About Growing Families

Growing Families International began in the United States, but soon spread throughout the world. Information provided here pertains to the ministry and social opportunities available, but not limited to the U.S. community of parents. We are committed to providing families and communities with parenting resources that will help instill, encourage and perpetuate the passing on of biblical values from one generation to the next.

We are staffed by volunteer parents who have been positively impacted by the material, and who wish to share it with others so they too can benefit from the principles that has brought favor to families around the world. Our ministry desire is to reach the world, one family at a time, with the timeless message of God’s love and redemption for all mankind.

Our Journey

The ministry that eventually became known as Growing Families International did not come into existence through human ingenuity. It was not an idea that moved from a scratch pad to reality, nor a social need Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo felt called to meet. Nonetheless, an empowering reformation in parent education began long before anyone knew what was happening. This is their story.

Divine appointments! No one really knows when one might take place or what it may look like. Life is going in one direction when a chance, (or divine) encounter redirects your steps in an entirely different direction. That unlikely crossing of paths with an old friend, a canceled flight, or that chance meeting on a hiking trail can each serve as the moment that changes the trajectory of your life.

For Gary and Anne Marie, such an encounter presented itself in 1984, when they agreed to meet with a young couple with a three-month-old, and a list of parenting questions. The two couples met weekly, sharing, talking, and working through parenting beliefs, priorities and practices. Soon the one couple inspired twelve others to become part of the learning experience.

Their excitement and enthusiasm attracted eighty additional couples, whose equal enthusiasm inspired two hundred, followed by six hundred, and then a thousand.

 

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Three years later a parenting reformation was spreading from continent to continent; and eventually into sixty-five countries. The various curriculums that followed were translated in twenty-eight languages, impacting over eight million household.

From that very first meeting to the present, the Ezzos’ life-giving, values based message has helped to foster a new and refreshing culture of parenting, where mothers and fathers feel informed, appreciated and empowered, and their children feel safe, valued and loved.

Today the global network has grown larger than any one couple, and new vibrant leadership teams are coming of age, carrying forward the Growing Families’ message of hope, direction and encouragement to the next generation of new parents.

Stepping in to help lead these global teams are the video cohosts Rich and Julie Young. As a teaching couple, Rich and Julie are committed to life on life relationships, one family impacting another—not by convincing words, but by the compelling witness of morally beautiful children that validate each family’s experience.

As parents of seven children, they know how to help others instill within their children meaningful family values, and virtues, and then match those noble attributes with conduct and care shown to others.

 

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Our Premises and Guildelines

The GrowingFamilies.Life teaching content is based on the belief that child-rearing is a responsibility given by God to parents. Parents are to guide, nurture, and discipline their children. This resource serves as a guide to help parents accomplish that task. The following premises and guidelines were used in putting our entire curriculum together.

1. God has a “Way”

In the first major curriculum offered to the public, (Growing Kids God’s Way) we place our emphasis on God’s Way–meaning the way of the Lord. We serve an ethical God. Moral rightness flows from His being. His ways are in accord with His unchangeable character. In short, God is absolutely perfect and His moral law is a reflection of His holy character (Psalm 19:7).

More than that, He has shown man what is good and what is required of him (Micah 6:8). We advocate learning the virtuous way of the Lord and instruct our growing children in it. Our curricula not only speaks about the goodness of God, but also offers practical steps to implement His moral precepts into the lives of children.

Therefore, it is our desire to share the practical side of God’s truth. The Scriptures put forth God’s precepts for spiritual, moral, relational and parenting success. Our humble offering to show parents the many shades of application. For example, Titus 3:2 instructs us to be courteous to all men. In the context of parenting and from a child’s perspective, what does that look like everyday?

What are the various ways in which a child can demonstrate the biblical injunction to be courteous? There are God-given principles (that comprise the way of the Lord), and there are human applications. While application may vary from child to child and family to family, even culture to culture, God’s moral precepts do not change, because there is no variance in His character (Hebrews 13:8).

2. The Three Assumptions of Revealed Truth

Although the Bible provides moral ideals, it does not provide parents with the exact how-to’s for parenting. It offers clues to child training but not a detailed blueprint that speaks to every action. Those facts are relevant to this presentation and the formation of our thoughts. All our curricula is guided by three basic assumptions.

First: The first assumption relates to the goal of parenting. It is to create a Life-giving home environment, in which children can thrive spiritually, morally and emotionally. Creating and sustaining a life-giving home environment is not something one adds to their everyday parenting routine, like adding seasoning to a bland dish. Rather, it is a cultivated lifestyle of choice.

For clarity sake, this is how we define the concept: A Life-Giving home environment is a lifestyle, cultivated by parents, that promotes the life-giving character of God, while actively avoiding language, attitudes and behaviors that assault or detract from God’s character. Therefore, what is it that God requires of us? “He has shown you O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Second: The Bible, although sufficient and authoritative, is not comprehensive. That is, it does not speak to every situation parents face during the day. It provides moral principles governing godly living but does not specifically lay out the how-to’s of training. This is where wisdom, experience, failures and success comes. It is also where a healthy community of parents play a big role. The Growing Families community is that type of community! Life-giving and helpful.

