We are in part 3 of our 5-part series on Family-Together Habits. These are behaviors families can practice to strive for greater intimacy with Jesus.
The five key habits are:
Today, let’s focus on gospel-centered COMMUNITY. As a reminder, these are FAMILY-TOGETHER habits, so the ideas here will focus not on your adult small groups (which are great to have) or what adult friends you have, but rather, focused on how families can connect with families in gospel-centered community.
First, read this remarkable quote by theologian N.T. Wright:
“The church exists primarily for two closely correlated purposes: to worship God and to work for his kingdom in the world. You can and must worship, and work for God’s kingdom, in private and in ways unique to yourself, but if God’s kingdom is to go forward, rather than around and around in circles, we must work together as well as apart.
The church also exists for a third purpose, which serves the other two: to encourage one another, to build one another up in faith, to pray with and for one another, to learn from one another and teach one another, and to set one another examples to follow, challenges to take up, and urgent tasks to perform. This is all part of what is known loosely as fellowship. This doesn’t just mean serving one another cups of tea and coffee. It’s all about living within that sense of a joint enterprise, a family business, in which everyone has a proper share and a proper place.”
The truth is, I want you to have friends. I really do. And I want you to have friends, too. But what we are talking about here is more than friendship. It’s similar to friendship, but it is redeemed and intentional and purposeful. I don’t know that we have a sufficient single word for what this is in English.
In gospel-centered community, the driving question is not “who do I like best?” Instead, the driving question is “How are my relationships helping me to participate more fully in God’s kingdom, and how am I helping others do the same?”
It is so important that we are connected. The writer of Hebrews says it this way:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
So, a gospel-centered community is one that stirs one another to love and good works, meets regularly, encourages one another, and reminds one another that all these things are important in light of the imminent return of Jesus.
Now, how do we apply these truths in the context of family? First, let’s ask an honest question of ourselves: does my family time reflect what the writer of Hebrews is describing in and amongst ourselves? Are we, as husband and wife and/or as parent and child (and child to parent) meeting together intentionally to encourage one another and stir one another to love and good works, rather than just co-existing in a home together? Are we thriving or simply surviving our family rhythms, schedules, and dynamics in this season? Are we living in the reality that Jesus is coming back – both for the world, and for any of us at any time individually?
Second, let’s ask ourselves honestly this question: in what ways is my family a force for good and the Good News in our corner of the world? Maybe we could brainstorm together some ways in which that could happen. Here’s a few:
-In what ways is my family encouraging, equipping, or celebrating gospel pursuit in other families?
-Who in our community is in need of love and good works who might be lacking it otherwise if I do nothing?
-In what ways could we use our money typically set aside for vacation to be a force for the gospel this year? Could we travel and serve and connect in community with others rather than simply travel and indulge by ourselves?
The point is not to feel guilty about what we are not doing. The point is about intentionally living and finding ways to live out the reality of the Gospel – of being the hands and feet of Jesus – personally, but also as a family, in community.
I will leave you with this: many of you whom are receiving this are inspirations to me on this topic. I see sp much good in you and from you, and I am so glad we are able to learn and grow and strive and pray and hope together. Thank you for being my community!
Until the next Feast,
PS – Hello from Costa Rica!!
QUICK HIT INFORMAITON ABOUT THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR BEGINNING!
Sunday School Open House
Sunday, Sept. 9, 9-10:15 am, we will have a Sunday School Open House for all students from Tadpoles (ages 2-3) through Grade 6. We invite parents to meet teachers, get familiar with what happens throughout the year, meet other families, and more. There will be NO CLASS for grades 1-6, while Kindergarten and below will have classes; younger kids can be dropped off instead of walking around with families if that is preferred. We invite parents and kids together to start in the Pie-Shaped Room (200) where Amy Bowers will give instructions and direction about a scavenger hunt!
Kindergarten = Preschool
To better serve our families, we are making a categorization change for our Kindergarten students. Kindergarten in now under our “Preschool” umbrella on Sunday mornings. The key point of saying this is to communicate that all services, including special services and holidays, will always have classes available for kids through Kindergarten. We hope this serves your family well! This new shift will begin on September 9. Please note the open house on that day! Promotion Day for Preschool All Preschool classrooms will “promote” starting on Sunday, September 9. Elementary students going into first grade and up have already been promoted. If you feed them, they keep growing!
Classroom changes for Elementary School
Kindergarten – Room 145
1st Grade – Room 140
2nd Grade – Room 144
3rd & 4th Grade – Room 143
5th & 6th Grade Boys – Room 201
5th & 6th Grade Girls – Room 203
Take a Break Room – 202
Sept. 12 – Family Open House, all families are invited to get books, meet leaders and get information for this year
Sept. 19 – First Regular Night of Awana
Youth Group Begins September 12.
Youth Sunday School “school year” begins September 9.