This Sunday, the world will celebrate mothers. Not all of us get to be mothers (certainly not I!), but everybody, at some point, has had a mother. In the church, many congregations celebrate this Sunday as Christian Family Sunday. What better time for God’s people to celebrate the importance of the family?
Despite what the politically correct police will tell us, the family is the core of society. As families are torn apart, the fabric of society is rent asunder. We can’t rely on government or other agencies to uphold the family; that’s the church’s job. After all, the family was God’s idea in the first place, so it makes sense that the church should uphold the family as God’s plan for humanity.
The strongest families are strong in the Lord. These are families where parents and children are engaged in a relationship with God and are growing in that relationship. The problem? In most congregations, the church has let the family down. How? By assuming that parents are already fully equipped to be and engaged as spiritual leaders in their kids’ lives.
Yet Scripture is clear in its call to parents to share God’s story with their kids: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 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” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7, NIV). Moses was talking about the Ten Commandments which he had just delivered to the wandering Israelites, but in the new covenant, it applies to us, too. Parents have a huge responsibility to be spiritual leaders in the lives of their kids.
Most parents, as I said, have not been well equipped by the church to do this. The good news is that we can stem the tide of young people who leave the church at their earliest possibility by preparing parents to be spiritual leaders for their children. We can’t wait. It needs to start now, because every day, more and more young people decide that the church, and the God it represents, are not relevant to their lives.
At St. Paul’s, Nobleton this Sunday, I’m going to tackle this issue head-on. My impetus? In 100 years, the only thing that will matter is your child’s relationship with God. It won’t matter how good a hockey player she is or how good a pianist he is. What will matter is what that child did with Jesus’ pivotal question: “Who do you say that I am?”
I’m more convinced than ever that strengthening the family for Christ is an effective way for the church to make a difference in the world. I didn’t come up with this myself, though – there’s an organization called the reThink Group, headed by Reggie Joiner, that celebrates family ministry each year at the Orange Conference. That organization, and that conference, have set my wife on fire for the family ministry that she does in her congregation. And, being in close proximity, that fire has caught me. Going Orange has already transformed hundreds of churches as they partner with parents to make a difference. And the great news? It’s a simple way to do church! Instead of adding programs, churches are streamlining their ministry with children – keeping their main children’s ministry event each week (usually Sunday morning), but putting the rest of their effort into partnering with and equipping parents to use their quality time to reach their kids for Jesus.
I’m excited about Sunday. I hope you can be there on Sunday to share the excitement! If you can’t, you’ll be able to listen to the message after mid-afternoon by going to my blog.
God’s best for your weekend, as you celebrate moms and families!