Leadership Greenhouses: From Babbling Infants to World-Influencing Leaders

Leadership Greenhouses: From Babbling Infants to World-Influencing Leaders

Our church is a Family-Integrated Church. It became one through a painful process of metamorphosis. Through a long journey that began roughly back in 2000, God impressed upon me to one day follow Him into beginning a new work. Church planting has been on my heart and mind since then, but through various circumstances, the opportunity had not presented itself until 2006 when we were assessed by the Evangelical Free Church of America and were approved as Church Planters. Upon our departure from a comfortable life and church staff position at a wonderful church in Southern California, we arrived April 1, 2007 to Middleton, Idaho. Back then, we had not yet settled on a uniform vision of how we thought the church should look like and be. However, through a series of events and relationships, we have come to the conclusion that we need to be Family-Integrated. Family-Integrated is simply one of several defining components of who we are; it is not the only one. We hope to be defined and described by others as much more than just being “Family-Integrated.”

However, we believe what God said in Proverbs 22:15 is true, where He said through King Solomon that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child” (ESV). We have children sit with us during our worship service and simply do not offer Sunday school or Children’s classes. We believe that putting children together in classes separated by age is a detriment to their growth. A general rule of thumb is what Proverbs 29:15 (NET) says where “a child who is unrestrained brings shame to his mother.” Truly, children are prone to behave foolishly when alone together.

Proverbs 13:20 (ESV) tells us that “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” If children are with their parents, their inclination is to improve their behavior, pay more attention to what is being taught or even becoming involved in serving their church family and others. The main idea is that we want children to live UP (ideally through the influence of their parents and other influential adults) rather than look to their peers for their spiritual direction and behavior. The onus of that responsibility was given by God to us dads.

Do we minister to children? Absolutely! We ensure that every teaching session, worship service or small group includes children with our language and actions, working hard to ensure that children understand the content of our teaching and are active participants in what we are doing.

We believe Jesus loves children. We believe He places them as a high priority in the Body of Christ, NOT as mere distractions or nuisances. The Church, as She is realized in a local expression of the Body of Christ, is a Leadership Greenhouse. The elders, the men and the women of each local church sees a multi-generational vision of what their children will one day be to their worlds, not just what they are right now. They recognize that one day their children will grow up and take their place as leaders in their own families, their local church, their neighborhoods, their workplace and even their world.

May the Lord bless Wellsprings Church to be a true Leadership Greenhouse as we seek to train our babbling infants into becoming world-influencing leaders.

Neil Schultz

Teaching Elder and Church Planter

Wellsprings Church

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