Connecting in community

Michael Bishop 14 Aug 2017 sunday blog  home groups  parents 

Wednesday was the second week of our Parenting Children course and what a brilliant evening it was! A couple in the church graciously prepared a meal for all of us (and cleaned up after us!) and then the children played together while the grown-ups listened to input from Nicky and Sila Lee on parenting.

This week’s session had to do with meeting the deepest needs of our children and the material was organised around psychologist Gary Chapman’s Five love languages. If you’re not familiar with the idea, Chapman suggests that there are five main ways of expressing love: Quality time, Physical touch, Gifts, Acts of service and Affirming words. He says that each of us (adults and children alike) have a dominant love language. The trick in a marriage, or a family, or a friendship is recognising that the people we love probably have a different love language to us, and that for them to feel loved, we will need to speak their love language, rather than our own.

We’ve used Chapman’s material for pre-marriage counselling and it’s not rocket science, but hearing these ideas wisely applied to children, and talking it through with other parents who are also finding parenting frightening and hard and wonderful left me feeling reassured and empowered and connected. It’s good to be doing this together :) Even if you don’t have young children, Chapman’s idea is worth exploring – his books are very practical and, if nothing else, teach us to see the world from another’s perspective. (I think we have copies of the 5 Love Languages for Children book on order for our bookshop).

On Tuesday evening I met with our home group leaders and again, it was so helpful to hear people share similar joys and struggles and to have a sense of being together in the journey. Our home group leaders are real stars and they play such a key role in the life of our community. We’re busy making plans to try and get away for a day or two with this group of leaders – a chance to rest and be re-inspired as a team.

So then, a week that has reminded me again why we place such emphasis on connecting in groups at UMC.


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