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Answers to Common Questions About Leading
a Support Group
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The following questions and answers are meant to clarify the philosophy, goals, and operating procedures of an Effective Parenting Support Group. You may use some of the material for publicity, communicating with boards and leadership, and for making decisions about what your group will look like.

What is an Effective Parenting Support Group?

Effective Parenting Support Groups are Christian support groups where parents work together to develop biblical, practical strategies to help children change their hearts not just their behavior.

Effective Parenting Support Groups are for parents in crisis and for those who are proactively seeking to prevent future problems by developing strong healthy patterns in family life now, with different aspects of the meeting touching both areas.

Effective Parenting Support Groups recognize that both parents and children have a lot to learn. They prepare parents to meet the daily challenges of parenting by providing a place for teaching, sharing, accountability, and encouragement.

What age children are Effective Parenting Support Groups for?

Effective Parenting Support Groups are for parents of children between the ages of 0-18. You may want to start a group for children of all ages, or you may want to start one just for infants, or teens, or anything in between.

Why should we join or start an Effective Parenting Support Group? Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Parents need support and encouragement to face the many challenges of raising children. The most meaningful solutions come from applying the Bible to every day life and helping children change their hearts. But the solutions to common parenting problems aren't as easy as one might think. A group of thoughtful, caring, parents can provide the support that you and other parents need to be the parents God wants you to be. Effective Parenting Support Groups provide three benefits to group members:

1. Ideas and Strategies

It's one thing to read good parenting books. It's another to apply those great ideas to your particular situation. Problems often come in bunches and an Effective Parenting Support Group can help you take those problems apart and deal with them successfully. These groups help parents to maintain a clear perspective and help them stay on track during the various stages of parenting.

2. Accountability

Knowing that you will report back to your group provides you with encouragement and motivation to hang in there and follow through on the things you've decided to do. Realizing that others are interested in your success and that they care about your family provides you with knowledge that you aren't alone.

3. Support and Encouragement

Sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on or a question answered or just the opportunity to bounce ideas off of someone to make sure you're on track. An Effective Parenting Support Group can provide the practical support and encouragement you need on a regular basis to continue to grow as a parent.

Does an Effective Parenting Support Group have to be Christian?

Yes, when people come to an Effective Parenting Support Group they can expect that it will be a Christian support group, using the Bible, prayer, and faith in the group meetings.

Can a church have more than one Effective Parenting Support Group?

Yes, a church can have as many groups as they need. There is no additional cost to register more than one group per church.

Does it cost any money to attend an Effective Parenting Support Group?

No, the meetings are free. However, you will find several opportunities to purchase parenting materials as resources for your family. Occasionally a group may choose to take an offering to help offset the cost of a speaker.

What is the size of the Effective Parenting Support Group?

The groups may be as small as a few people or as large as 75-100 or more. A large group allows for a more well known speaker but may lose some of the intimacy of the small group setting. If your group is getting large, it's best to train facilitators for the small group times, breaking the group into subgroups of 8-12 people for discussion and sharing.

What support does the National Center for Biblical Parenting Office give for Effective Parenting Support Groups and their leaders?
  • The Effective Parenting Support Group Leader's Guide provides many helpful suggestions and ideas for starting, organizing, and running the group.
  • Promotional materials to advertise your group are available. You may purchase a promotional CD that contains ready to use fliers, press releases, banners, letters, logos and artwork.
  • A periodic update for the Effective Parenting Support Group leader with specific ideas for training and encouragement.
  • Access to the National Center for Biblical Parenting staff for support and guidance. (We want your group to be successful and will gladly help you get your group started and running.)
  • Permission to use of the Effective Parenting Support Group logo.
  • Web finder allows people in your area to visit the National Center for Biblical Parenting web site to find a group in their area
  • Discounts on Effective Parenting resources.
What happens at Effective Parenting Support Group meetings?

The group meetings will take on their own personality based on the leader and the members of the group. The length of your meetings and how you conduct them is totally up to you. However, as you plan what the meetings will look like we ask you to consider the following two things:

  1. Allocate at least part of the meeting to addressing people's current needs and crises (a sharing time) and at least another part of the meeting to preventative/proactive issues (a teaching time).
  2. As you address parenting problems actively bring people back to the Four Goals of Effective Parenting.
How much of the time is for teaching and how much for sharing?

The answer to this question is up to you and the needs of your group. You may choose to allocate 10 minutes to teaching and the rest to sharing, or the greater part of the meeting to teaching and only a short sharing time. The point is that both provide valuable ways for people to learn and grow.

How are the Effective Parenting Support Groups led?

Each church must have a contact person for Effective Parenting Support Groups who also functions as the liaison to the National Center for Biblical Parenting office. If your church only has one group and it's small, one person may function as the discussion leader, teacher, registrar, refreshment coordinator, and publicist. However, as the group grows, and certainly when more groups are started in the church, dividing the leadership becomes not only a practical necessity, but also a blessing as each person contributes to the success of the group.

A leader may run the group as a teacher or as a facilitator. The teacher model relies on one person for much of the parenting advice. The facilitator model relies on the group to brainstorm together for helpful solutions.

Is childcare offered?

One of the realities of working with parents is that they have kids that must be cared for. By providing childcare or even teaching for those children, you increase the number of people who can attend, you get more couples participating, and you are able to help whole families grow. The National Center for Biblical Parenting does offer children's program curriculum for groups who want a teaching program for the children. Whether you offer a children's program or not is up to you and your particular situation.

What is the relationship between Effective Parenting and the National Center for Biblical Parenting?

Effective Parenting started in 1992 as the nonprofit corporation of Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller to provide an outlet for their speaking, counseling, and writing ministry. The National Center for Biblical Parenting was created in 2002 with a larger vision to equip churches with resources on parenting, provide National Biblical Parenting Conferences, and offer Effective Parenting Support Groups to churches around the country. Although the National Center for Biblical Parenting uses the resources of Effective Parenting, it seeks other authors and speakers as well who are committed to solving parenting problems from a Biblical perspective.

Does the group have to use the Effective Parenting Books, Tapes, and Videos?

No. The resources of Effective Parenting are available to purchase at a discount and provide practical, biblical solutions for family life. But there are many other resources available for parenting. Use whatever you think is best and most helpful for the members who attend your group. An Effective Parenting Support Group evaluates all parenting solutions from whatever source based on the Four Goals of Effective Parenting.

When and where should the group meet?

Effective Parenting Support Groups can meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly. They can meet during an existing children's ministry of the church like Awana or Sunday School, or they can be at a completely separate time. The group can be just for moms and be connected to the church's preschool, or take place on the evening when the youth group meets. The groups can meet at the church or in the comfort of some one's home.

Order EPSG Leader's Guide

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