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Traveling with Kids

Four years ago, our family set out on a journey to several college campuses across the country. Graham was just six months old.Money was tight.Sometimes, we didn’t know where we were going to stay before we got there. God was starting a new movement on campuses. We felt we needed to grow it as a family.

Some people told us it was crazy, unstable, and unwise.

Stereotypes about “ministry” said it wasn’t possible – that kids would be an unnecessary burden.

We found the opposite to be true. When we valued our family, the Holy Spirit moved powerfully.

We traveled over 10,000 miles that first year back and forth across the country.

We would include our kids in our Student CPx trainings. This is the training where we equip students to make disciples and plant simple churches. It was awkward at first. Old ministry stereotypes kept nagging me: “Shouldn’t we put the kids in childcare?” I’m preaching here! Come on, kids, this ministry work is important, go away.” (Yuck) 

God melted away this mindset quickly.

One day, driving in Las Vegas, our kids were troubled by the immoral advertising. We stopped on the side of the road and prayed for the city. Later that week, a group of students were baptized on the UNLV campus:

After our second year of traveling, we noticed something beautiful starting to happen: Wherever we invested time, students didn’t just get saved or go deeper with Jesus – they started relating to each other like a spiritual family.

One place where we’ve seen spiritual family grow is outside Pittsburgh, PA.

Our family spent a month there in 2009. Last week, Graham and I traveled back with good friends Stephen and Josh to celebrate a national gathering for the SCPX family there. We celebrated the ribbon cutting for the Hub, led by our friends, Brad and Adriane McKoy and their team. The Hub will serve as a national mission base for the SCPX family. They are doing amazing things to mobilize disciple makers and simple church planters – while growing spiritual family together.

Graham is on my shoulders in the center. We were celebrating the grand

opening of The Hub, a base for the SCPX family in PA.

As our kids have gotten older, I try to take each of them on one or two trips a year. Here’s Ethan with NYU students in New York City last March:

Here’s Graham with David Wade, the same student

in the picture above:

Our kids are growing up around young adults who are passionately

following Jesus.

Shoulders seem to be the preferred method of travel….

Our kids make all kinds of friends in the places we visit. Here is Olivia and her friend during a trip to Atlanta. This same girl came and visited us later that year.

We often see new followers of Jesus get baptized when we go places.

This seems to happen in campus fountains a lot.

One year at Oregon State University, Hudson watched a student getting baptized. He suddenly jumped in the fountain and yelled over the crowd,

“Look, Dad! I baptized myself!”

We’ve seen Jesus heal some people and do other cool stuff.

Sometimes these new believers get connected into spiritual family, sometimes they don’t. When they do, they grow really quickly and deeply as Jesus followers.

As we’ve matured in leadership, we’ve focused more on growing spiritual family wherever we go, not just trying to get people to have a one-time experience with God. We teach them to live as God’s family and treat each other with love. We’re pretty sure this is how church is supposed to be.

We want our kids to grow up knowing that a few disciples can change the world. So can a family.

Traveling with kids has joys and challenges.

There are fun times.

There are exhausting moments.

There are inconvenient times.

(Potty training on the road)

There are times of discipline and correction.

Bad attitudes come out sometimes.

But through it all, there is love.

Family is the most important thing God gives us. Value your family as God does.

We are growing spiritual families as we grow our natural family. We have new adventures coming up. We need your help to get there.

If you’ve considered becoming a partner with us, now is a great time.

Please join us today through simple, online giving.

Growing God’s Family Together,

Erik

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