Full Circle Parenting Author Q&A


Jan 29th

  • We were inspired by all the parents who mentored us—beginning with our own—and who are helping us navigate parenthood to this day. We have learned a lot from our church family and from a whole tribe of peers, pastors and encouragers who reinforce the biblical principles we are hoping (and praying) to instill in our kids. We are so sympathetic to parents who come to us seeking advice, and we want to try to share some of what we are learning with a broader audience. 

  • This book is for all the parents out there who have felt frustrated by formulaic approaches to parenting:  if you do X, then God will do Y, and the result will be Z. We want to hold up the love and grace of God that’s available to all of us through the gospel. We want to equip parents to seek God’s wisdom and to frame every conversation in light of God’s design. God shows us the way to recover and pursue his design—no matter how far our kids have strayed. We also want to create a resource for pastors and church leaders that is biblical, practical and accessible. Hopefully this book will help strengthen families in neighborhood churches.

  • Good grief! We have had conversations about everything imaginable as our kids have grown up. Kids need coaching, encouragement and a path to redemption. As you will see in the book, we always try to frame difficult conversations in light of God’s design. The 3 Circles gives us a “mental map” for these conversations. It shows our children how departures from God’s design (sin) always lead to brokenness and how the way back is always through the gospel. We want to help them see how the gospel isn’t a “one and done” proposition. It is powerful to save and faithful to sanctify. The gospel, applied to our hearts, our families and our churches, makes us more and more like Jesus.

  • The 3 Circles was birthed out of a need to express the gospel to people with little or no biblical knowledge. We were counseling large numbers of couples who wanted to get married but weren’t Christians and didn’t know any Bible verses or Bible stories. We found that people from all walks of life, from all cultures and from any religious background can relate to feelings of brokenness. We can all tell when life isn’t working the way God designed it to work. We feel guilt, shame, hurt, disappointment, etc. It is the experience of brokenness that helps us desire change in our lives. Of course, brokenness isn’t the actual problem; it’s a symptom of the problem. The problem is sin. Jesus died for all of the sin that causes brokenness. He was buried, and God raised him from the dead. When we repent and believe the story of the gospel, God gives us his Word, his Spirit and his Church to help us recover and pursue God’s design from wherever we are in life. 

    We realized that the 3 Circles isn’t just useful for marriage counseling or personal evangelism; that tool gives us a guide to every crucial conversation with our kids (and others). Every problem, issue or concern can be addressed using this conversational map. We always want to help our kids see that God has made the path of restoration available to them.

  • We are still in the midst of it. Our younger kids are at home and run the gamut from elementary school to middle school and high school. We do have older kids and now we have two married sons who are raising their own families. Our kids have embraced the concept of God’s design; they understand that they are made on purpose by God, and that their lives belong to him. We have had the joy of watching our kids lead their peers to Christ using the 3 Circles tool. And we have had numerous conversations with our grown kids as they use the 3 Circles as a filter for their interactions on the job or in processing larger worldview issues. But as we say in the book, the true test of parenting isn’t how our kids turn out; it’s how our grandkids turn out. Our story is still being written. 

  • Kids are great hypocrisy detectors. We can’t preach one thing on Sunday and then fail to live it out Monday through Saturday. We can’t send our kids the message that God is only for their church life. It’s crucial that all Christian parents learn how to make our faith the centerpiece of every aspect of our lives. Our children will learn by our example. It’s why God told his people to take his commands and “talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut. 6:7).”

  • Our prayer is that this book will give parents the confidence and practice they need to address any and every situation through the lens of the gospel. Parents sometimes allow other influences to take center stage because parents are afraid that they are irrelevant or unprepared. We want parents to be emboldened and encouraged to take their rightful place as the key shapers of their children’s lives. Parents need encouragement. Parents need a plan. And parents need allies. We’re not supposed to try to do this alone. We need God and we need other biblically sound parents to help us. We want parents to see that there is a biblical roadmap to follow as we encounter every parenting challenge.

  • We like to say that our church family is like The Home Depot for parenting: “You can do it. We can help!” Christian parents need each other. We can’t do this alone. We think this book will give pastors and church leaders some practical tools to put in the hands of parents who are in every stage and configuration of parenting.

  • We hope parents will feel encouraged by the fact that God has called them to this assignment, and he is going to equip them to do it. We hope that they will commit to being intentional in their parenting and lean into their church family for the help they need. We hope that this book will help them train their kids’ hearts and not just modify their behavior. The goal of Christian parenting is heart transformation, not behavior modification. Only the gospel of Jesus can transform the human heart. Finally, we hope that parents will put THEIR hope in God. God is the “author and perfecter” of our kids’ faith, and we have to put our hope in him.