I was at a meeting recently with some young adults and families. We were worshipping together, and I was kneeling down with my eyes closed in worship. When I sensed God calling me to stand up, I put my hand on a knee, opened my eyes, and was surprised to see a little girl kneeling next to me, staring straight at me. One of her hands was on her knee, just like me, and as I paused to look at her, she paused to. I pushed myself up and she imitated me, straightening slowly. I smiled softly. She smiled back and ran off.
I know who this little girl's parents are, but I have never interacted with her before. I don’t know her name. I’ve never taught her in Sunday school. Yet in this moment, I was a model to her.
In our sermon a couple of weeks ago on parenting, our guest speaker, Artie Sudan, encouraged us that we don’t need to be a Bible scholar to bring our kids up in the way of Christ.
All we need is to be one step ahead.
This is powerful! I don’t have any kids. I’m not a biological parent of any child, but as I live and breathe, I "parent" other people. All of us can act as spiritual, if not biological, "parents." How we serve. How we smile. What we say. How we act. If we’re one step ahead in years, in maturity, or in life-stage, we parent in the sense that we help raise people up to their next level as they watch and learn from us.
There is no shame in being just one step ahead. Aladdin’s power in staying free was to be “one jump ahead of the sword.” He even laughs about it as he sings, “That’s all - and that’s no joke!”
Sometimes, all we have is to be one step ahead. Most of the time, though, we wish we were miles ahead of the people we are influencing. We think “I’m just barely keeping ahead of my own life! I’m no role model! I’m barely making it!”
But we ARE making it. We’re one step ahead.
There’s a lot of honor in being one step ahead, too. One of the values of Lifegroups is that they are communities that are DUPLICATABLE. You don’t need a Masters in Theology to lead a Lifegroup. You don’t need to have all the answers. All you need is faithfulness, availability, teachability, and a servant heart. A Masters in Theology takes four years to duplicate. It’s not very replicable. But what can be replicated is the simple, powerful things of life. A generous spirit. A humble heart. A willingness to ask forgiveness from a friend.
If you have any of these things, you have something worth duplicating into the life of another, including very young others.
Kids LOVE being shared with. They will eat up your love, laughter, and playfulness. They will sit behind you and read whatever you are reading. They will pick up a book and imitate you reading. They will want to help you cook in the kitchen. They will imitate your perseverance, intentionality, friendliness, and graciousness.
This is the power of the church, and this is the power of true leadership. It’s duplicatable. It can be imitated. For parents, you might not know all the answers to your kids difficulties, but are you living a life worth duplicating? Do you imbue your actions with integrity, gentleness, truth, and joy? For non-parents, what in your life do you have that are your strengths, that someone else can duplicate in their own lives? Maybe it is cheerfulness, positivity, determination, vision, study of Scripture, a love of prayer, a love of worship, soccer, piano.
We don’t have to have it ALL together. Where you are one step ahead, others follow. And where are others are one step ahead, follow them.
About the Author: Allison is a massage therapist working out of her own studio at A2 Yoga. If she isn't helping people’s bodies on their journey to health, she's probably doing something around Antioch! She loves prayer, worship, and spending time with her roommates, the families around the church, and her lifegroup!