By Lisa Schnyders (re-posted from Family Ministries blog)
If you haven’t had a chance to watch the “Gumball video” that we used as the basis for our church cheeseball talk on September 14, check it out first: 40 vs 3000 (Please note: this is another church’s presentation of Reggie Joiner’s Think Orange talk, but it’s the easiest one to give you access to.)
“The average child is in church approximately 40 hours a year; 40 hours a year for the church to teach who God is, who Christ is, who the Holy Spirit is, why the cross is so important, and how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.”
At New Life, we really try to make those hours count. I never much liked the gumball comparison. Sure it looks good, lots of pretty colors and a sweet flavor, but really there’s not a whole lot of substance. That never felt like Kingdom Kids or Student Ministry to me. We have some pretty amazing Student Ministry leaders and Kingdom Kids teachers who are committed to helping your kids grow in relationship to God and others. Instead of gumballs, I invite you to think of those 40 hours as brightly covered avocados or some other type of nutrient rich food. We work hard to give you a nutrient rich 40 hours a year for your child, and next week we’ll talk more about that. But this week, I want you to know that New Life also works hard to provide opportunities for you, the spiritual leaders in your home, and in the months ahead that will be a key focus of Family Ministry. I know it’s pretty common to think of your kids first, but I’m going to ask you to think about feeding yourself first. It’s true what the video said: “What happens at home is much more important than what happens at church.” As a church we get around 40 hours, but as parents, you have around 3,000 hours to teach your child who God is, who Christ is, who the Holy Spirit is, why the cross is so important, and how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.”
Nurturing our kids is such a wonderful privilege, but it can be a little scary, can’t it? I mean, it’s a big responsibility, one with eternal implications, and it has caused me to hyperventilate more than once. But we’re not meant to go it alone. We are meant for community, and you have a family here at New Life to go with you. That is our privilege. You and your family matter here. We want what happens in church or through this church family to fuel you and your home life because you can’t really develop a strong spiritual life in your children if you don’t have one yourself. So this week I want to challenge you to think about how you’re using your time. Are you finding time for you to talk to God and read His word? Are you involved in a small group? Have you made an effort to connect with others who challenge you to grow in your faith walk? Do you need a church to come alongside of you to help you be the best you can be for your family? You need to make that decision to lead your family, but when you do, we’d like to be a part of providing encouragement and opportunities.
There’s a great opportunity in front of us now. This week New Life is getting ready to kick off Transformed. It’s an opportunity for kids, teens, and parents all to be on the same page as we allow God to challenge us in 7 key areas of our life. In the next 7 weeks, we all have a chance to really leverage our gumballs. How exciting to think that this is something we could all do together, and what potential for lasting impact on the lives of your children. We love the chance to be a part of your children’s lives, but we’re no replacement for you. What do you say, can we commit to doing the next seven weeks together and see what happens?