There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I agree and feel that is true but I think we need to take one step further back to a smaller community. It takes a family to raise a child. And in this day and age of the fractured and blended family it’s hard to define what a family is. I believe a family is a group of individuals that love each other. They can be as small as two or as big as the number it takes to include everyone that shares the love of this group.
I feel I have four families. My earthly biological family, families at both Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Thomas and Almanarah Presbyterian Church London. In both churches I lead the youth and in both I feel like a father figure and that these youth are my extended children. Then I belong to God’s family. I’m a child of God. Brother to Christ and an adopted son of God.
In talking about families I want to focus on earthly families. Coming from a divorced family myself I understand the broken family that so many children come from today. A recent study was done on the increase in violent gang activity. In almost every case, each gang member had a similar attribute to runaways, dropouts, kids on drugs, and teens in prison. That attribute is that most of them came from a fatherless home. To put in another way, when a father is absent, kids are five times more likely to commit suicide, abuse drugs or go to prison.
To take it a step further families that raise children in a Christian environment are more likely to have their children grow up to have a better moral foundation. Too many kids lack spiritual direction in the home. The church cannot resurrect what the home puts to death. A church can have a fantastic children’s and youth program, but if it’s not reinforced at home it is largely in vain. The greatest impression a family can leave on their child is the message of that family’s living faith, unwavering hope, and steady trust in God that will be engraved on their heart forever.
As spiritual leaders in the home the head of the family must teach the rest of the family the statutes of God. Having families bringing children up with faith in the home is better than a life time experience of faith within the church. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” – Joshua 24:15. We have a responsibility to mold lives of those entrusted into our care and that can’t be done casually.
The job of our church leaders is to teach the people and guide the people in His truth. Our job is to obey the Lord’s will and what He is calling us to do through our leaders. Some would say easier said then done. One of the hardest things to do is to say, “Okay God, I’m yours,” and take your hands off and let God guide your life. The truth is we are all His. And when we accept that allow Him to be the head of our ultimate family then He ensures that we are guided in the right path to do amazing things. When we change our hearts from being about us to focusing on the others in our families an amazing change happens in us. The quest remains though. Are you willing to lay down you life for those under your care, as Christ did for you? For your spouse? For your children? For your close friends? For another member of your family? For a member of your church family? How much does your “family” mean to you and what level would you go to? Would you do what Christ came to do for us, so that we could belong to God’s family? Where are you, Christian families? Stand up and be counted. For the Lord our God needs you to do His work here on earth in the children that represent our future.