Bring the Family Back Together

I’ve been haunted by a question lately: do most people’s most pivotal spiritual experiences happen with their family or without their family?

The more and more I talk with people, the same answer I continue to get.  Most people’s most pivotal spiritual experiences happen when they are not with their family.  It happens at youth camp or youth group.  It happens off at college with a group of peers.  It happens in a one-on-one conversation with someone outside the family.

While I praise God for all of those programs and people, I also find that a disconnect from the family serves to have long-term negative effects.  When youth group becomes your place for spiritual growth, those people have a hard time growing when they aren’t in the youth group anymore.  That student moves to college, that student pastor has new students to watch over, and unfortunately, that person no longer has a spiritual mentor in his or her life.

But, they should.  Dad and Mom should be the primary evangelist and disciple-maker in that child’s life.

Most people’s most pivotal spiritual experiences happen without their family.

And we need to change that.

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“I Got All These Trees”

Our little family is growing.  Not only in number or size, but we are slowly getting things.  Our minds are growing.  One of my prayers for my children have been, “God, give them a mind to comprehend your nature and help them develop a big heart with which to love you.”

We use different types of teaching plans or Bibles with the children during family worship.  I have contended for a while that the best way to bring my kids up in the Lord is not the best church programs, but what we do in the home.  Lately, I have been retelling the Old Testament narrative over and over to the boys.  I have them repeat different elements to me, and we keep stacking more of the story each time.  They know the days of Creation, the 10 Commandments, and the big picture with the main characters involved.

Sometimes, you wonder if they are getting it, and then, you have a moment like I did last week and you remind yourself that you might be on to something.

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Courageous in Lancaster

I had the extreme privilege to go and minister with Second Baptist Church Lancaster, SC last night. They were having a “Courageous” weekend, and I got to serve their church in some really special ways.

They had a men’s only screening of Courageous on Friday night.  Sunday morning, their pastor, Brian Saxon, had preached on fatherhood.  From 4 to 6, I taught a large group of guys who gave up a Sunday afternoon nap and a football game concerning fatherhood.  We took a 5 minute potty break, but we got into God’s Word and talked about what it meant to lead our homes.

At 6, I got to preach to the entire congregation.  Adam Langley and his crew did a great job leading worship – so wonderful to be led by him!

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Preparing Families for Worship

As mentioned earlier, the role of ministers are to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12). We do expect our parents to lead their families in worship, but we partner with them by providing family worship guides to equip the parents for this endeavor. Many approaches exist for how to equip families for time spent at the family altar. Like many other churches, we provide parents with information concerning what their children have learned in church programming they have attended. In addition, we provide weekly family worship guides that correspond with what we are focusing on together as a church body.

On Thursdays, I post a family worship guide that any family, regardless of size or context, can utilize before Sunday morning’s services in order to worship together. Some families do it on Saturday nights. Some families gather around the breakfast table on Sunday morning. Others go out to the park on an afternoon. It is a simple guide that is adaptable to different family situations.

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Don’t Drop Your Kids Off at Church – Now Available!

My new book is available today!  Order Don’t Drop Your Kids Off at Church here.

Synopsis: Parents have often developed misplaced priorities when it comes to their children.  Many children in America are so busy with numerous activities that their spiritual lives are unfortunately neglected.  Our approach is to drop our children off at the best church in town which we qualify by which one has the hippest youth minister, most attended programs, and nicest facilities.  For all our efforts, children are still walking away from church once they leave the nest.  There is another way.  Don’t drop your kids off at church — bring them home to it.

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