Family Ties to Faith

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Connect busy families to a
faith-filled outlook with these 10 time-savvy
ideas!

Families are swamped. Schedules overflow with commitments. You hear
or read about overextended families every day in the news. Yet
there you sit, the children’s minister at your church, politely –
albeit guiltily — piping up with, “Excuse me, how can we get more
faith development happening at home during the week?”

Though most families cringe at the thought of adding more
activities or responsibilities to their calendars, many admit that
they too would like to make time for faith growth — if they had
the right tools. Time, of course, is one of those tools.

So how can you help families and children focus on faith during the
week? We’ve compiled 10 simple, quick ways you can help families
weave faith into their everyday lives and build God-honoring habits
– without putting a dent in their schedules.

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  1. Cross Challenge

    Challenge families to play a seek-and-find game during the week.
    The objective is to find as many crosses hidden in everyday life as
    possible. Think telephone poles, signposts, seams on a basketball,
    and tons more. The goal is to make the game a habit, so families
    are continuously looking for crosses-and constantly reminded of
    Jesus. Remind families to share their findings at dinner each
    evening.

    Scripture: “We do this by keeping our eyes on
    Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because
    of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its
    shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
    Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you
    won’t become weary and give up” (Hebrews 12:2-3).

  2. In With the Good

    Give family members each a card with Philippians 4:8 printed on it. Ask them to
    think about the activity they do most-listen to music, watch TV,
    play video games, cook. Ask each person to place the card on the
    object or in the area where he or she does the activity. During the
    week, challenge family members to think about the positive side of
    their favorite activity and try to find one thing related to that
    activity that fits the verse and honors God, such as cooking food
    for family members, keeping in touch with friends, or choosing TV
    shows that have a positive message. Have them write what honors God
    on the card and keep it visible as a reminder to choose things in
    our lives that honor God.

    Scripture: “And now, dear brothers and sisters,
    one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,
    and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things
    that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

  3. Water: The Purifier

    Give each family member a bottle of water with the Scripture and
    questions attached. Tell families to refrigerate their water and
    drink a little each day, making it last a week. Ask them to read
    the verse each time they take a drink. Then during a meal, ask
    families to discuss these questions:

    • What do you think the “living
      water” is?
    • How is Jesus like or unlike the
      pure water in these bottles?
    • Why is water so important to
      us?
    • Why is Jesus so important to
      us?
    • How can we use water to remind us
      of God?

    Scripture: “Jesus replied,
    ‘Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But
    those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It
    becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal
    life’ ” (John 4:13-14).

  4. Start With Jesus

    Challenge families to choose one weekday to begin their morning
    with Jesus-before they do anything else. Encourage families to pray
    together or do one thing that honors Jesus. Encourage them to talk
    about the difference between the days they begin with Jesus and the
    days they don’t.

    Scripture: “I am ‘the way, the truth, and the
    life’ ” (John 14:6).

  5. Everlasting Light

    Give families a decorative note to post in a room they all frequent
    or a place where every family member turns on and off the
    light.

    Each time people flip the light switch, ask them to look at the
    note and remember that God offers a glorious light that’ll never
    burn out.

    Scripture: “No longer will you need the sun to
    shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord
    your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your
    glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the
    Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will
    come to an end” (Isaiah 60:19-20).

  6. Self-Sacrifice

    Challenge family members to each sacrifice something they enjoy
    during the week in order to help someone else; for example, giving
    up a TV program to help a sibling with homework or sacrificing Xbox
    time to set the table without being asked. 

    Scripture: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress
    others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves”
    (Philippians 2:3).

  7. Great Provider

    Give family members each 10 pieces of yarn, 4 inches in length. Ask
    them to spend the next week thinking of the many ways God has
    provided for them. Challenge them to find 10 things they can tie a
    piece of yarn to (zipper pulls, rearview mirrors…) as a reminder
    of how God has provided. Encourage them to say a brief prayer of
    thanks whenever they see the yarn tied to something-whether it’s
    theirs or another family member’s.

    Scripture: “And if God cares so wonderfully for
    wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow,
    he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little
    faith?

    “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What
    will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the
    thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all
    your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live
    righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:30-33).

  8. Mending Relationships

    Ask family members to each find something at home that needs to be
    mended. Encourage them to talk about why the items need repair.
    Then challenge each person to think about a relationship they need
    to mend and why they need to mend it. Challenge them to go to that
    person during the week and offer forgiveness, an apology, or
    whatever’s needed to bring peace to that relationship.

    Scripture: “So if you are presenting a sacrifice
    at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone
    has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar.
    Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your
    sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23-24).

  9. Sour Words

    Give each family member a super-sour gum ball to take home. At
    home, ask them to think about something they said recently that
    they wish they could take back. As they remember those words, have
    them chew the puckery gum and think about the sour effect of harsh
    words. Challenge family members to see how many days they can each
    guard their mouths and ensure that everything they say is true,
    kind, and necessary.  

    Scripture: “Don’t use foul or abusive language.
    Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will
    be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29).

  10. Prayer Walk

    Ask families to discuss the areas in their lives where they’re most
    struggling-perhaps school, a friendship, or doing chores. During
    the week, families can symbolically or physically visit the
    location where each person is struggling and pray for the person
    and situation. If it’s possible, make a prayer walk or visit to the
    location. If not, use an item in the home, such as a friend’s
    photograph or a textbook, as a prayer prompt.

    Scripture: “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on
    every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for
    all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18).

    Danielle Bell has been a children’s minister in Murfreesboro,
    Tennessee, for 10 years. Jennifer Hooks is managing editor for
    Children’s Ministry Magazine.
      
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