As we finish up our series on “Growing Deep Roots: Communication for Faith Formation at Home”, we want to look at receiving Christ into our home through the strategies of Faith Talks, God Moments and Celebrations.
These strategies were shared with me by Pastor Brian Haynes at a conference for children’s pastors in 2011 where he outlined these strategies for use in the home. If you would be interested in a deeper look at these strategies, check out his book Shift which is available at Amazon in both paper and ebook form. All the information we will cover comes from the lecture I attended and this book.
Faith Talks – Topical, pre-planned (intentional) talks built around Scripture that involve the whole family.
For instance, perhaps there’s been some unforgiveness happening around your home. This is a perfect chance for you to say to the family on Monday, “Hey guys on Friday night we are going out for pizza and we’re going to talk about forgiveness. Can each of you find a Bible verse about forgiveness and bring it that night? Susie, since you don’t read yet, can you draw a picture about forgiveness? Mom and I will bring some ideas and questions too.” That, my friends, is a Faith Talk. They require a little bit of work from each family member and guidance from the parents to teach a specific spiritual point. What are some topics your home might benefit from having a faith talk on right now?
God Moments –Unplanned and spontaneous and should only take a moment or two to discuss.
God moments are unplanned and a great example of this is found in, you guessed it, Deuteronomy 6. When you are sitting and you are rising, walking down the road, etc. are perfect opportunities to seize a God moment.
One of my favorite God Moments happened to me when I was driving my girls to school and heard a report on the radio about the tornadoes that tore through Moore, Oklahoma. It really affected my girls and we talked about God’s provision and protection in some pretty candid ways.Their takeaway from that conversation was that they were the hands and feet of Christ and it was up to them to do something for the kids that lost all their toys in the tornado.
Fast forward one month and they had spearheaded a campaign that collected over a ton of new or gently-used toys to send to Moore (free because Fed Ex donated shipping) along with hundreds of hand-written notes that said, “God loves you” and a box full of Bibles. All from one God moment seized.
Don’t underestimate the power of a single God Moment in your child’s life. My kids still remember that powerful experience and I know it had a huge impact on their faith formation
Celebrations – Powerful communicators that say, “Something important just happened and WE noticed!”
We celebrate successes, birthdays, new birth, achievements and new adventures all the time in life. What if we did that in our spiritual life? Celebrations are a great way to say, “We have seen you grow in your faith and we are excited for you!” Celebrations can be big deals like Rites of Passage celebrations for 13 year olds and high school graduates or quick celebrations like a dance party for a son who acted kindly and showed God’s love or for a daughter who wrote a poem that shared spiritual truth.
There are all kinds of things to celebrate! First communion, our salvation experience, first time to serve in church, first time to share a testimony, being gracious to friends, any kind of spiritual growth at all can be and should be celebrated. (For more on the importance of celebration, click here)
And that brings us full circle, from the seed of an acorn to a healthy tree with deep healthy roots.
Our interactions at home and how we communicate the metanarrative of Scripture to our kids will have lasting effects. We are either communicating the importance of our faith or the unimportance of it. Our kids need to see, hear, touch, feel, and taste Jesus and they do that when they are with you. Be their church.
This blog is Part 5 in a five part series on “Growing Deep Roots: Communication for Faith Formation at Home.” For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more family-focused ministry at your church, go to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page.
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at ChildrensMinistryBlog.com.