lead at the same time breaking the bread. There’s communion.

Like. And I would even say, like for us I brought breaking and bread again just because that was like even an issue too, when we were visiting other churches, if it wasn’t something that they regularly did, it was like a big deal to us because the Bible does say to do it as often as you meet is actually the verbiage in Scripture. You can go look that up. But for us it was it’s a special time of reflection. And when churches are overlooking the importance of that, what does that say about like their doctrine, actually? And that would be us not being sound mind with that church. And so then we would have to move on to the next church to visit. So there there are many different things that we could talk about, but for us, we’ve been really blessed. We’re thankful many of you guys listening today probably didn’t even know that we had planted another home church. It’s something that is just been around for a couple of months and we’re really enjoying the close fellowship with those people.

Yeah, so last question we’re going to cover today. Obviously there’s many questions, but how teens, what can you do to help your teens make friends?

The big question.

That is a big question. And the first thing I would say is don’t sacrifice their.

Character.

Development. Thank you. Don’t sacrifice their character development or don’t lower your standards for who they’re around for the sake of.

Building.

Relationships. Amen. That’s like, oh, the church is doing this. All night thing or the church is doing this thing over.

Here in my kids been lonely, so I’m just going to let them go to.

It. If you have a gut reaction that it’s not good for the character and it’s not good for maybe who they’re around, then don’t do it.

And yeah. And can I just add something to that? Like you brought up the like overnight youth group thing or whatever. Like I just have to say to don’t make a decision on what church you’re going to based upon. Like do they have a large youth group where my kids can meet lots of people because my kids are lonely? Like, that’s not how we should be making choices on what church we should go to. I would also say don’t and listen carefully. Do not assume that just because your kid is meeting someone at a church function or at a youth group or in a church setting, that that kid is saved. Don’t just assume, Oh, awesome, God’s answered my prayers. They met another kid that’s their age and they at church. How perfect is that? That doesn’t mean that that kid is saved. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good influence on your child. It doesn’t mean that in a month or even two months, you’re going to want them to be spending time with that kid. And so hold your horses, keep praying, be open for sure, practice hospitality. But this is going to be work. It’s going to like from my perspective, it is get to know the kids, get to know the parents of the kids.

So you should have your eyes wide open for families that you would want to be friends with the parents.

Right.

And that have kids your age. Now, I’m not saying only be friends with people that have kids your age. It’s not what we said.

I mean, we have kids ages 21 to 10.

So for like minded people you can run the race with because ideally families are hanging out. And yes, kids sometimes are hanging out with each other when they’re teenagers and so forth and totally. But it.

Is so.

Much easier when you really know what’s happening in that home because you know the parents and your friends with the parents and those kinds of things. I think that is so important. Also activities we put it on there. I think that’s important. So having him activities but not at the sacrifice of ever eating dinner together. So there’s a balance. Sometimes we go overboard, oh, we need to do the activities, but now we’re not eating dinner together anymore as a family. Yeah, well.

Or having conversations. There’s a balance, kids, other than when we’re in the car.

I remember there’s an equation we get out of balance sometimes when they’re doing soccer and things and it’s like, Oh, wait, we’re only eating dinner three times a week together as a family. Alert, alert, alert. We can’t let this continue. Long term, maybe short term weeks.

It’s okay for six weeks.

And kind of my kind of my threshold has been if we’re not eating dinner together four days a week at home, there’s a problem.

Yeah. So, you know, and your your standard might be different. It might not be a dinner thing, it might be something else. But we don’t want to overlook the importance of prayer. There is a there has been many times in our season of parenting over the last 22 years where we’ve had one or two kids where they they don’t have a close friend. Maybe they have many acquaintances. If you guys have gone through the parenting mentor program, then you have heard us do a teaching on the difference between Friendly’s friends and frenemies. And there’s different there’s different people that you put in categories based and you use wisdom on it, right? Like you’re not going to have certain people being influential on you and you need to teach this to your kids. But for us, like there have been seasons where some of our kids have had more people in one of those categories and less close friends that they would view as like super like minded where they’re like, I would have that person in my wedding when I got married, right? Like they envisioned themselves being friends, lifelong, going through life together, supporting one another, biblical friendship. This is the thing like our kids, all of our kids, our kids, your kids, they’re on a journey to and growing and making their faith their own and learning who God is and what it means to actually live like a Christian. Kids are learning that. Parents are learning that we’re all on this same journey called life. Right. And so a lot of grace is going to be needed.

And you don’t want to have standards that are, like, so unattainable, like, oh, no, a kid has to be perfect in order to be friends with my kid. Right? That’s just not realistic and it’s unfair. And your kid will never have friends. And the reality is, is your child is not perfect either. But at the same time, what Isaac is talking about with not lowering the standard for friends is that you need to teach and equip your children to one, be able to recognize and and discern slash judge. Yes, I use the word judge. If the person that they’ve just met is someone that they are going to be a leader of, someone that they can be a comrade with. And what I mean by that is, is this person someone that they would want to have influence them? Are they going to make them more wise or are they going to be a bad influence? They have to be able to determine that. And then they’re going to need to actually evaluate how much time they spend with that person based upon that. So this is a really huge conversation, actually, you know, and there are many ways that your kids can meet people. But what’s more important is not that they’re not the meeting of people in making up friends. It’s are they making wise friend choices? And that’s something that you need to teach your children because they need to grow up making those choices for the rest of their life.

Hey, let us know what you think of this Q&A format. We’re not going to always do it like this or anything, but just curious and thanks for being part of the 1 Million Legacies movement and celebrating with us during this. If you love this, would you share it and share courageous parenting, too.

Thank you. See you next time. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. For more resources, go to courageous parenting and courageous mom dot com for free online workshops, blog posts and best selling courses. Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program. Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible self-paced program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private online group, Live Webcasts, and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send you weekly encouragement straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program, secure your spot now at CourageousParenting.com

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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