Aligning Church and Home
By Pastor Tom Anderson
How do you influence your children? What spiritual and moral messages do you want to send to your children? If you’ve never thought about this, the world is already filling the vacuum. The world is sending its own gusher of spiritual messages to children. Unless we speak deliberately and clearly about the Gospel message, no one will.
The most powerful tool parents have is their own example. There is no better way to influence children than to harness the power of example. Let them see you pursue a vibrant relationship to Jesus. Let them see your Bible on the table. Let them see it open on your lap. Let them hear you praying at meal time, bed time and devotional time. Let them hear you having spiritual conversations about prayer, God’s will and guidance, your faith, your hope and your involvement in missions, service and ministry to others.
At Thrive, we seek to come alongside families with our Thrive Kids ministry in the FLC every Sunday. There are games, crafts, songs and Bible lessons. We want to build positive, healthy faith relationships with kids. We want to give them things to share with their families when they go home. The children we have are ecstatic about coming. They love our leaders and the special times they have in the gym. I see smiles on their faces every Sunday. Check it out at thrive kids.
Every fifth Sunday we hold a Family Service. On this day, we herd all of our children into the worship center to praise God together as a church family. We celebrate Holy Communion together. We believe that children learn by participating as well as watching others. It’s the power of example. They see their parents and grandparents sitting together in church. They sing together, pray together, hear God’s word together and break bread together. It’s a key moment for forming the faith-heart of a child.
How to explain Holy Communion to a child? Children are not yet capable of abstract thinking. So it’s best to take a practical approach. We have special food for special occasions: turkey at Thanksgiving; lutefisk at Christmas (you might not want to mention that one!) ham at Easter; hot dogs on July 4; cake for birthdays and etc. When we celebrate Jesus’ love for us, we eat bread and drink grape juice. It is a special time for all of Jesus’ followers.
Intergenerational worship together is encouraging to everyone’s faith. We need to see and hear each other. It is in the relationships that we build with each other that faith is formed and passed on. It’s the power of example. By doing this, we line up the example of the church with the example of the home and a powerful message is sent. Our next Family Worship Sunday is January 30. I’m looking forward to it and I hope to see you there! Bring the children in your lives and worship with us.