Psalm 127 is what commentators call a “song of ascents.” As the people of God would ascend the hill into Jerusalem and ascend the stairs into the place of worship, the priests would sing this song over the worshipers upon their journey:
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late rest, eating the bread of anxious toil (Ps. 127:1-2).
As the people of God converged at the place of worship, the spiritual leaders were singing: “It really doesn’t matter what happens when you gather here if you neglect the LORD when you are at home.” Much of the temple’s and the home’s success were contingent upon one another.
The elders of North Side are singing the same song.
While we may not be lined up in the parking lot on Sundays actually vocalizing, that is the tune with which we are leading.
- There are certain churches who realize that parents are not leading in the home and decide to do all the work of ministry on the church campus.
- There are other churches who take away all age-based programming and force parents to do their job.
Our approach will be different. We believe that the home and the church are vital to discipleship. That’s why the plan involves synergy between both groups. Our desire is to equip you to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12) in your home.
The most critical spiritual environment is the one in which you live.
Our plan is to equip the home and align church programming for the most effective discipleship of all generations.
In the following weeks, we will reveal a plan for our church going forward. It is not a perfect plan, but we believe it to be a biblical, simple, and thorough strategy as we attempt to disciple in the way the Word instructs us. Here is how all of these components in the home and in the church come together.
The first step is to equip parents to evangelize and disciple their children.
We believe that if we did nothing else but this one initiative that this plan would be successful. We believe that it is extremely disadvantageous to bring children to church without allowing Christ to change your home. Too many young adults are walking away from the church because they never witnessed a change within their own family. If the home becomes the most natural place for discipleship, faith will become a way of life rather than a mere extracurricular activity.
The second component is to enhance church programming to supplement home discipleship.
North Side has always benefited from great preschool, children’s, student, and adult ministries. What we have lacked in the past is continuity between them. In the past, they have succeeded operating within “ministry silos.”
- What would happen if our programs supplemented what happened in the home?
- What could take place if our programs were unified across the board?
Our desire is that new parents would understand our 18-year strategy to partner with them in the process of discipling their child and watching him or her become a disciple-maker over the years. In order for this to become a reality, some things need to be tweaked and some things need to be completely revamped.
The third part of this plan intends to engage family-based needs through awareness and training.
While we pray and work for God’s ideal, unfortunate circumstances can hit a home and ambush a family. We will not leave you in the ashes. We do not believe that your story is over. Your church wants to come alongside you, love you, care for you, disciple you, and help you work through these issues. While the needs are great and ever-growing, we have a plan concerning how we can engage these issues.
Here are some important dates for you to remember:
- Sunday, July 19 4-6PM in the FLC – Workers’ Meeting – If you work in the preschool, children’s, or student ministries, we want to share all the details with you as we get ready for our Fall launch. If you are interested in serving but aren’t yet, this would be a great meeting for you to join.
- Sunday, August 2 in AM services – Family Ministry Presentation – In our Sunday morning services, we are going to share the entire vision as we go forward. In addition to the presentation, we are going to hand out a magazine so you can digest all the information.
- Sunday, August 9 6PM in the FLC – Member Meeting – We will gather together for a member meeting and further unpack some of the agenda items as we go forward. We will also have a baptism and fellowship time that evening.
- Sunday, August 16 – Family Ministry Relaunch – On this Sunday, our new programming and new tools to equip the home will go live!
Be praying. I can’t wait to see all that God does when we obey what he is calling us to do in our homes and with the church.
Hear, O Israel: the LORD your God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall team them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.