Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I am continuing with my analysis of the “Key Characteristics” of our church as defined by our church constitution. We have already covered the first characteristic, which is “Faith”. Today, we will consider “Family”. The church constitution reads as follows.

Family: To be family is to have a common origin. We have been created by the Loving God, in His image. To be family is to seek the common good. Our caring is not only for ourselves, but also for the rest of the family. To be family is to foster growth. In the family of faith, this growth includes bringing others into the family and helping all the members of the family to reach maturity in Christ.

I believe that the future of the church, as an institution, will be determined by how strong the families are within the body of Christ. Spiritually strengthening families instead of only focusing on individuals, will have a greater impact on the work of contributing to God's Kingdom, than simply opening our doors and sending forth an evangelistic message.

Until Moses wrote down the history of the world leading up to his day, the history and traditions of the Hebrew people were passed down orally. Stories were told about how God had delivered them during times of need. Visual aids were introduced to make sure the children knew of those traditions as well.

One of the most common examples of this was the Passover. As you know, Passover was the celebration that commemorated the night the Angel of Death “passed over” all of those who had placed blood over their doors in Egypt. It was because of that night, that Pharaoh finally let the Hebrew slaves go free. The Passover celebration involves certain foods that are symbolic of slavery, and the wandering in the desert.
The symbolism of the food is just one of the ways the Jews passed the story down.

There were also four questions that are traditionally asked during the family Passover meal. They are actually a series of questions, that answer one main question, that is asked by the children in a family, which is, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” The answers tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, which educates all generations about the goodness and providence of God. (You can read all of the questions and answers here)

What are we doing at EFBC to foster spiritual growth in our families? Lately, we are doing a great deal. Our Associate Pastor of Worship has developed a Family Worship Guide. This is more than a devotional. It is a guide to lead families to the throne of God in their homes. For most of Christian and Jewish history, this is where spiritual education was nurtured. It has only been in the last few centuries that we have shifted the responsibility of teaching our children about Christ to the church.

I believe God is calling us back to family worship and Greg has done a wonderful job of leading us in that direction. My family has been using his guide and we find it to be extremely easy to work with, and have seen our children respond to it well. As parents, we have also enjoyed the opportunity to worship together as a family. I highly recommend this guide to every family that wants to see spiritual growth occur in their homes. You can obtain a copy for your family in our church office, or you may access a guide online here.

As important as our individual families are, we are also a church family. As such, we need to foster spiritual growth in our church as well. We provide many opportunities through the week to plug-in and participate in areas that can assist in your Christian life. There are Bible studies, Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Wednesday night prayer meeting, and many other activities that will help you mature in Christ. There are also a number of opportunities for discipleship that are coming in the near future.

I believe God is moving in our church body, and is beginning a great revival before our very eyes. I also believe that God is beginning that harvest in the field of family life in our church. God wants you to be an active participant in this movement in any way you can. Be obedient to Him in whatever He is calling you to do. Keep praying for our church family and all of the families within this body of Christ.
I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood. Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod. For I’m part of the family, the family of God. (William J. Gaither © 1970)
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NKJV)

No comments: