In Family Ministry at Calvary, we ascribe to a philosophy we call “Family Equipping.” This means that we believe that the most effective way to reach a child or a student with the power of the gospel is through the context of the family unit. Basically, we believe that families are POWERFUL. We believe (because research has consistently demonstrated) that parents and grandparents are the most influential influences in a child’s life. More than pastors, small group leaders, mentors, or anyone else. So, we strive to reach our young people through their parents. We have a ways to go with this, but we are making strides and striving, along with you, to get better every day.
One thing I find interesting and challenging is how to properly present this information. On one hand, it is a powerful idea. We should be encouraged that family is so powerful! We should marvel at the way family units can be an incredible force for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. We should celebrate when the love of family prevents trouble, reassures the weak, and does good.
But it is hard to walk the line between admiring and celebrating the power of family without also, unintentionally, thrusting the heavy WEIGHT of this truth onto parents who already have plenty going on. Parents can easily feel like being the “primary spiritual influence” of a child’s life is exhausting, overwhelming, terrifying, and just plain heavy.
I am reminded in this of the trellis and the vine; a great metaphor to discuss the work all parents-as-disciplers do. As parents, we cannot make faith happen. The only way a child claims a faith of their own is if the Holy Spirit breathes into his or her life. In just the same way that we cannot make a vine grow out of the ground, it is also true that we cannot make a child grow in faith. All we can do as parents, pastors, or disciplers, is to build the trellis and hope the vine grows. Well, more than hope – pray. We can provide a structure on which growth can be built. We should be creating progressive growth opportunities for our children, just like how a trellis has horizontal slats on which vines can grow.
Here’s the RELIEF: we are not alone in any of this! We do not have to grow vines by ourselves (because we can’t) and we shouldn’t be building trellises by ourselves either (because it’s not the best way to build them). It is a relief to do these things alongside of a God who is present in our daily lives. And, it is a relief to build trellises alongside a community of people who care about your child enough to want to be a trellis-builder, too.
So here is my application question: who are your trellis co-builders? Fuller Youth Institute argues that every child should have 5 loving and caring adults in their lives who invest in their faith development at any given point. It doesn’t need to be the same five for life, but there should be five at every stage of their lives in order to give children the greatest trellis. Can you name five separate faith influences in your child’s life? If you can, thank those people and continue to encourage them to keep investing! If you can’t, who could you ask – even just one person more – to be one of your child’s five faith influencers? It’s a simple and powerful step. (And that person will probably be very honored that you asked!)
It’s an honor to be in it together. We’ll see you for the next Feast.
Announcements and Information:
-This summer, Calvary is going to be hosting a VERY special event called The Compassion Experience. This free family event, brought to us by Compassion International, will help your family increase their mission-mindfulness by experiencing the life of a child in need of sponsorship. Families will walk through a multi-sensory, audio-guided tour together. It’s like bringing a mission trip to you! We really hope your family will participate in the experience and that you might consider volunteering as well (volunteers must be age 16+ on their own or with an adult if they are under 16).
This event will draw people from throughout our region. We are honored to be hosting!
Please see the following links to sign up for the experience:
Register to Attend: https://cts.compassion.com/events/1039
Register to Volunteer: https://cts.compassion.com/volunteer.php?l=1039
Dates and Times for Compassion Experience at Calvary:
Thursday, June 14, 11a-7p
Friday, June 15, 11a-7p
Saturday, June 16, 11a-7p
Sunday, June 17, 10:30a-6:30p
-VBS is June 11-14 (New 4-day format this year!) Registration for volunteers and participation are now open! We see this as a church-wide event for children (not just a children’s event!)
Register kids or to volunteer here: https://www.calvaryefc.org/ministries/childrens-ministries/vacation-bible-school
We also need some help with decorations right now. Could you help??