Steps Towards Living as a Family on Mission: Part 2

Lord of the Sabbath_T_nvFirst, checkout Steps Towards Living as a Family on Mission: Part 1 from Monday, March 3rd!

3. Family Meetings – Family meetings with 5 children can be very interesting, but are extremely important to the dynamics of our family. It is significant to include your entire family on important decisions – giving them ownership and responsibility in the decision-making process. Whether it is a weekly or monthly meeting, it is good to get everybody in the same room to talk through life, liberty, and the pursuit of family on mission. This can be an exciting, high-energy time together or serious conversations in regards to important decisions. The biggest key is to be intentional when getting everybody together.

4. Serving Together – Each of us has our strengths when it comes to serving in the community or local church. But what if we were to find a specific area where our entire family could serve collectively? Maybe this is within your church’s children’s ministry or at the local soup kitchen. The key is to find somewhere where the majority of your family is able to serve together. With young kids this can often be extremely difficult. In that case, it may mean baking cookies and passing them out within your neighborhood or making a meal for the local fire station. Whatever this looks like, it is important for our kids to understand how to show the love of Christ to others.

5. Worship Together – I understand why churches keep children and adults separate during Sunday morning worship services, but I wish there were more space created for our families to be able to worship together. It is important for our kids to see a true heart of worship. So often I have experienced community groups that completely segregate all ages. In other words, the kids go in one room while the parents attempt to study the Bible or watch a video. I understand the purpose behind this, but what if we changed our focus, brought the entire family together, and studied God’s Word collectively? Imagine the impact this could have on our kids when they are older!

Again, don’t miss hear me. I believe there is a time and place for children and adults to experience their own worship service, but I also see incredible value in the entire family worshipping together. I understand how chaotic it can be to have kids in a worship service, but what a beautiful picture that paints for the future generations! Jesus talked a lot about bringing the children unto Him. He did not want the kids in a separate room, but instead, right at His feet! What if we created space for our children to sit at the feet of Jesus, right alongside the entire family?

From daily rhythms to worshipping together, it is important for us to catch the vision of living as a family on mission! I will repeat what I wrote yesterday – I am nowhere near perfect when it comes to implementing these 5 steps, but God is challenging me in incredible ways to become the father and husband He has called me to be! Intentionality is huge in regards to all 5 of these areas. If we are not intentional with our time, energy, and resources, it is going to be difficult to maintain purpose in our mission as a family.

I hope these words bring encouragement to you! I would love to hear some of the practical things your family has put in place to strive after living as a family on mission.

Steps Towards Living as a Family on Mission: Part 1

Lord of the Sabbath_T_nvAmidst the chaos and craziness of our lives, we cannot miss the importance of our own families! God has a plan and purpose for each one of our families that goes far beyond anything we could imagine. His desire is to see us live as a family on mission.

While I believe this and agree with it 100%, I often struggle implementing it at a practical level. Over the next couple of days, I want to share 5 key steps towards living as a family on mission. Our family is nowhere near perfecting this, but God is teaching us purpose and intentionality in regards to living out our calling as a family.

1. Daily Rhythms – I completely understand how crazy our day-to-day lives can become. With work, ministry, sports, school, and of course the required 8 hours of sleep that I am sure we all would love to have, life can become extremely hectic! This does not include the surprise visits from our in-laws, medical emergencies, or septic tank overflows that keep us from having regularly scheduled lives.

With that being said, getting into a daily routine of bible study, prayer, and devotion are vital to our spiritual growth – both at a personal level and in regards to our family as a whole. What are you doing to encourage spiritual growth within your family on a daily basis? How are you truly becoming the pastor of your home? I would love to say our family is successful at a daily routine of spiritual development, but this is where we struggle the most. In a perfect world, I would love to sit down with my wife and children, open up God’s Word, and pray together as a family every single evening. This is the biggest area of conviction for me personally – to become the spiritual leader of my home on a daily basis – to live a life that my kids would desire to imitate – to be the one my children come to for wisdom, prayer, and spiritual advice.

Daily rhythms can also include eating together as a family – whether it be for breakfast or dinner, building excitement around bedtime routines, or even something as simple as the first few moments mom or dad get home from work.