Third: The third assumption is based on the relationship of the first two. Since the goal of parenting is to produce a morally responsible and biblically responsive children, and since the Bible is not specific on how to accomplish that goal, we believe that all child-training principles, practices, methods, and theories should meet two important criteria:

a. They must advance the righteous goal of raising children (Ephesians 6:4).

b. They must be compatible with the scope of God’s Character. In contrast, any theory that detracts from, is antagonistic to, or restricts or seeks to undermine Scriptural intent, by creating contrary prohibitions and assertions will be inadequate and fall short. The methods of training must advance and compliment God’s Character.

The Growing Families’ curriculum content, is guided by the two criteria above.


Our Faith Beliefs

We believe there is one true God, manifested eternally in three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who possesses all the divine attributes and is coequal, coexistent, and coeternal with the Father. We believe in His virgin birth, that He was God incarnate (both God and man), for the purpose of revealing the Father, redeeming men and ruling over God’s Kingdom. He accomplished man’s redemption by the vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood and sacrificial death on the cross. By His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and His ascension to the right hand of the Father, the sinner is justified. We believe Jesus to be the mediator between God and man who will return in glory to judge all mankind.

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity, possessing all the divine attributes with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is the super-natural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ at the moment of conversion. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, and empowers all believers for spiritual service.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit who administers spiritual gifts to each believer for the purpose of equipping the saints and for the building up of the body of Christ.

We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and lost, the saved to eternal life and the lost to everlasting punishment.

We believe that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are placed by the Holy Spirit into the spiritual body of believers known as the church, with Christ established as the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by the teaching and instruction of the Word, by building the faith of its members, by providing an atmosphere of worship, by providing fellowship, and by fulfilling the great commission to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

We believe that man is a sinner and that the penalty for sin is eternal separation from the Father. We believe that eternal life is a free gift of grace bestowed upon each repentant sinner who responds in faith to the provision of salvation in Jesus Christ. Regeneration is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit. Genuine regeneration will manifest itself by righteous attitudes, edifying conduct, and good works to the extent that each believer submits himself to the control of the Holy Spirit.

We believe the Bible is God’s expressed declaration. It is authoritative for life and salvation and speaks with clarity to all points above. It is the Word of God (literally God-breathed), and accepted as inerrant, verbally inspired, and infallible.


About Fellowship and Association

1. Our fellowship starts with the person of Christ more than one’s creed, doctrine, opinion, or denomination. Those who are joint heirs with Christ are joint heirs with us. The oneness in Jesus Christ is greater than simply being “one of us.”

2. We consider the act of fellowship and association to be indicative of the love of Christ but fellowship does not signal a total agreement of our brother’s creed. We use our fellowship to discuss our differences, to lead or be led by the light of the Word of Christ, but we do not look at our differences to determine the rightness of fellowship nor our ranking with God.

3. We do not withdraw our fellowship from any Christian except in the case when a belief requires us to violate our conscience in order to maintain or be accepted in fellowship. We will not separate ourselves from members within God’s family any further than what they separate themselves in conduct from Christ.

4. Genuine biblical fellowship is not based on one’s perceived rightness of doctrine any more than one’s perception of a brother’s lack of knowledge. Our fellowship is based on the humility of Christ, and the love of God, not one’s treasury of Scripture knowledge.

5. Our loyalty to Christ is greater than our loyalty to a creed; our loyalty to the family of God is greater than our loyalty to the world; and our loyalty to truth is greater than our loyalty to friendship.

6. As it relates to our associations and fellowship, we want to be known more for the things we stand for than the people we stand against. Therefore we commit ourselves to unity in the essential doctrines, liberty in the non-essentials, and charity in all things.


Our Global Ministry

The Global ministry is facilitated by a number of hubs. They each have their own ministry leaders and use the Growing Families curricula to further reach families around the world.


 

 

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Dorcas Li is the Asia Pacific Region representative for Growing Families International (GFI), an international organization involved in the training and equipping of parents with the know-how and tools for biblical aligned parenting. Dorcas has been conducting parenting workshops and seminars since 1997 in Singapore and Asia. She is active in parent support groups and marriage-in-crisis support groups.

Dorcas is a “Contact Mom,” a registered GFI adviser for parents seeking help. She is a certified trainer to teach all GFI’s  eight parenting programmes that cover from infant care to teens.  Dorcas is also an accredited trainer for Triple P Program, an approved parenting program under University of Queensland. She has a Counselling Post-Grad Diploma from University of Hawaii and is a trainer for TOUCH Family Life’s ‘Parents Educator Certificate’ program. 

Dorcas has been a member of a mega church in Singapore since 1987. She has been the anchor trainer for her church’s parent equipping program since year 2000. She is the creator & trainer of a very successful Sunday school program for the 18-48 months age group.

Dorcas holds a Masters in Science and has a Diploma in Counselling. She has two daughters aged 24 & 21 years old.