The last of the seven passions that George Barna lists in his book Revolution is “Family Faith.” Family faith is described by Barna in the following way: “Christian families taught the ways of God in their homes every day. Parents were expected to model a Spirit-led lifestyle for their children, and families were to make their home a sanctuary for God. In a very real sense, the home was the early Church–supplemented by the larger gatherings in the Temple and in other places, but never replaced by what took place in the homes of believers.”
I know it stretches the context of the following passage to use it here, hut I think there is a principle in play that certainly applies to this discussion. Paul tells Timothy, (1 Timothy 5:8 NCV) “Whoever does not care for his own relatives, especially his own family members, has turned against the faith and is worse than someone who does not believe in God.” God wants us to take care of our families. In the church family children are an intricate part of that atmosphere and ought to be helped along as much as possible. However, it’s not the church’s ultimate responsibility to be the primary source of child-rearing. That belongs to parents.
To be Spirit-led parents takes work for ourselves that I’m afraid we too often allow to go neglected. If we are not allowing God to lead our lives, how can we possibly help our kids be led by Him? We tend to make sure our children are doing their school work and that they make it to practice for whatever sporting event is going on. But how many of us are teaching them the ways of God both by teaching and action? Extracurricular things are good for kids, but God knows they need us spiritually much more than physically.
Strong families help build up everything around them. When families are strong, the community is strong. When families are strong, the nation is strong. When families are strong, the church family is strong.
I pray that we can all return to more passion for our families and helping them to become as spiritually minded as they can be.