By Tamara Soper
As a semi regular part of our Sunday service we have decided as a church to do a family spot, a tip, the sharing of an idea that might help you to walk away feeling supported as a family. Perhaps a gem you can lock away for future application, or just maybe a funny story that helps you to feel like you’re a “normal family” with “normal struggles” and in the end we are a family and we are in this together.
So this time I have been given the honour of sharing our very first “Family Matters Space”
What I would like to share with you is a little bit of a reality check of raising children and the importance of the church and the child’s family working together.
I believe, as many around the world are beginning to, that the days of dropping children off at “Sunday School” for their Christian upbringing has become a less and less effective way to send your children on the path of living a Christian life.
If a family is a regular Sunday morning attender at our church, and comes to church 40 weeks of the year, and children’s ministry runs for 45 min a week then the maths tells us that the Children’s ministry people have 30hrs a year to influence your children. On the other hand let’s say a school age child who when not at school is in the company of a parent so that’s about 6-8hrs per day 365 days a year so 7 times 365 we have 2555hrs a year being influenced by what you as parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and significant adults speak into a child’s life. If you add the voices of teachers then the hours skyrocket. So what is most important and what we want to do at Lakes is partner with families in raising Godly adults.
We will do our utmost to love and teach the children of this church into the kingdom of God, but one of the most important things we can do to jettison this process is to partner with families to equip them to cement these precious children’s faith.
So a tip!
Well in Deuteronomy Moses instructs the Israelites on how to teach their children about the Lord. It says in verse5-9 “5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
So what is the modern day relevant interpretation of this scripture well it might look like this?
Making it normal to talk about things of God.
I have read there are three times that we can use in our day that doesn’t require finding more time to put this principle into practice.
1 Meal times- When you sit to eat a meal together which ever that may be talk about God in what is happening in the day.
2 Drive time- turn the radio off and chat to the kids about Godly principles take the time to speak to your kids about how His word applies in the situation they are going through at school, in that relationship with a peer or sibling.
3 Bed time- ok so this may require a little more time than you are currently giving it and yes I hear you that sometimes by the end of the day you just want to say good night to the angelic little faces and get them off to bed, but please let me encourage you if you don’t already have a night prayer time please start even if it is just a bless them and keep them, if you already are in this habit can I challenge you to increase this prayer time to engage your child in prayer. Ask them what they would like to thank God for, it might be that they got to eat ice cream that day, it doesn’t matter it is opening a dialogue with their heavenly Father. Can you spend some time with them praying over an issue they shared with you earlier, or for someone, maybe it will be a time of reconciliation for you and your child because the day hadn’t quite gone as planned, we all know that feeling don’t we!
This principle of communicating the truths of God, His word, and listening to the Holy Spirit are key in training the next generation in the way they should go, and please engage other adults in the process and come and talk to me or other children’s ministry people if there is something we can help you with.
And know that if all this fails and you don’t do any of this because the meeting ran too late, you had the radio loud to drown out the screaming toddlers voice and you just needed to send them to bed on their own because you couldn’t talk to them right now, you are not a bad parent, just a normal one like me and let’s partner together as a church Family to help those raising the next generation to have more good days than not so good ones.
Don’t forget to make life fun.