THE FAMILY CHURCH SERIES
In Part 1, we looked at what "Family Church" is/isn't and discussed both practical and spiritual aspects of discipleship in the home. Then in Part 2, we heard from Lonny Dyer (Pastor of Keystone Church) on how "Family Church" helped carry them through a significant transition, involving career change and relocation.
Now in Part 3, we want to share another example from an every-day family with kids of all ages. As the series continues, we hope you're beginning to see that no two families are alike, yet every household holds the potential to be a training ground for walking out our faith in real life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Will Michaloski is a trusted friend and dedicated family man. He and his wife Beth live in Colorado Springs with their five children. In the ideation stage of L24 Collective, their back porch, with views of Pike's Peak in the distance, served as the location for deep discussions on following Jesus and building healthy families.
In August 2016, we began holding worship services as a family in our home. There were two big reasons why we went in this direction:
First, we wanted to emphasize participation and processing for our children in a way that wasn’t available at any churches we’d visited. (Sure, some churches have amazing Kids’ programs, but a once weekly gathering for an hour isn’t enough on its own.)
Second, we consider it important for our children to learn how to follow Jesus from both positive outside-the-family influences and from us as parents. (Too often, we parents can slip into a mode-of-operation wherein spiritual training is direct only from the former and only implied through the latter.)
So “Family Church” has been a deliberate step toward providing a time each and every week for our kids to learn, ask questions, and hear directly from Beth and I on what we believe and how we practice our faith in real life.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
What we do looks a lot like what you’d see in a traditional church service or Sunday school. We sing a few songs together, including one hymn. We read a chapter of the Bible, then ask the kids to narrate back what happened in their own words. From here, we move into a time of discussion about (a) what the content means and (b) any other questions they have about the Bible. Most of the time, the conversation revolves around that day’s reading, but the freedom to explore anything on our kids’ minds has been so helpful.
To close our time together, we ask our children (even our 3 year old) who they’d like to pray for. If they get stuck on the requests, we help them think of the people and needs, but we always have them do the praying.
The whole process takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, but the length really isn’t what’s important. Our priority has been to invest whatever time is necessary based on the questions they have or the additional conversations that spring up.
Our kids love “Family Church” and so do we! It’s great to see our whole family grow in God-confidence—praying out loud, asking questions, wrapping their minds around the gospel, learning to articulate the message and increasing their compassion for others as they lift them up in prayer.
We’ve talked to other families that say, “That’s great for you. But we don’t know where to begin or how to teach!” But whether you decide to hold a family church service, a daily Bible time or simply carve out a few deliberate moments to explain your faith to your kids, I think the key is just to do something! Start simple.
Read through narrative sections of the Bible like Genesis, Judges, or one of the Gospels. These passages read like a story and the kids can more easily understand and engage with the content. At this stage, breaking down the complexities of Pauline theology isn’t necessary. Just helping your kids learn what’s actually in the Bible is great!
Another thing to keep in mind is to approach Family Church with plenty of humility. The kids have observed Beth and I wrestle with various passages of Scripture too. They’ve watched as we’re challenged by the Holy Spirit to take steps of faith. This type of vulnerability has been formational for our children!
Even after a year and a half, we’re still learning while growing in our faith as a family. Worshiping, learning and praying together is something we intend to continue as we seek to live out our love for Jesus the best we know how.