At my church last week we started a new sermon series called "Faith at Home". Very generally speaking, it is directed towards making Faith about more than Sunday mornings at the church. The key Biblical passage comes from Joshua:
"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
The series fits well with a new program that is going to be starting tonight called - surprisingly enough - Faith at Home Family Groups. It is going to be a family discipleship class that will meet as a large group and then break into a number of smaller groups. Tracy and I have volunteered our family to serve as facilitators for a small group. While I am excited about it, I am also a little nervous for the program as a whole and for us as a family.
Personally, I think the idea is fantastic. We have historically had a number of small groups meeting after dinner on Wednesday nights, but they have not included kids in the groups. The kids had their own place to go. So this will be a significant change.
I did not grow up in a church. I had lots of friends that were active in their churches, and we usually attended VBS, but that was it. In high school I once decided that I should read the Bible, kind of like I should read Shakespeare or Dickens. I tried, for a while, but I never got into it and never made it very far. Despite not growing up in a church, my parents did an amazing job instilling strong values and an openness and willingness to listen and accept. I would not be the person that I am without the way that they raised me. I never felt like I was missing anything by not being involved in a church, and I don't think that I would change any of it. I'm not sure that I would feel as strongly as I do about my Faith without that background and having come to my Faith in the way that I did.
But, that being said, I know how my life is different now that I have begun to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. As I said to a bunch of teens in Atlanta a few months ago - Now I get it. I wish I got it earlier. I wasted 30 years of my life not getting it.
I want to share that with my kids. I want to help to lead them to a place where they get it and where they develop their own relationship with Christ. Hopefully I am modeling that at home, but traditionally, in my case, a lot of that process has been left to Sunday School teachers and Directors of Children's Ministries and the like. All those people play an incredible role, but it just makes a lot of sense to me to bring it into the house. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
As I said above, I am also a little nervous about this. I'm nervous for the program as a whole - how many people will participate, how well will it be received, are a lot of people going to be upset that there is no longer a place to put there kids while they participate in adult groups? I'm also nervous about being a facilitator. While I think we are doing ok with bringing our Faith into our home, there are probably a lot of better role models out there. I have to remind myself every day of Luke 16:13 - "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." We are going to be experimenting and exploring and trying to figure this all out as much as any other family is.
I guess, more than anything, I just wanted to share today my feelings about this new program that we are going to be trying. I have high hopes that it will help Tracy and I to be better parents and better models of our Faith to our children and to help them in the process of developing their own Faith. I'm not particularly interested in force feeding my Faith to anyone - let alone my kids - but I am very interested in trying to help others - particularly my kids - to develop their own Faith.