Describe why you took the class and what made you decide to do this as a family?
I’ve been anticipating Citylight (CL) to do a more formal educational option for the church. The class presenting the one story, the big picture story of the bible, combined with a strong position on the Gospel. I am passionate about this and something I support completely. For myself, it’s been a great opportunity to see a new perspective. I’ve been through the bible before, but the perspective of The Gospel story is relatively new for me. Instead of just sections of the bible, we are learning the One story all the way through to Revelation.
My wife and I also knew since we were all going to be at church on Sunday mornings, we might as well give our daughters something to do and have them do the class with us. We believe children and teens can also get a solid grounding in scripture and an understanding on how to read their bibles and where they fit in the story. The Christian Story class was specifically for that. For homeschool, we made this class their bible class. It was fun to be talking with our children throughout the class and then through the homework. I tend to be a ‘in your head‘ kind of person by doing the homework before them and then to come back and to go over the questions and the homework with one another made it fun. Each daughter is unique and their responses were different so we got to engage with each of them in their own different ways.
Carson’s book for the class was challenging and academic in some places however we liked the insight it offers along with the class leadership. To understand the commitment God has, His plan all the way through, was great. How the One story unfolds in different ways and being shown through the kings and the covenants and then through Jesus, it’s one theme all the way through. Also, the girls liked listening to the book on Audible and I liked reading from the book. On Audible it’s free with a subscription.
What did God reveal to you?
God revealed a lot of things to me week to week. In the sections of consummation and revelation and the end of the story, it revealed to me how hopeful and thorough God’s plans are for us. It goes beyond hope. He has everything figured out and it all goes His way and His wants. We are all a part of this and a beloved part. This class really conveyed this to me and the big picture and my place in this story and that it’s a place in a big part of the big picture. We are not ancillary.
Also, something I said before or knew is that Jesus wrote the Old Testament. He is with God and seeing again the big picture story, the commitment to the Israelites, Abraham, the covenant, and His glory...it is carried all the way through. The big picture of who God is being consistently revealed in all 66 books. Same God, same mission, and same plan. There’s no plan B. God broadcasted the end of the story at the beginning and at the end of the story He talked about the beginning, vice versa.
Anything you are celebrating personally or in your family because of the class?
I’m super excited about taking the next one, the Christian Formation. The commitment to training and to development in our church is encouraging. The next class is going to be something I can really use.
To be honest, as a parent, half-way through the class it felt like I needed to drag my kids to it, but I’m glad we did and that we continued to talk before and during the class. One week I was the only one who did the homework, and I was late at it, but it still was a great opportunity for one of my daughter’s. It was good to sit down and talk to her on what it looks like not doing the homework. I challenged her by still being engaged and to be a part of the conversation even though she didn’t do the homework and to come out of her shell and give it a shot. After that she was a lot more engaged and involved and it was so good to see her make a conscious decision to engage with the material and get something out of it instead of being apathetic. They have friends around them that are going through a lot in life, questioning everything and trying to put it all together, and they are pulling away and not wanting to go to church. With all that going on, and just being able to engage intelligently and with the story of the bible as young adults, was a privilege and we are so glad we did it as a family.
How would you encourage others to take this class (maybe other parents specifically too) and why?
If you are thinking of taking this class...you should do it. No matter what level you think you are, you should still do it. If you are going to take it, prepare and commit ahead of time and put real work into it. Spend a little bit each day throughout the week and commit to it. You won’t be disappointed. I wish I knew this ahead of time. Also, another thing I learned and wish I knew ahead of time is that it’s better to read the questions before reading the text. It makes you more thoughtful and prepared.
From a parent’s perspective, bring your family. It won’t be easy sometimes and it will feel like you are dragging them. That’s ok. I don’t know if my daughters will look back on this study and think it was great or not....but I do! Out of our commitment to doing this class as a family, a little ritual going to coffee in between the gatherings evolved. It was so nice to get coffee with my daughters and it created a little space as a family that you wouldn’t do well just on your own.
I’m not great at this, but if you are committed to it, you then make the space. Force the kids and then have fun. I think half the time we were asking questions with one another and talking about the study. We would ask questions like: Did the book make any sense? What do you guys think?... Seriously make them come and have some fun. We have continued this tradition getting coffee even after the class ended. It’s become a tradition that we won’t get out of.
The last bit of encouragement I have for families is to sit with your family during the class. Invite other families to come and sit with you. Overall I am glad we sat together, we ended up sitting with another family and it was nice. We got to know them better. Lastly, just embrace this class as an opportunity...that this is your life right now.