Family Faith Time was created around the principles and values of Communities of Hope – Gathering, Supporting, Learning, Engaging, and Responding. It is intended to be used each week to supplement the faith exploration and spiritual development that happens on when we gather in person. There is one faith time post each week which can be used once or every night. As we steep in scripture, through repetition we often hear new things and the stories are written differently and more deeply on our hearts. Mealtimes and Bedtimes are great opportunities to engage in Family Faith Time. They are times of our day that already often naturally have routines associated with them which makes for a more fluid transition to introduce prayer and scripture during these times. Each opening & closing prayer time has two prayer options. The opening prayer has a general prayer and a mealtime prayer. If you opt to engage in Family Faith Time over dinner, the mealtime prayer is a great way to get started. The closing prayer also has a general prayer and a bedtime prayer. If you engage in Family Faith Time during bedtime, the bedtime prayer is a great option for concluding your time and for putting your child(ren) to bed. The general opening and closing prayers are the same prayer, again – repetition often helps us understand new things. Especially after reading and discussing.
FAITH FORMATION AT HOME:
Life is busy! Work, school, activities, homework, family, LIFE! It can be exhausting and frustrating at times. There is often little time available to commit to faith formation as a family. However, research has shown that Faith Formation in the home is far more important than Faith Formation in church. Our children learn from and imitate US, not their pastors. When a research team asked teenagers to list the top 3 faith formers in their lives, the top three were 1. Mother, 2. Father, 3. Grandparents. What we do at home is important! How we live our lives, what we model and what we prioritize are what our children will model and prioritize. Below are three practices that in addition to engaging as a family in faith time, can help build a more cohesive, intentional, Christian Family Culture:
Caring Conversations: Talk to one another. I am guilty of asking my children how their day was, hearing “good” and not really going much further. Ask your children questions. Engage in conversation. Listen to the inane chatter that often makes no sense and drives us crazy! Ask them where they saw or experienced God during the day. A fantastic time to engage is in the car driving places. You have a captive audience and it is often just wasted time.
Service: Find time to serve others and discuss with your children Christ’s service to us. We serve as a response to the way that we have been served. Radical hospitality is showing love to our neighbors as God shows love to us.
Rituals & Traditions: We all have rituals and traditions. Maybe it’s following a particular sports team. Maybe it’s engaging in a particular hobby. Maybe it’s a family event or activity that occurs every year. Keep doing what you have always done! Discuss WHY you do it… where it came from… who started it. This will make it much more meaningful to the entire family and increase the likelihood of the rituals and traditions continuing on in future generations.
One final suggestion – don’t be afraid of admitting you don’t know the answer to a question. Exploring and questioning are a huge part of learning and growing. Pastor Jennifer & I are available to help if you get a particularly challenging question from your child. (And trust me – YOU WILL!)