Parenting is one of the most difficult yet rewarding tasks that God gives us in this life. Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof have written Parenting Beyond Your Capacity in order to give parents a model that encourages partnership between parents and community in influencing children and students. Churches need to partner with families…and families need to be involved in the life of the church. Joiner and Nieuwhof are both committed to the Orange Model of Church. This model, as shown in Joiner’s book Think Orange (2009), leverages the partnership between the love of the home (symbolized by the color red) and the light of the church (symbolized by the color yellow) mixing to create the color orange. Orange is about “two entities partnering to make a greater impact” (Think Orange, 24). Carey and Reggie, in this book, challenge the thinking that parenting can be an isolated venture. They offer 5 values parents can implement in order to raise their children to “demonstrate God’s love to the broken world.” (Parenting, 180)
Joiner begins the book by showing the three types of relationships that elevate and influence kids as they grow up. When its understood that kids being moving out when they enter middle school, these important relationships cant wait. The three relationships that Joiner says are vital are: 1) the relationship kids have with those outside the home; 2) their relationship with God; 3) their relationship with you, every student needs at least on other adult, outside the home, to instill truth into their life. As parents, you could be too near to the situation, to emotionally involved, or the rule maker that has been offended, thus the need to talk to another person about it. Whether it be a youth leader, family friend, or teacher, a student needs a community and a family to be raised. This book is not about being a perfect family, but rather a broken family that God is using to change the world. Thus the 5 values were created to keep families on the right track to becoming a family that lives out Deuteronomy 6 and the role that God has for them.
The first value is widening the circle of influence. Kids, according to the authors, need people outside the home to pour into them. In order to do this, parents must be connected to the world outside of the family. We must be intentional (a word often used in the book) as we search for mentors for our kids and be involved in our communities. They remind us that kids will one day search for affirmation from those outside of their parents…and that this shouldn’t upset us (youth ministers need to feel the same way)! The second value is living with the end in mind. Knowing what you would like your kids to grow up to be is a key to parenting beyond your capacity today. The third value, fighting for the heart, is all about never giving up on your kids. Staying in tension until its resolved, show your student that they are worth fighting for. The authors made a great statement when they said: “When you fight with someone, you want to win. When you fight for someone, you want that person to win…when you fight for people, relationships are prioritized.” Our children will always need a relationship with us. They will never outgrow our relationships, though they will change. Value 4 is about taking advantage of times when teaching can happen by creating a rhythm. Every day we wake up, eat meals, travel, and go to bed. How are you leveraging these times to invest in your kids. Deut. 6 shows the people of Israel these times as important…how are we using them. The authors challenge the reader to begin to use these times well. The fifth and final value is: making it personal. This chapter is about only leading where you are willing to go. Meaning we must internalize God’s relationship with us before we can pass it on to our kids. A relationship with God can only be passed on when it is on display at home. A culture of love at home between parent and child, only comes about when it is displayed between husband and wife. The authors challenged the parents to be moved first by God, so that they can move their children.
This book was a great read. It was fun and entertaining. It was reflective and personal. Though it lacked specific application and ideas for implementation. The authors come at this topic with many years of experience and pastoral stories. They have put into practice the ideas in this book. First and foremost, I feel like the church needs to get its act together in partnering with families. We as a church aren’t intentional in providing families with ideas and opportunities for families to come together. We segregate based on age, we divide based on life stage…where is our drive to bring families together. These men are leading a charge to foster a relationship of cooperation between family and the church. A relationship that is fleshed out in this book!