Family Building Ideas

With the pace of family life today, quality time together has to be planned, it seldom just happens. This has led our family to collect a number of ideas designed for building a strong family with life centered around our Lord. Here is a quick rundown of several favorite ideas. These are just ideas so feel free to change and adapt to your specific needs. But read over the list, pick your favorites and give them a try. Above all, have fun!

1. Family Time Capsule

The Old Testament is filled with examples of memorials such as the stones which were a memorial to the crossing of the Jordan River in Joshua 4:7. The yearly feasts were likewise memorials to the Lord's place in their lives. We should also build some yearly observances. Likewise we must remember the Lord's goodness. As part of our New Year's Day observance, we as a family pick goals for personal development. These are written and placed in a sealed envelope. This envelope is put away until next January first. These goals become a year long focus of prayer and effort. The following New Year's Day, this is opened with a time of evaluation, thanksgiving and a making of a new time capsule. These become times of remembrance of God's faithfulness in the year past and an expression of faith for the year ahead.

2. Take Home Paper resource

We must be good stewards of all that the Lord gives us. I Corinthians 4:4 indicates that we as good stewards are to be faithful. One however wonders how much of the resources of the church are unused or wasted. One idea is to recycle those Sunday School take home papers. If your church's Sunday School material includes weekly papers then it is possible to accumulate quite a few. Gather these into a folder or notebook. Then when looking for a change for family devotions allow children to select one to be the story for family devotions. Most of these have biblical lessons or Bible stories included. These can prove a valuable resource for family devotions.

3. Missionary Supper

We must remember our missionaries in prayer. We can pray most effectively if we know not only the missionary family and their ministry but something of the field of service. Why not have a missionary supper? Try to plan a menu that would match the location of a missionary known to you or your church supports. This could be Spaghetti for Italy or Tacos for Mexico etc.. Have children collect facts about the country from reference books or books borrowed from a local library. This information could be put on large pieces of paper and used as placemats. After the meal read prayer letters from the missionary family, have picture prayer cards on hand if possible. Conclude the meal with a time of family prayer for the missionary family.

4. Guest of Honor

We are told in Hebrews 13:7 to remember them that minister to us. Part of this should be to find ways to honor those who minister to us. One way of doing this is to have a meal in honor of this person. Have the children prepare a special invitation for your pastor and family. Find out a favorite food and dessert. Set a time and have the Pastor's family for a meal. After the meal the guest of honor will make a short speech (arranged in advance). The guest of honor can share a testimony of God's work in his life. What better way to keep positive role models before our children.

5. Highway Help

Time is one of our most valuable assets. Ephesians. 5:16 instructs us to be "Redeeming the time." In the midst of breakneck pace of life we must find ways to buy up opportunities for spiritual instruction. Whenever going on trips by car the family is confined to a small metal box for an extended period of time that easily be redeemed. why not redeem this time for teaching Christian values by playing Christian tapes on your car's or on a small portable cassette player? The "Patch the Pirate" series from Majesty Music, is one that we use regularly for children. Many Christian books for adults are also available on cassette. Check with a local Christian book store for more ideas.

6. Chore trading.

Gal. 6:2 tells us that we are to bear one another's burdens. Within the family we must have an appreciation and spirit of cooperation with the work we all must do to keep the family going. How about a having a day or a week where everyone does someone else's work. Have the kids trade chores or have the kids do some of Dad and Mom's work and the parents do the kids chores. Or if you are really brave give Mom a day off. After this exercise have a family meeting and discuss what you learned about the work other family members are doing. Express your appreciation fro the work that each family member does.

7. Become a Ministry Team.

A good motto for the family would be Psalm 100:2 "Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." To get your family involved with serving why not select a ministry to adopt. It could be some physical work at your church or a program of visiting. Folks confined to nursing home are always in great need of some loving attention. After the idea is agreed on follow these steps. 1. Schedule a definite time to serve. If time isn't reserved it will not get done. 2. Make sure there is something for every member of the family to do. 3. Make this a matter of constant family prayer. 5. Get started right away!

8. The Creation Week

Genesis chapters one and two teach us that God created all that is in six days. Why not set aside a week to study the creation week with your family. Start on a Sunday and each day read the appropriate section of scripture for that day. Have children make pictures to represent each day and display them in your home. After reading and discussing the scripture, have a prayer of thanksgiving for God's creation. Stress His power in creation. With a little preparation some object can be used for each day. Soil, rock, water, a prism to display the colors of sunlight, a few minutes to look at the stars, house plants and pets could all be used as visual aids.

9. Feasts of Israel

Leviticus 23 details the feasts of Israel. God intended for each of these to teach something about Himself to His people and to insure that God would be included in their lives. We can teach our families these same lessons by studying these feasts. With the help of a study Bible, Bible commentary and a calendar that shows Jewish holidays you can plan meaningful times for your family. Mark these times on your calendar and make them times that you look forward to. At the appropriate time read the particular Bible passage that apply as a family. Perhaps your family can decide to reenact some of each feast. Perhaps during tabernacles you could create your own booth.

10. Box of Fun

Christians, above all people, should know how to enjoy life. God desires for us to have times away from the stress of work. Too often each member of the family seek fun in a different place and in a different way. We need to create opportunities for the family to have fun together. One idea for accomplishing times of family fun is make a box of fun. Allow each family member to write down their ideas for fun family activities on slips of paper. These are then gathered and placed in a box (or other container). During a weekly "family night" or on a Saturday, a slip is taken from the box of fun and this becomes the activity for family togetherness. This idea is a guaranteed winner!

11. Adopt a Missionary

The Apostle Paul was not shy in asking for believers to pray for him, see I Thessalonians 5:25. Those who serve as missionaries are in special need of our prayers. Praying for missionaries is something we must build into our families. Have your family "adopt" a missionary. This one missionary that you will faithfully pray for and support. Make sure your missionary is remembered in prayer often. Have their picture or prayer card prominently displayed in your home. Send letters and care packages to your missionary. If the opportunity exists, have the missionary visit in your home. This relationship will be one of lasting blessing both to your missionary and to your family.

12. Sermon Surprise

Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We could all improve our "hearing" of the preaching of the Word of God. We especially need to train young people in the art of listening to the preaching of God's Word. Design a contest for family members based on listening to the Pastor's message. During the message gather information on what is preached. If you asked you may get a copy of the pastor's sermon notes to help you. After the service gather around for a "Sermon Surprise quiz." Ask questions based on what was preached. Rather than having only one prize for a "winner" have several small prizes so everyone's effort will be rewarded. This used occasionally will amaze you as to how much hearing can occur when we set our minds to it.

13. Know Thy Neighbor

Jesus used the parable of the good Samaritan to teach the need for us to love our neighbors. However in our society we tend to withdraw behind the doors of our home and seldom know our neighbors well. Take a moment and reflect on how many of your neighbors you know on a first name basis and what do you know about their spiritual condition? As part of your Christmas tradition, a fruit basket or plate of candy can be the tool to break the ice with your unknown neighbors. Package with Christmas trimmings and include a Christian tract. See what the Lord can do in the life of your neighbors. A variation on this idea is to have an open-house our backyard get together for the families in your neighorhood. The goal is the same but your neighbors are coming to your home. Send them home with a small gift and witness for the Lord Jesus. The ideas shared here are not all original. Our family has collected these over a period of years and in most cases I do not know to whom to give credit. We are none the less thankful for the input of others into our lives. May these ideas be a blessing to you.

Jesse Waggoner
Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

©1997 Calvary Baptist Church