As parents, God’s desire is for us to become the pastors of our homes. This begins with prioritizing our schedule around a daily rhythm that creates room for spiritual growth on a daily basis.

2. Weekly & Monthly SabbathsMark 2:27-28 says, 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus not only desires us to experience rest, He is the Lord of rest. All we have to do is go back to the creation story to see the importance of rest. After working for 6 full days, God rested on the 7th day. As a family we must also experience a day away from the craziness of life.

For the Euler family, a weekly Sabbath often involves a movie, popcorn, and pillow tent in the living room. There are times it is also surrounding Catan, Farkle (some crazy dice game), or a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. Rest does not always mean you do nothing, but it does mean you are intentional about spending quality time as a family. I would encourage you to include your entire family in the decision-making process of a weekly Sabbath. What do your kids enjoy doing? What activity would include your entire family?

It is also important to set aside time monthly as a family – whether this is a trip to the beach for a day or a trip to a local them park for a weekend, it is important to escape the hustle and bustle of your daily and weekly routine. Families can easily build excitement and suspense with their monthly Sabbath. It can either be something that everybody knows about and is looking forward to with anticipation or something you build suspense and excitement towards. No matter how you play it out, never lose sight of the intentionality behind the planning!

Don’t miss Tuesday’s blog when I wrap up the 5 Key Steps Towards Living as a Family on Mission!

Reblog: Youth Ministry Extinction Plan

Christ Centered Student Ministry Notes – Although I do not totally agree with this author, I love the theme and much of what he has to say!  As a father, I pray my kids see a great example of Christ in me!  As a youth pastor, without the partnership of parents, I am failing at my job, failing the family as a whole, and ultimately failing to live out God’s calling on my life!

Why We Need a Youth Ministry Extinction Planby Kent Evans

I love and respect the work youth pastors do. However, I hope to help make their role obsolete during my lifetime.

To all the youth pastors who wish they could write this post and not lose their job, you are welcome.

I love and respect the work youth pastors do. However, I hope to help make their role obsolete during my lifetime.

Then, these talented individuals can move onto easier ministry work like curing poverty or ridding the globe of suffering. Child’s play to a battle-tested youth pastor.

I’m a father of a youth-ministry-aged son, and here’s what I know: I and other fathers like me have a responsibility (a sacred opportunity, really) to shape our sons and daughters into godly men and women. We will be accountable for how well we held up our end of this deal.

Granted, our children will need to choose the right path later. We won’t be on the hook for every decision they make into adulthood. But, we must set them on as level a course as possible.

But, you know what too many of us do?

We turn this work over to the church.

We believe our job is to drop them off on time and let the youth pastor instill godly character. And most folks in youth ministry feel like they are swimming against a tsunami of slack parenting (there, I said it).

In two hours a week, we expect them to unwind the ill effects of the other 166.

In fact, some youth ministries essentially (but unintentionally) discourage parents from volunteering in the ministry. They don’t quite know what to do with a parent who wants to engage and walk alongside their child through this crucial life stage. They look at parents like a dog looks at a fork.

And I don’t blame them for it, I sympathize with them! We men have taken such a slack approach to fathering that we have forced them to play a role they were never meant to play: surrogate parent to our children.

I think I speak on behalf of a new generation of fathers who are taking their role seriously when I say this: We apologize for putting you in that position. We will do better in the future. Invite us to play key roles in your ministry, we will come alongside you and do our part.

I hope, in my lifetime, we witness the extinction of the youth pastor role. Not because these people aren’t doing heroic work. But because the rightful owners of this role stood up and filled it.

When I’m old and gray, I want to be taking my kids to the National Museum of Youth Ministry. I want to walk past wax statues of men and women who once played that role like the telephone switchboard operator or the ice-block delivery guy.

There will be a wing dedicated to the youth pastors at my home church—they are tireless kingdom workers.

“See boys, that there is what we used to call a ‘youth pastor’! These amazing men and women of God stood up and filled a huge gap during a crucial time in our history. Those brave souls accomplished their mission and performed mighty deeds for The Lord! They also ate a lot of pizza.”

“What happened to them, Gramps?”

“Fathers happened to them, son. Fathers happened.”