Monday, January 16, 2023

Families in God's Plan

Families in God’s Plan, Harriet Connor (Growing Faith, 2021)

This online bible study resource is mainly for parents who want to explore their family’s purpose and place in God’s plan. Harriet Connor, author of Big Picture Parents, has provided 12 studies that consider families as being part of creation, affected by the fall, redeemed by Christ, and called to love God and others. While encompassing a definition of family to be extended and multi-generational, the focus is mainly for parents and primary caregivers.

The studies are designed to take about 45 mins, with questions exploring relevant Bible passages, suggestions for how to apply it to your own life, and a Psalm to prompt prayer. An additional “Parents’ Talking Point” box is included at the end of each study.

Over the course of the studies, Connor considers the place of families:
  • in creation 
  • in a fallen world 
  • in the line of Abraham 
  • on the foundation of God’s law 
  • in God’s family 
  • in the light of eternity.
As such, there is a real breadth covered, as well as enough depth for contemplation. I feel the real benefit of these studies will be for parents. Those who take time over the studies and the talking points to discuss the points raised, will likely find it a great opportunity to recheck or even realign their family’s priorities and goals. For those familiar with God’s promises and the overall structure of the bible, there won’t be anything strikingly new here. However, having it all together in one resource is very helpful. I would recommend it for any Christian couple becoming parents or in the earlier years of parenting, or for those who have not really considered their parenting from a Christian lens before.

I had just a few hesitations:
  • Study 2 refers to “significant psychological challenges” children have to overcome if not born in a healthy marriage with stable relationships with both parents. This could set up parents in different situations to feel additional burden and guilt. The very large topic of reproductive technologies and surrogacy was raised, but with little guidance or nuance on how to think about it (except to reference a somewhat combative website). 
  • Study 8 flags that some Christians think corporal punishment is required. Caution about this view is warranted, rather than just making a general comment either way. 
Overall, these studies are valuable, and will expand anyone’s understanding and vision of God’s plan for families.

[You can purchase them for download here.]

I was given an ecopy of these studies in exchange for an honest review.