My wife and I like playing games. I used to love specifically card games, and some of them have a trump card which outplays any other card. That was what you wanted in your hand no matter what. For me, the home is the trump card when it comes to recruiting and church programs. One of my goals in ministry is to enable, encourage, and support healthy faith in the home. If your homes are healthy in their faith, the church will be healthy in faith. Faith in the Home is the trump card of the church… it’s one of those things which makes following God so much easier as a church, and to me is of the utmost importance to how we approach ministry.
Fairly early on in my ministry I began recognizing that if I was ministering to children, I needed to do something for families as well. I didn’t know what that would look like at the time, but I was fortunate enough to hear about a speaker coming to Canada to speak on faith at home. The topic intrigued me enough to have me fly across the country to hear this speaker. That decision was one of the most impactful in my ministry.
In a nutshell, Mark Holmen reminds us that the home is the place most impactful in nurturing faith, and our role as a church is to help nourish and encourage that relationship. When it comes to working with people serving in the church, we can easily overlook the role of the home. The challenge is if we believe faith begins at home then our model for working with volunteers needs to support that value. This means moving beyond family events, talks of intergenerational services, and maybe even looking beyond events that resource the home.
How we recruit, schedule, and serve as the body of Christ needs to reflect a value for the home. Some of the principles we posted in our first post in this series are aimed to help us accomplish having healthy families while having a healthy body that serves. The goal is not to have programs staffed with volunteers, but to have a body of believers that are using their gifts to serve God. For families that service is already at work in the home and in the church.
How this looks will vary church to church, yet the need is no less. Scheduling families so they’re never in the service together, pulling families in ten different directions, overusing a father or mother so they can’t focus on their home, are just some examples of how we can undermine the home. Yet how we use people can also strength faith in the home. Having families serve together in ministry, letting kids see mom and dad involved in ministry, and making events that are flexible for families are just some ways that we can utilize people serving while still reflecting value for the home.
When we work to use people’s gifts in meaningful and tangible ways, when we have healthy teams and communication, when our actions line up with our visions we are creating a healthy atmosphere in which people serve. For families, how healthy that experience is will impact the rest of the family. If children see their parents serving in an unhealthy environment they will be guarded when presented the same opportunity. If children see a situation where their parents thrive, or they themselves can thrive, faith can become even more real and integrated into life and the home.
There’s no formula for this, but examining our expectations of those serving in ministry needs to happen. Whether we talk about faith at home or not in our church, how we engage people serving in ministry will either contribute or diminish the faith that is lived out in the home, and will be reflected in the overall health of the church.
P.S. if you don’t know about Mark Holmen or the Faith @ Home movement… you need to check it out. www.faithathome.com is a great starting point with resources for churches and homes. You can also find the various books and resources he’s written.