Do You Have A Map?
Developing A Spiritual Plan For Your Family
Years ago, people used an ancient form of navigation called a map. Maybe not “ancient” but certainly unlike today’s technology. Some of you may remember going with your parents before a vacation to the AAA office to pick up a TripTik – a flip map that showed each stretch of a road trip from a starting point to a destination. The AAA agent would go over each page of the map, highlighting the recommended route and marking any construction notes or road closures to be aware of while traveling. People relied on that map to get them where they were going. Without it and the benefit of today’s instant GPS directions, it would have been difficult to reach a destination, especially if you’d never been there before.
That old-school map is a reminder about an important aspect of family life–having a spiritual map for your home. Developing your own faith and sharing it with your kids isn’t a quick trip; it’s cross-country and back from birth through adulthood. If you’re not intentional about faith at home, it’s easy to completely miss the destination. Let’s talk about two vital aspects of developing a road map for the spiritual growth of your family.
Your Own Faith Journey
Having a growing relationship with the Lord must be the foundation for everything else in your life, including the spiritual health of your family. It doesn’t happen haphazardly, so as you are organizing your calendar make sure time with Him is a priority. Just like a map gives you step-by-step instructions, there are key pieces for being intentional on your journey with the Lord. As your closeness with Him deepens, the ability to share your faith with your children naturally springs up out of the love you have for Him.It matters because our kids matter, and they need help.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you focus on your own personal growth:
- Schedule time with Him. As in any other relationship, to get to know someone better requires time. Time slips away quickly, especially when you’re raising kids, so carve out space somewhere in your day when you can focus on talking with the Lord and listening to His voice. Learn to simply be in his loving and peaceful presence.
- Treasure His Word. Spending time in the Bible is an important aspect of your walk with the Lord. He uses it to speak to, teach, encourage, and challenge His people. If you have a hard time sitting down to read, listen to an audio version of the Bible. Sing songs that come directly from scripture. Some adults have also discovered that reading a Bible written for children is a unique way to connect with the scriptures and jump start or revive time in His word.
- Participate in a local church body. Worshiping together with other believers is an important aspect in the life of a Christian. Worship is not just singing songs to the Lord but also serving, giving financially to the work of the Kingdom, and forming relationships of accountability with other Christians.
Passing on Your Faith
God established parents as the primary spiritual leaders in the lives of their children and designed the church to be a support system. Guiding your children in their spiritual development is a wonderful privilege and a responsibility that can easily be overwhelming. Creating a roadmap to keep you headed in the right direction can be a helpful tool.
Here are some things to consider as you design a plan for passing on your faith to your kids:
- Keep the destination in mind. Ultimately, you want to see your kids experience their own thriving relationships with the Lord. That’s the end goal. But how are you going to get there? This is where your walk with the Lord is key. Sharing things like prayer, Bible reading, giving, and serving will make a bigger impact if your kids see you doing those things in your own life.
- Start small. Some parents begin passing on their faith when their kids are infants, but many parents come to see themselves as spiritual leaders in their homes when their children are older. It is never too late to start, and it’s easiest to start small. Read Bible stories together. Use time in the car to thank God for the things you see. Pray not just at meals and bedtime but as needs come up. Demonstrate to your kids that life with Jesus is an everyday thing.
- Stay on the path. In today’s world, it’s easy for parents to become distracted by goals for their kids, like success in school, achievements in sports, or personal happiness. Those things aren’t bad, but they’re temporary and won’t encourage your children toward a powerful relationship with the Lord. Every so often, examine your plan. Ask the Lord to show you where you might be taking detours to focus on the short-term and help you return to the path toward your long-term destination.
As you focus on your own and your children’s relationship with the Lord, remember that you are not alone. Ministry leaders at your church would love to help provide specific support and resources for you in your family faith journey. Ask questions. Express your needs and concerns. Let your children’s, student, and family pastors come alongside you as you live out your faith in your home.