Creating an Environment of Faith Community

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

“The faith of children is most likely to grow when they have the opportunity to associate with adults who are growing persons who know and love God. The child’s faith is inspired when he or she belongs to an inclusive community that seeks to live out God’s love.” Catherine Stonehouse

 

  • Today, as you consider how you are investing time in those who are like-minded and share your values and beliefs, ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom on how to cultivate a vibrant faith community around you and your children.
  • Open your Bible and read Isaiah 40:29-31. Take some time to consider why we as moms (or our children) might become in need of renewed strength.

Creating an Environment of Faith Community

It’s imperative that we put our children in close proximity to the faith community, because the world is hostile toward their faith. They will need an intentional refuge and reprieve. They will need a place where they can take the pieces of their armor off and simply remember who they are…a moment  where they are not the one who doesn’t “fit in.” In this place, they gain strength.

We must be wise to understand that our children will bear the marks of the world’s harsh conditions, and therefore we must make provisions for a different kind of community, a community of refuge. I’ve had to consider in each season of my children’s lives what this would look like: participation in worship on Sunday, involvement in small groups during the week, rearranging summer plans for camp or mission trips, bringing mentors into our spiritual family, and sacrificing to make community happen in our home. We intentionally focused on these things in order to make them happen. How would we spend our money in order to accomplish these things? What luxuries or entitlements would we need to sacrifice in order to re-prioritize what is most important? These types of decisions had to be made swiftly and with intentionality; otherwise, the opportune times we had been given would have evaporated without us even noticing!

Ask yourself right now, “How will I intentionally and strategically set up an environment where my children will be a part of a vibrant faith community?” Isaiah 40:29-31 describes how those who wait upon the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles. This word picture of soaring, of being carried by the wind, makes me think of the freedom and perspective we would experience by flying in such a manner, in contrast perhaps to a hummingbird that flutters her wings, toils, strives, and flies so close to the ground that she can’t have the bigger perspective on life.

The faith community offers this freedom and perspective to our children. Our children learn what it means to “wait on the Lord” together with others. They learn what it means to live by faith instead of sight and to gain an eternal perspective. They are prayed for. They learn about God’s Word. They experience God Himself, and others are there to testify that the experiences are real. They need all of these things, just like the Old Testament children whose annual feasts offered them strength for the days ahead when they felt alone and depleted of hope. The world acts as a leech on our children’s hearts and souls, and none are unscathed by it. Yet, the community of faith was designed by God to pour into and build up our children in ways that support us as mothers.

Blessings and Love,

Dr. Michelle Anthony

Questions to Ponder

  • What circumstances play into “going it alone” without the support of like-minded believers?
  • What sacrifices will you or your family need to make in order to make your faith community or church a bigger priority?
  • Identify some practices and/or people that will encourage your commitment to being a part of a vibrant community of believers that will impact your children’s lives.

Faith-Filled Ideas

Here are some ideas that helped me as a young mom keep my faith community a priority amidst all the other demands on my time/attention:

  1. If you are not involved in a local church, start looking today. Ask friends for suggestions. Determine to not just “attend” but get involved (especially in your child’s class). The enemy will tell you that you need a “break,” but being involved is the only way to find true community.
  2. Open your home for a women’s Bible study or play group with other Christian women. Choose to share a least one prayer request each time you are together and pray for those needs.
  3. Consider starting weekly or monthly “Sunday Suppers” with three to four other families. Take turns hosting and share a potluck style meal. Here you allow your children to play and build relationships outside of church in an intergenerational setting. This can become a rich tradition for many years that gives your child a sense of belonging and faith formation through sharing a meal, prayer, and godly conversation.

Start today, with an intentional plan of how you will redeem your time! God will renew you and your children in the presence of like-minded and strong believers.

 

Michelle Anthony

Michelle Anthony

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the Executive Pastor of Families at New Life Church and Dean of Youthmin Academy. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting,The Big God Story, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, A Theology of Familiy Ministry and her newest book, 7 Family Ministry Essentials. Michelle has over 30 years of church ministry and leadership experience in children’s and family ministries and graduate degrees in Christian Education, Bible and Theology from Talbot School of Theology and and her doctorate of Education from Southern Seminary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys being with her family, reading a good book, and the beach while drinking a strong cup of coffee.
Michelle Anthony

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