I recently watched a video that hit me pretty hard…literally. In it, a family, dressed in all white sits down to watch a movie, in this case, it was Gone with the Wind (1939). Considered a classic in the cinematic world, this movie was had one unique claim when it came out – it was the first movie in which a curse word was uttered. In the video I watched, the family was shot with a paint gun pellet to demonstrate that word. Then, black bags were placed over the family’s heads as time fast-forwarded to today. The movie? The Wolf on Wall Street (2013). The claim to fame? Most curse words ever used in a movie thus far (798). To demonstrate the the “colorful language” in this film, the family was shot with as many paintballs as there were swear words. The destruction of their home was graphically evident, and while this video was intended to advertise for a video filtering company, they also sent a very important message to their audience – You are under attack; recognize that!
But I don’t think we do.
In fact, sometimes I think we forget that our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).
Worse than that, sometimes I think we unwittingly invite him right into our homes without even realizing we have opened the door.
As parents, we create the atmosphere for faith formation in our home, and just as we must be intentional about welcoming Christ into our everyday, we must be just as intentional about inviting sin to stay away.
Here are three ways to welcome “the lion” into your home.
Do not monitor television/movies
As already discussed, the television has become a transmitter of culture and our culture is not one that seeks to honor God and create an atmosphere in your home that disciples your children in the faith.
I’m not saying “Don’t watch TV!” I’m saying be careful what you watch, when you watch it (appropriate age and maturity), and what messages you attach to it. For instance, if you choose to watch a movie with themes that you don’t want welcomed into your home, be sure to share that with your kids! Don’t just let that scene or language pass by without addressing it.
One of the best ways to disciple your children is by helping them process culture through Scripture and form their Christian worldview and television/movies provide a platform for that experience. For more thoughts on how to use a Family Movie Night for discipleship, click here.
Do not regulate Social Media
If television/media transmit culture, then social media helps define it. Whether its the scrolling headlines of Facebook, the glaring images of Instagram, or the 144 word sound bites from Twitter, social media clothes the fantasy of television in the reality of life.
It always amazes me when I get a friend request from someone younger than 13 (Facebook’s age limit). Remember, Facebook isn’t concerned in the least with discipling your child in the faith, but even they set an age limit on who can use their website. How much more judicious should we be in how and what types of social media we invite into our homes?
If you are looking for some very good reads on this topic, I highly recommend Jon Acuff’s social media blogs for www.parentcue.org. He offers sound advice that addresses concerns without creating a fear-based approach. For more thoughts on parenting from grace and not fear, click here.
Don’t nurture the right relationships
Having moved a few years ago, Luke and I realized our kids were going to need to form new friendship and that we could have a profound impact on who was invited in to their lives, simply by how we helped to cultivate those relationships. Very intentionally, we set our kids up with pen pals from their future home, and as the friendships grew, we watered them with our prayers, invitations to dinner and sleepovers, and creating space for our children to be in our home with their friends. As a result, we have confidence in the friendships our children are engaged in and we see them as part of the faith formation of our kids.
Just as important is the development of your own relationships with other believers.
It is imperative that your children see modeled for them Christian friendships that are built on God’s love, times of prayer and fellowship, and a sharing of faith together.
If you invite Christ into the middle of your friendships and you show that for your kids through actions of hospitality, prayer, and sacrificial love, they will learn what true friendship is and will seek that type of relationship for themselves. For more thoughts on modeling relationship for your children, click here.
If we are intentional about welcoming Jesus into our home and acutely aware of the other things we invite in, we have a much better chance at creating an atmosphere conducive to discipleship.
But if we only do one and forget the other, we create a confusing space for our kids. If we welcome Jesus and, well, everything else, a sense of relativism and apathy is fostered. If we judiciously monitor culture but don’t intentionally welcome Christ, an atmosphere of fear and judgement can result.
But if we do both, there is intentional space for our kids to grow as Christ did, “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52)
Looking for ways to invite Jesus into your Home instead? This page is packed with lots of practical ideas to invite Christ into your family’s everyday.
Join the conversation on Facebook at ReFocus Family and Intergen Ministry.
For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more home-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, Seedbed, and D6 Family.