Imagine that the floor in your house is an ice rink. The furniture is held in place because it is frozen into the ice. You’ve had some friends tell you that your life would be more efficient and more functional if you moved a few pieces around but it takes a lot of work to move things, even a little bit. But then you hear of a warming trend headed your way. For a few brief moments, the ice will melt and even though it will be messy, it will allow for you to move things to new places much more easily than before. However, you know you have a short window before things start to freeze again so you strategically plan your moves, make the most of the opportunity, and wade through the mess to bring about change.
This is not my story or my analogy. I “borrowed” it from Dr. Marilyn Elliot, Vice President of Community Formation for Asbury Theological Seminary. She shared this story with a group of incoming students and families that I happened to be a part of in what is famously known on campus as the “transition talk.” She compared times of transition to the experience above saying that even though things are messy, transition provides us the opportunity to make changes to our life and our routine that are often hard to change in “normal” life.
With the dawning of the New Year, the ground in our lives is a little less “frozen.” The atmosphere of celebrating new beginnings, reevaluating present actions, and leaving behind past mistakes allows us to move things around a bit in our own lives, our families and our ministries.
Below are 5 family ministry areas that can be encouraged as we look at how to grow our homes and ministries throughout the next year.
1. Intentional Modeling – All the good intentions in the world cannot take the place of real-life action. We need to seek to see God in the everyday and talk about it with our kids, our volunteers, our church families, and our community so that they too will have the opportunity to do the same. If we are encouraging someone to do something with their kids or spouse or ministry,we want to make sure we are actively doing the same, with intention and purpose.
2. Faith Focus – I’ve always been amazed how God will take our mustard seed of faith and grow it to one that can move mountains when we place our trust in Him. We can walk in that kind of faith as we approach growing our family ministry at church and discipling kids at home; faith that says, “I’m not sure how this is going to work God, but I’m putting my trust in You and moving forward.”
3. Failing Forward – I hate failing. It bothers me; I don’t like it. But I know that I do it and when I do, I have the choice to let it drag me down or push me forward. This year we can let our failures be springboards forward, lessons we learn that lead us closer to God and His call on our lives rather than weights that pull us down. And we can celebrate with others when they do the same by extending grace and mercy and cheering them on as they learn.
4. Baby Steps – Lots of times the reason I fail is because I try to run before I walk. Transition and change are not things that can be rushed. Praying and planning are important parts of the process. Whether it be the weekend away with Mom I’m planning with my oldest daughter or the parent seminars I’m starting at church; each change needs to be approached with care and prayer and baby steps of change.
5. Sincere Celebration – Over the past year, I have become acutely aware of the power of celebration in our lives. The joy in the eyes of others when you stop to celebrate their good grade, their act of kindness, their new tooth, their achieved goal is surprising. I believe we need celebration just like we need love. Studies show that living a life of celebration and gratitude leads to longer lives, better sleep, greater health and stronger relationships. We need to stop in the middle of our busy lives and recognize the goodness around us. God is in the good, in the light, in the joy and we need more of it!
What about you?
What needs moved around in your life or your family or your ministry? Is this the year you start moving towards more intentional discipleship focus at home? Perhaps you’ve been toying around with the idea of small groups or wanting to start a kids bible study? Maybe intergenerational worship is your heart or parent ministry or family devotions? Whatever it is that God has been showing you might need to “move” around, the New Year might provide just the right thaw to get things going.
I’d love to hear where God is taking you in 2015 and look forward to journeying with you.