In Hilaire Lam’s life group, kids grow and bond together—right alongside their parents. And the group wouldn’t have it any other way! That wasn’t always the case though. Take a trip back in time, you’d see a group of parents trying to navigate two big barriers to coming to life group: child care and dinner.


At one point, parents in Hilaire’s life group struggled to choose between skipping life group to stay home and watch their kids, or leaving their kids behind with a sitter. And while having a kid-free life group was certainly less distracting, Hilaire soon realized that having kids there could actually cause everyone to flourish more—even parents! “Parents are more relaxed when they know their kids are in the other room,” says Hilaire. “I think adults connect better with each other when their whole family is together.”


So parents in the group decided to chip in each week to hire a person to watch their kids in an adjoining room. They started to feel a big difference as a result. “Even if they are in another room playing, they are bonding with the other kids,” says Hilaire. “Every week at Grace, I see these relationships growing as the kids grow. This is precious.” The peace of mind it brings to parents having their kids nearby is also a big benefit. “There’s something about breaking bread together as a family with our extended life group family,” says Hilaire, “which is really important to connecting.”


Speaking of bread, that’s another thing Hilaire’s group is big on. Each week, they share dinner together for the first 45 minutes of life group. It means parents don’t have to skip life group because they want to be able to eat dinner with their kids. The key to making these dinners happen? Simplicity. Hilaire says, “We do a straight forward pasta night where we rotate the sides and sauce. In the end, I try not to stress it. If it is jar sauce, that’s okay!”


At Hilaire’s life group, kids do come in from time to time and interrupt, but she says they don’t let that stop the conversation. “The kids need to see us talking and discussing the Bible,” says Hilaire, “I believe their interruptions are reducing their barriers to joining a life group when they grow up too.”


These days, Hilaire is a big advocate for parents bringing their children along to life group. “Kids can get a lot out of it, and make many life-altering connections in the group,” she says. “I also think life groups are where older children can find mentors outside of their parents. These relationships are extremely important!”
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