When Ross Brenneman heard that his good friend Noah Yost would be serving with him in the third grade classroom at Citylight Kids West, he had an idea. What if he and Noah would meet up during the week before they served so that they can be intentional with each week's lesson preparation as teachers but also as friends who could pray and encourage one another in life.
"Ross brought it up and wanted to lead the charge doing third grade together," Noah said with a huge grin. "He said to me we should get together the weeks we are doing Kids Ministry and be intentional with what we were doing. The words 'mini-Kingdom leaders' were mentioned and that really resonated with me. The point was that we are making disciples of the next generation and to be on top of that with the week's Bible story."
Ross has understood the importance to lead not only his children and wife to Jesus every day, but also the burden to help and serve other kids and families.
"You know, we've been on a path learning about what it means to be Christ followers. It means in addition to love God and love others first but then the next step is to lead people into that Kingdom," Ross said. "In Kids ministry on a Sunday morning, our intentionality is to show the Bible as a unified story, and some times that's hard to do from week to week when we zoom in so far into the story. So when Noah and I meet the main thing we go over together is how do we tie this back to the overall story. That story is that God has been pursuing us for thousands of years and He wants to love us and care for us. Just like in today's CLK lesson, it was about God's grace through David's sin. It's right there!"
Being in Bible studies in the past together and friends for so long, meeting together and planning for lessons has revitalized this purpose for each Ross and Noah.
"I don't have any third graders yet so this is like a pre-cursor," Ross shared. "Noah and I get to some interesting places and it's good to have that dialogue before we teach the Sunday lesson."
"one big thing that came out of meeting together for me and my family is the Gospel Project App. Ross introduced it to me and my wife and kids and I have loved it. It's really helped me lead with my kids. It's given me a greater understanding of the over-arching theme of the Bible and all the books in the Bible. It's given me and my kids a ton of context. It's an awesome tool! It's helped me with leading devotionals every night. The kids love it and I do too."
When asked what words of encouragement do they have for other parents, Ross offered,
"don't be intimated by the messiness of life. The best way we can bring the Gospel to our families is by showing them mainly in our failures. What happens when we do the wrong thing and how we respond to that with our kids is really what will help them more than any thing."
Noah encourages parents to find something that works for your family,
"for me it was finding an app. Reading from the Bible every night is a lot harder compared to getting into the Gospel Project App. That app has become a great tool. It gets me and my family way more into a discussion that also leads us back into scripture. We go back to scripture and we look what the Bible says about that but it gives us so much more context where the kids are asking the question. I am not the only one dictating. That works for us and may not work for everyone. Find something that works for you that becomes an easy entry point into the Bible."
Leading yourself each day to God's Word can sometimes feel defeating. Leading yourself and a family with little ones can be overwhelming and can feel like a daily failure. The thing is, we can't do this on our own. We need God the Spirit and the Body of Christ. For Ross and Noah, meeting just an hour a week to talk, pray, and share the Gospel with one another, so that they can be better at leading themselves, their family, and others, has made all the difference.