"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man."
There is perhaps no greater feeling than to be together with family on a leisure evening. The smell of grilled burgers provides an invisible backdrop for the sound of laughter, music, and time spent together, enjoying one another’s company as a family. Many of you can relate to this scenario, but others can’t even imagine it. And that is why the church is so important, and especially a church that relates to one another as a family.
One hundred years ago most people lived in a rural setting. Children were brought up in an environment of work and a keen understanding that the survival of the family depended largely upon the diligence and work of the farm. There was little time for outside social activities, as the chores of the enterprise were shared by everyone, and everything was done together as a family. I believe it is one of the reasons for the close-knit sense of families in days gone by. Family is still important to God. It is important to us at New Life too. Family is one of our core values and so we try to strengthen it at every opportunity. Although things are much different today, as we are more urbanized and have moved away from the family farm of 100 years ago, we can still discover some things that challenge the family and find ways to overcome. Let’s look at some things that often challenge the family God intended.
This occurs either by breakup of the home or else by misplacement of authority within a home. There is a godly flow that works through willful submission. Love and desire for unity is the oil that decreases possible friction.
There are many positives about technology, but without a doubt it threatens quality time spent and quality conversations necessary for fully functioning families. Personal attention often goes out the window. This is more than a small problem in our world.
Lack of Godly Training
In our world the Bible has been denigrated to a mere opinion on the level with the opinions of man. When God’s Word is undermined, the value system for morality becomes fractured. There is a need to bring God, His values, and His plans back into the American home.
On the positive side of things, the church has the honor of being a family for everyone. We should intentionally treat one another like brothers and sisters. God is our Father and He has adopted us into the family of God, allowing us to bear the name of Jesus. Jesus said the world would know we are His as a result of how we love one another. Following are some beautiful benefits of a functioning as a family.
Repairing Broken Structures
The ministry to orphans and widows, whether by death or abandonment, is an incredible witness to the family a church can bring. I know men who go to school with children whose fathers are absent on “Dad’s Day” at school. I know families who invite single parents into their homes on holidays and special occasions. This is creating a true sense of family. Men and women can become mentors for children. When one suffers, we all suffer. When there is cause for celebration, we do it together.
Giving Personal Attention
There is nothing like having someone to genuinely care during life’s difficult moments. Loneliness exacerbates any negative situation. When trouble comes, whether emotional, physical, or relational, it is wonderful to have a family who will walk with you through your difficult season. The church does that. Countless times we have walked with people to the hospital, the courtroom, and the funeral home, to simply be present as a family. The value of this is inestimable!
Providing Godly Training
I cannot overstate the value a church brings to build and/or reinforce the virtues of biblical principles. You do your family and especially the children such a favor to have them in church every weekend and mid-week to hear about righteousness and learn the basic stories of the Bible. Through the week they hear so much negative and so much that is anti-biblical on TV and elsewhere. The church family is where they can hear and watch as people live out their faith. Nothing on earth can replace this.
As pastor, I welcome our newest members to our family. Let me encourage you to join a life group, or if you are so inclined, start your own interest group. It is important that New Life Church meets corporately, but equally important that you and I connect on a smaller, more intimate level as the church grows. I agree with the quote from the late Princess Diana who said, “Family is the most important thing in the world.” Welcome to the family! We want you here at New Life Church.