The Gospel-Centered Parent: Study Guide with Leader's Notes
by Rose Marie Miller and Deborah Harrell
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Our children are precious to us, so naturally we want to protect them and guarantee their safety and happiness. We want to get it right, so our children will be all right. But we live in a broken world where things don’t always (or ever?) go as planned. Children make mistakes, and, if they are honest, parents know they make mistakes too. So it’s easy for parents to live in fear, regret, confusion, and sometimes hopelessness about parenting and the children they love. Is there a better way? Can you learn to live by faith, to trust the God who made you and your children with their past, present, and future? How can parents live by faith as they parent their children?
These are questions that are best answered in community. This ten-session small group resource will help parents apply the gospel of Jesus Christ to their families. Each lesson looks at parenting through the lens of God’s grace for sinners (parents and children) and gives parents a gospel center to their parenting. Parents will learn how to live out the biblical principles of faith, repentance, and faithfulness to their calling as parents with their children. Each lesson is self-contained, featuring clear teaching from Scripture, and requires no extra work outside of the group setting. The self-explanatory Leader’s Guide at the back of the book helps small group leaders with discussion questions and background material that clearly explain and apply the gospel truths from each lesson.
Deborah Harrell is the Overseas Educational Advisor for Serge, with a degree in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Arizona. Deborah is the author of the award-winning children's novel, Pinto’s Hope, and contributing author of numerous articles in professional journals. She is also the coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Parent, What's Up? Discovering the Gospel, Jesus, and Who You Really Are, and What's Up? Elementary: Learning about God and Yourself. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Jason, and daughter, Sarah.
Jack Klumpenhower, the son of a missionary pastor, is a television news writer by trade but a Bible teacher by passion. Married with two children, Jack is a freelance writer living in beautiful Durango, Colorado.
Rose Marie Miller is a Bible teacher; conference speaker; missionary with Serge (formerly World Harvest Mission); and author of From Fear to Freedom and Nothing Is Impossible with God. Rose Marie and her late husband C. John “Jack” Miller worked together to plant the New Life Presbyterian Churches and begin Serge. She has five children, twenty-four grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren and divides her time between London, England, and Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
"The Gospel-Centered Parent is a resource to help you see your parenting in light of God's good news! Practical yet theological, simple yet deeply biblical, this text will provide helpful perspective for many parents."
Timothy Paul Jones, C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Family Ministry Field Guide
"The Gospel-Centered Parent is an invaluable gift to the church. This ten-week group study will give parents the hope and courage they need as they learn how to give the gospel to their children and to themselves. The weekly lessons are easy to read and applicable to everyday life. The questions at the end of each lesson are thought provoking and will be helpful in creating good discussions. But what I love the most about this study was that when I was finished I found myself more in love with Christ. The gospel is good news for every single part of our lives."
Jessica Thompson, Coauthor of Give Them Grace
"The Gospel-Centered Parent small group study is the best small group resource I've seen for parents. It is much more than a parenting course; it is parent discipleship at its best. Buy this resource for your small group and watch worry and anxiety in the lives of your parents—trying to find the right parenting technique—be replaced with faith in God and a renewed trust in the life-transforming gospel."
Marty Machowski, Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, Glen Mills, PA; author of Long Story Short, Gospel Story for Kids curriculum, and the upcoming The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New
"I so wish I had this book forty years ago, before I became a parent. Want (need) some fresh reflection on the implications of the gospel for how we love our kids to the glory of God? Start here. Practical without being pragmatic; thoughtful without being cliché; refreshingly honest and pregnant with hope. A parent as chief repenter and thirstiest person for grace in the family system? You betcha. Huge thanks, hugs, and kudos to Rose Marie Miller, Deborah Harrell, and Jack Klumpenhower for this extraordinary gift."
Dr. Scotty Ward Smith, Author; Teacher in Residence at West End Community Church, Nashville
"It's great to be a parent; but if you are one, it almost goes without saying that you're frustrated sometimes, confused sometimes, and fearful sometimes. Maybe even more than 'sometimes.' You're going to love this study. And, also, if you're a parent, the last thing you need is another guilt-producing book or study guide that will tell you how to do it right. You just don't need more frustration, confusion, and fear. What you need is Jesus and the gospel. Rose Marie, Debbie Harrell, and Jack Klumpenhower have given a major gift to parents and to the church. Use this guide, rejoice in its truth, then lighten up and take your kids for ice cream."
Steve Brown, Key Life radio broadcaster; author of Three Free Sins: God Isn't Mad at You
"What a liberating resource! Just reading the first paragraph will set you free. But don't stop there. Every chapter is full of honest insights into how the gospel can change both you and the way you parent."
Charles Morris, Speaker and President of the nationwide radio broadcast Haven Today
“If I'm honest, too often my parenting has a 'build-a-better-Pharisee' feel to it—I'm sadly content to aim for external behavioral conformity and end up missing the heart. The Gospel-Centered Parent provides a much-needed antidote to this short-sighted approach. It provides thought-provoking, practical, biblically faithful instruction for parents who yearn to model a lifestyle of faith and repentance before their children. It has proved immediately beneficial in my own parenting."
Michael R. Emlet, MDiv, MD, Faculty member and counselor at CCEF; author of CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet.
"Having stumbled along through the joy and the mess of parenting for almost eighteen years, it has become clear to us that one thing is needed for this magnificent calling: deep roots in the gospel. We need a grace that gives us permission to fail, and to own where we have failed with our own children. Sometimes the parent who says to a child, 'I'm sorry, will you forgive me?' is parenting better and more beautifully than the parent who makes few if any mistakes. But we also need a grace that calls us to something more, to press in with our kids with a generosity, love, and vision that calls them to be and become the very best version of their unique selves. The Gospel-Centered Parent is an excellent resource for this endeavor."
Scott Sauls, Senior Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN; author of Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides
"It was our privilege to live in community with Jack and Rose Marie as the Lord was teaching us all about being immersed in the gospel and letting go of the illusion of being 'perfect parents.' We had a front-row seat as Jack and Rose Marie modeled the humility of parents who were becoming transparent, sharing their weaknesses and inadequacies while being bold in prayer and faith that Jesus was ALL that they needed. We shared a rocky but beautiful journey and saw God's strength in their weakness. We are indebted to them, and trust that as you go through this study you will be able to let go of your desire to control your children and grow in your desire to run to your Father for forgiveness and grace."
Dick and Liz Kaufmann, Founding Pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church, Escondido, and Harbor, a church planning network in San Diego, CA; former Executive Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church NYC