Answers to Common Questions About
a Support Group
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Can a church have more than one Effective Parenting Support
Yes, a church can have as many groups as they need. There
is no additional cost to register more than one group per
Does it cost any money to attend an Effective Parenting
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
What support does the National Center for Biblical Parenting
Office give for Effective Parenting Support Groups and
What happens at Effective Parenting Support Group meetings?
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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:
How much of the time is for teaching and how much for
- 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).
- As you address parenting problems actively bring people
back to the Four Goals of Effective Parenting.
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.
EPSG Leader's Guide