Growing up, many of us were told that at the dinner table we could talk about anything but “religion, politics, and money.” I’m gonna say, “Nay!” I think we should talk about those things, as often as possible actually, but with one caveat – that we are acutely aware that our conversations, our actions and reactions, our outbursts and our willful ignorance are all being observed and absorbed into our children as part of their formation, including their faith formation.
It’s an election year in America. To pretend that it is not is a ridiculous notion. To pretend our children are unaware is just as silly. Whether we consider ourselves a politically active family or not, the reality is that our relationship to politics and our approach to political issues are a part of how we disciple our children.
In my experience, most parents and caregivers don’t view their political engagement as an opportunity to help their children know who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him. But as Christian parents and caregivers that exactly what it is! It’s not about raising good citizens or making sure our children choose the right side on partisan issues. As Christians, everything that we do including how we engage politics is informing them about who we are and how we follow Christ.
So, we most definitely SHOULD talk about politics. But first, we should pray about politics And we should most definitely ask God for wisdom and discernment as we talk about politics with our children.
At a recent seminar, a speaker who was presenting on Generation Alpha said, “This generation does not need more knowledge; they need more guides.” Our children are flush with knowledge. It comes at them from all directions. Social media, peer groups, television and movies, books and video games, and many of them hold the world wide web in their hands. Knowledge is cheap and it lacks nuance – it is not wisdom. Our children need us to guide them through the onslaught of knowledge into a path of wisdom and squarely to the heart of Christ.
In 2020, during the last election year, a pastor friend of mine challenged his social media friends to create a political rule of life. A rule of life is a commitment to live your life in a particular way (Read more here). It’s an intentional approach to life, written out and designed to help a person to, as Paul would say,”live a life worthy of the calling we’ve received.” (Eph. 4:1-6). Back in 2020, I took my friend’s challenge. I prayerfully and intentionally set out to write a political rule of life for how I would engage with politics in that year and how I would endeavor to help my children do the same. I have copied mine below to hopefully serve as inspiration for you to do the same.
Remember, our actions, inactions, and reactions are all part of how our children learn to engage with the world and with their faith. It is all discipleship.
We are not always gifted the opportunity to think before we act or react, but this is an opportunity to do just that. Before the ads ramp up and the lines get drawn and the vitriol and anger that seem to dominate our political landscape today gets turned up to full volume – let’s pause – let’s pray – and let’s create an intentional commitment to live in such a way that we guide our children through knowledge to wisdom.
Wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17
POLITICAL RULE OF LIFE by Christina Embree, January 2020
- God alone will receive my allegiance, loyalty and service and I will seek first His kingdom and its righteousness on earth as it is in heaven (Luke 4:8, Mat. 6:33, Mat. 6:10)
- My attitudes, behaviors, and support in regard to questions of politics, government, and social systems will be those that bring about justice, mercy, and humility (Mic. 6:8). My actions and interactions with every person will reflect the active pursuit of peace and answer the call to turn from evil and do good (Ps. 34:14).
- I will fear God, respect everyone, love the family of believers, and respect the government and laws of the land, in that order. (I Pet. 2:17).
- I will work for the peace and prosperity of the land in which I live; I will pray to the Lord for it and for those who lead it (Jer. 29:7, I Tim. 2:1).
VBS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY? YES!
Vacation Bible School is often one of the highlights of the church year. It’s fun! It’s loud! It’s got snacks! But over the years, more and more churches have been wondering, “Has VBS run its course? Is it effective? Are we reaching our community?”
Let’s imagine a different kind of VBS.
Imagine the entire family moving through a faith experience together; playing games, building crafts, maybe even a short parent training on faith formation at home… all happening at one of your cherished church events – VBS!!
Now imagine a tool that helps make it all possible. Welcome to the Family VBS Curriculum Adapter!
This resource will go LIVE on Thursday, February 1, 2024. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for ways to purchase!
Welcoming all ages into worship spaces together can be an incredible blessing but it is not without challenges. One concern is that including younger generations simply means including them in the space but without including them in actively participating with the worship experience and larger church community.
What are some ways that we can help all ages to actively engage in worship together, in community sharing, and corporate gatherings?
ReFocus is hosting this online roundtable discussion for anyone interested in exploring how to cultivate an intergenerational actively-engaged church and how active participation vs. passive observation can inform our approaches to intergenerational faith community.
About the Author
Christina Embree is the founder and director of ReFocus Ministry. She holds a masters in ministry focused on Children, Youth, and Family Ministry and a doctorate in spiritual formation with a focus on age segregation and intergenerational ministry. In addition to coaching churches of multiple denominations and traditions all around the globe, Christina serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship for the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ and as a pastor at Plowshares Brethren in Christ in Lexington, Kentucky. She is widely recognized as a speaker and author in the areas of generational discipleship, intergenerational ministry, and family ministry. As the mother of three children, she is familiar with the challenges of faith at home and pastoral ministry. She along with her husband Luke share a love for the church, their community, and the global work of peace and restoration through Jesus.
Interested in having Christina visit your church, speak at your conference, or coach your team? Christina speaks on a wide range of topics related to children, youth, and family ministry with a unique focus on connecting generations for discipleship within your church. Her personalized approach allows you to pinpoint the needs of your community and gain the insight that you are looking for. Whether this is a volunteer team training and pastoral staff meeting or a ministerial conference, her experience and knowledge will help you determine the next step forward in creating lifelong disciples.