For years, Jenifer and I have been challenging families in our church to become more intentional in bringing their faith into their homes. The reality is that while many church-going families are good about introducing their kids to church activity, they are not so good at showing how Christ wants to make a difference in every aspect of life. What many families are left with is kids who are connected to church but who don't have a life-changing relationship with Jesus. And once they leave home (and the comfortable church life they once knew), they are prone to wander.
So over the years, one of our core messages has been that the church has a minimal influence on kids when compared to the potential of an intentional, discipling parent. In fact, this reality is Biblical. Ephesians 6:4 instructs fathers (and more broadly, parents) to bring up their children "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." That means spiritual training and discipleship is a parent's job, not the church's.
For parents who are worried about the spiritual lives of their children, quit looking to the church and start looking in the mirror.
Whenever I teach something like this, I am immediately humbled. Because I, like many other parents before me, don't do such a good job at this. I once wrote about this in a post I called Confessions of a Family Minister. The reality is that knowing the right thing to do and doing the right thing are two very different things. Living an authentic Christian life, teaching our kids the Truth, having spiritual conversations, etc. don't come easy for many of us. It can lead us to want to give up on the whole thing.
But there is hope....
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a ministry tool that addresses this very struggle. Called HomePointe, it is designed to resource and help families as they build intentionally spiritual homes. Unlike most church activities you might think of, this model is designed to be more "resource" than "program." At it's foundation is the church providing guidance, help, and tools to help families to do exactly what God has called them to. Home Depot's old catchphrase comes to mind: "You can do it...we can help."
For the past 18 months, we have been planning and praying about how and when to launch this minstry at Johnson Ferry. November 11, 2012 is the date.
Johnson Ferry's HomeLife Center will be a "one stop shopping" location for resources that will make it both easy and likely for you to pass on your faith to the next generation. People from all walks of life, including single adults, young marrieds, large and small families, empty-nesters, and everybody in between can find help and direction for whatever issues they are facing.
Located in the JF atrium at the top of the grand staircase, The HomeLife Center will have sort of a "home under construction" vibe, with a variety of tools to meet a variety of needs. Some of the things you'll find there include:
The Family Assessment...An easy to use tool that enables any adult (young, old, married and single) to evaluate how they are doing in building an intentional, Christ-centered family.
Resources for the Current Campaign...Every 120 days, HomeLife will champion a value for the families of JF, giving them resources to implement faith at home. Examples might include: Praying as a Family, Serving Together, Passing on a Blessing, Understanding Individual Strengths, Marriage, etc.
Foundations...Individual resources that deal with a variety of issues and life stages that JF people are facing. Each has a brief essay, a list of recommended resources, and information on current JF ministries that address the issue.
Nuts and Bolts...Concise documents that summarize what your kids are learning at Johnson Ferry. (When you ask your kids what they learned at church, you'll have a comeback to their grunts.)
Blueprints...Simple and fun “I can do this right away” activities for families to integrate their faith into home.
HomeLife Registration...The ability to “sign-up” for regular electronic delivery of encouragement and tools to help integrate faith into home life.
And much, much more...
The bottom line is that we are thrilled to partner with you as you build a strong family, no matter what life-stage your family currently finds itself. It will be here in about two months, but for now, here's how you can help us to make the HomeLife Center a tool that God can use for BIG things:
PRAY. As we continue to create the HomeLife tools, we need God's leadership. Various members of our church staff are working as we speak to refine the messages and resources. Please join with us in praying that the right help finds its way into the hands of the right people.
SHARE. Please help us to spread the word about this project. Good buzz is always a good thing.
VOLUNTEER. We are in the process of recruiting HomeLife "Hosts" who will hang out at the Center between Sunday services and on Wednesday nights. If this ministry intrigues you (or if you are someone who this powerfully resonates with because you are way ahead of the rest of us), then we would love to hear from you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a small information packet that describes the "Host" roll.
I don't want to sound overzealous on this, but the HomeLife center just might be the most important and valuable church project that I have ever given my life to. Why? Because it is more than just a big event that the church offers and then packs away until next time. Instead, it is coming alongside families day-by-day in the process of making disciples and leaving a biblically-based and Spirit-filled legacy to the next generation.
That's what I want for my kids (and grand kids) and I hope it's what you want for yours. Let's do it together. Again...you can do it...we can help.
Watch for more on HomeLife in the coming weeks.
If you want to see how other churches are using this tool, go to Drivefaithhome.com. There are a few excellent videos you can find on the "Model Overview" link.