23 Jan Connecting Church and Home
If you know me at all , you’ve heard me say that the model of leaving the faith development of children completely up to the church is flawed and out of date. It’s flawed for many reasons, but the most glaring one is because we only have your kids once a week – at best.
Growing faith at home does not require parents to be experts. It takes an intentional focus, and a true understanding of why we are called to take this so seriously. The book “Connecting Church & Home” by Tim Kimmel highlights the importance of communicating the why behind the four “keys” that we talk about so often– and without the “why,” those “four keys” simply become more for us to do in an already-busy life. Or, as Kimmel writes, they can become tools for getting the best spiritual behavior out of our kids without building a “spiritual disposition.”
Kimmel reminds us that all it is all a matter of the heart. When one of the Pharisees tested Jesus about which was the “greatest commandment,” Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.” All of the spiritual tools – or “keys” I’ve talked about will only bring on a conversion of the head unless we parent our kids and nurture their faith out of a place of grace. And what God is calling us to is a conversion of the heart.
How can we grow kids who love God with all their hearts? Kimmel writes that God’s “transforming work of grace is the factor that most determines the ambience between people’s hearts.” In other words, when you allow God’s grace to work through you it will prepare your kids to hear and receive the Gospel. When God’s grace is our starting point, it’s the spark that ignites the faith of our family.
So where do our “four keys” come in – and how do we use these tools so that they don’t become methods of “sin management” or grades on our spiritual report cards? Well first of all, give yourself grace, and remember that it’s a simple as loving Jesus, and the transforming power of that love flowing through us.
And pray – pray for God to change your heart, to change your “want tos” – to make you WANT to love Him above all things. And then let the “keys” become the strategies you use to get there. Because you can’t sustain a relationship with God without prayer, and it’s difficult to hear God or remain obedient without regular time in the Bible, and when you love Jesus, you can’t help but love and serve your neighbor. And when you experience a fresh infusion of faith, you can’t help but talk about it. And right there, we’ve hit all four keys. God bless you all Good.
Director of Family Ministry and Communication