How You Can Make Christ the Center of Your Family
- Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Taking your kids to church is a good way for them to learn about Christ. But one or two hours a week in Sunday School or a worship service isn’t nearly enough for them to connect to Him. If you want your kids to have strong faith that lasts, you need to nurture it at home by making Christ the center of your family.
Here’s how you can make Christ the center of your family:
Get real. Don’t waste time or energy trying to keep up an image of perfection. Admit that your family – like all families in our fallen world – is sometimes dysfunctional. Realize that God loves you and everyone in your family just as you are, and that He wants to help you all grow and flourish. Decide to trust in His unlimited strength rather than your own efforts.
Give God 100 percent. Understand that if you want God’s power to flow through all aspects of your family members’ lives, you’ve all got to be wholeheartedly committed to Him. Don’t settle for anything less than the best – making God your top priority. Live out your faith 24/7 rather than just on Sunday mornings. Do life God’s way instead of your way.
Be patient. Expect that life will get messy when God gives your family a makeover. Give God time to make the changes your family needs so they’ll take root the way they should. Remember that the end result is worth it.
Bless your home. Gather everyone in your home and walk through it room by room to declare that yours is a household that will serve Christ. Stop in each room to pray for God to bless your life together there. For example, in the kitchen you could pray for God to help you be hungry for the right things in life, to bless your conversations there, and to remind you to be thankful for His daily provision for you.
Create a family mission statement. Discuss what values are most important to you as parents, reach agreement with your spouse, then discuss those values with your kids and seek their input. Then write down a statement to guide and direct you as a family.
Model faith for your kids. Know that studies show the top two influences in children’s faith development are their mothers and fathers. Understand that you wield much more influence than any church program or ministry does, and their your kids’ faith is likely to reflect your faith. Realize that if you want your kids to have a faith that impacts their critical life decisions, you need to show them how to trust God for decisions in your own life. Let them see and hear you pray. Share your struggles and joys openly and honestly. Assess where you are in your personal faith journey, and strive to model the kind of relationship that you’d like your kids to have with Christ. Move from having knowledge about God in your head to establishing a personal relationship with Him in your heart. Read, meditate on, and study the Bible regularly. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your life in a fresh way each day. Participate in church and build meaningful relationships with fellow believers.
Talk about faith with your kids. Don’t wait for rare times when you can schedule a formal discussion with your kids about spiritual matters. Instead, incorporate talks about faith into your normal activities. When you’re driving in the car, pray together for the event you’re headed to next. When your kids are sick, use the time to watch a video that naturally leads to a faith discussion. At bedtime, talk about that day’s highs and lows and pray about what’s on the schedule for the next day. Before meals, express your thanks to God together – not just for the food, but for other gifts He’s given you lately as well. On vacation, visit another church and discuss the experience together. Share devotions as a family. Do a service project together. Continually repeat God’s basic truths to your kids so the principles will sink in over time. Accept your children completely for who they are and offer them unconditional love. Celebrate the unique talents God has given them, and encourage them to follow God’s plans for their lives – rather than just your own plans for them. Intentionally involve yourself in your kids’ worlds. Realize that talking about faith with your kids should be a never-ending dialogue.
Tap into the great resource of your elders. Make use of opportunities you have to benefit from the wisdom of your parents, other extended family members, and elderly friends. Realize that these veterans of life have much to offer you and your family. Invite them to participate in your life as actively as possible. Seek their guidance when you’re facing challenging situations. Ask them to pray for your family regularly, and keep them updated with specific prayer requests and news of how God is answering their prayers. Encourage each of your kids to find a mentor to support them in their spiritual journey.
Relate to church in a healthy way. Don’t just drop your kids off at church and show up to pick them up later. Attend and participate yourself. Don’t expect church staff or volunteers to instill faith in your kids. Instead, view the church as a partner that will equip you to do that job yourself. Don’t just visit the church sporadically or on special occasions like Christmas and Easter. Immerse yourself in it. Become active in church ministries, build relationships with people in the congregation, and use your gifts to serve others in the church. Discover and use your spiritual gifts and help each of your family members do the same. Realize that the more you devote yourself to living out your faith, the more God will bless you – and your family.
Adapted from Faith Begins at Home copyright 2005 by Mark Holmen. Published by Regal Books, from Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., 1-800-4-GOSPEL, www.regalbooks.com.
Mark Holmen has worked with families for more than 15 years, serving as a youth and family pastor in three congregations. He has been a national consultant, speaker, trainer, and author for the Youth and Family Institute, and currently serves as the senior pastor of Ventura Missionary Church in Ventura, Ca. In addition to serving his own congregation, Mark helps other congregations equip the home to be the primary place where faith is nurtured.
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