Note from the editor: We encourage you to share this article with the parents in your ministry as you encourage them in the wonder of God!
As I have been walking through life these past months, I have been reminded daily how much God loves us—He wants a relationship with each of us and our families.
If, like my family, you spent an extended time together at the beginning of the pandemic, it likely resulted in one of two things. Maybe it caused resentment because you had to spend more time together. Or maybe it brought joy—the opportunity to spend significant time together was like a gift you received.
A Needed Disruption
If I’m honest, my initial thoughts were those of frustration because of the disruption to my work productivity. I missed the routine I was so used to. But this made way for something that I had forgotten, and I was reminded of something that God wanted for me, my family … and you! You see, sometimes we need a disruption to remind us of what our priorities are and need to be.
Even though I work in vocational ministry, I needed to be reminded of this. I was directed back to this passage from Ephesians 1:5-6: “God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. This was according to his goodwill and plan and to honor his glorious grace that he has given to us freely through the Son whom he loves.”
Opportunity for Transformation
As a kid’s pastor and father, I have always resonated with these words in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
When my children were young, I cherished the moments when we would play together on our living room floor. It often included building something from Lego or playing dress-up, shop, or school. I always wondered how our kids’ imaginations would allow me to wander into a unique space with them.
Those family connection opportunities that started at such a young age have continued and have allowed opportunities for transformation. The natural conversations that ensued would often lead to faith and time to identify God’s presence.
Notice, I didn’t start with family devotions or reading the Bible together. Don’t get me wrong, that is the outcome I was looking for. We also spent valuable time reading the Bible, discussing faith questions at dinner, and praying together.
But I realized if we don’t come alongside our children and connect in the mundane, everyday moments, we can miss out on opportunities.
We will not build the connection, relationship, and respect that allow us into the sacred space to walk in the spiritual relationship we are trying to build with them.
I wish I could tell you that I had been intentional around every opportunity I have had with my children. Life has barreled right along, and I can now look back in the rearview mirror with my now-college-aged daughter and high school son.
I would like to share some of the intentional moments we created in our daily lives. These were moments that God used to provide transformation as well as address the challenges that can come for children of pastors.
Pray each day for the Holy Spirit to give opportunities for your family to grow closer in your journey with God. Also, pray for a deeper connection with your kids and for Jesus to invite your kids into His love for them and those around Him.
I am extremely grateful to my wife for the consistency that she has provided with the rhythms and routines we have had in our home. From leaving a room how you found it, eating dinner together, bath time, bedtime routines, etc.
We were intentional about eating dinner together at least six days a week until our daughter left for college this past year. Even when our kids were involved in sports or other activities, we would shift dinner earlier or later to make sure we ate together. Why do I share this? The connection sitting together provided us with our kids each night offered a good chance to debrief each person’s day. It gave an opportunity to connect and sometimes identify where we had seen God at work in our lives and experienced His presence.
There would be nights when conversations would be rich and others when we struggled. Over time, we would be able to recognize and point out where the Holy Spirit was at work, or where we needed Jesus. That consistent rhythm over time wasn’t rocket science or something novel, but it was an onramp for deeper connection and transformation.
Making the most of birthdays and milestones in our kids’ lives has been a way to create connection. From celebrating what we are thankful for and seeing God do specific things in our lives, to providing privileges and responsibility at each life stage, these moments have helped us connect and mark special times.
My wife can make an event out of anything. I suggest always looking for opportunities to celebrate. All the silly made-up holidays you find online including Green Eggs and Ham Day, dance party day, triple chocolate day, you name it, we would leverage it.
Granted, many of our celebrations included food, but some were simply taking advantage of the location we lived in at the time. This included watching airplanes take off and land at our local airport to dreaming where we would go and why.
We enjoyed exploring who God would bring into our lives and why. Those are simple examples of looking for God in everyday moments.
Find the people in your life that you can partner with to do life together. It is important for our kids to experience faith connection at home. Who are the safe people in your life that can invest in your kids and you in theirs? You need to find intentional people that will partner with you.
Connection with our family and Jesus takes time. They are an intentional choice each day—for each of us. Let me encourage you to make that choice today. I know God will meet you as your family connects with Him!