19Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.
I will never forget the experience of being there during the delivery of my children. The words that ring in my head even today are the ones our doctor would say to my wife…. “push,push,push”. It was with this quiet, deliberate, crescendo of intensity that all three of our children came into the world. I have to admit I thought there would be more uncontrolled screaming. There was some of that. But what I remember most (perhaps not my wife) is this confident rhythm that the Doctor would set with his calm but intense words push,push, push.
Well that’s over now our kids out, alive and healthy. But my wife and I try very hard to bring about spiritual birth in our children before we push, push, push them out the door into the real world. We are not trying to get decisions we are working toward formation. The formation of Christ in our home as a whole and in their individual lives. I wanted to share with you how we are doing this on a weekly basis. If you have any things that you would like to share I would love to hear them.
The Lords Prayer… It is like the theological hub of our family wheel. We have memorized it. We say it together every night. When problems or issues arise there is nothing that it does not address to help us out as a family.
Singing before dinner… We sing The Doxology before every meal. It is very helpful because when we are having a hard day we still have to sing and it usually brings a smile to our faces.
Dinner together… My wife has made our dinner time together a delight. We usually solve a riddle, ask each other how are days have been and work through situational school house ethics.
Music… This is a big one for our family. At least four times a week we sing together before bed. The guitar, a hymnbook and some dancing usually brings about good discussion about God at least once a week.
Responsibilities… our kids have daily responsibilities and one of them is alone time with God. We don’t micro manage. We just ask them to go of and spend time with God in their own way.
Everyday before school… We sing a short song together or pray together before they get out of the car to run to class.
Movie night… Every week we watch movies, and bring it’s main idea or theme back to the person and work of Jesus. The kids are pretty good at this and they surprise me sometimes.
Catechism… These are summaries of principles in the form of questions and answers, used for instruction. Our Evangelical heritage has produced some pretty beautiful ones. We talk about whatever topic is being addressed in the lesson in a kind of free form way. I don’t always agree with whats being said. We do not like or promote the use of Catechisms in an indoctrinating way but in an engaging and critical way. Our kids are constantly reminded that believing whatever we think is wrong. And thinking about what we believe is right.
The Ruler… We work hard to remind our kids that we are to love the Ruler first not His rules. We bring our children first to the forgiving and loving heart of God (the catalyst of our life) as revealed to us in Jesus Christ then show them what pleases Him. This is important to us because as a Christian family our kids could grow up thinking that because they “know the rules” that they are somehow better than others who do not. So in any way we can we bring up the fact that good works flow out of a gospel of grace based relationship with God. I love what G.C. Berkouwer said… “Grace is the essence of theology; gratitude is the essence of ethics.”
Church… The place where we love, and learn about God together with our Christian family. Here we are able to minister to our Church family with our gifts and be ministered to by all the gifted ones in our body.
So there you go these are some of the things we do. Now what about you? How do you work toward the spiritual formation of Christ in your children? We started out with very little and simple steps and it has grown and will continue to grow into the fabric of who we are.