WRITTEN BY TRACEY.URQUHART | PUBLISHED APRIL 29, 2014 Family Ministry Goal: Parents engaging their faith in the context of their family; kids, following their example, engaging faith for themselves.
Sounds like a reasonable goal. But what does it actually look like? How do I flesh this out and measure when I’ve got there? What does engaging faith look like to me? For parents? For kids? What about a 4 year old? A 7 year old? A 12 year old? What does this actually look like?
Enter the Holy Spirit. Teach me. Show me. Story. (You know that you the leader will always be asked to go first…)
We noticed her hair falling out sometime in December. We watched as our happy-go-lucky 7 year old began to be subdued and shy. Her worship changed, she no longer shared during kid’s church, and she was too embarrassed to ask others for prayer. We sought out medical attention, but the treatment wasn’t working. We waited. We watched. We prayed. More hair in the sheets, in the brush, in the bath; less hair on her head. We tried to cover it up so no one would notice. But I noticed and my heart broke.
These words rang like a bell as they came from a friend, a lay pastor in our church, my senior by a number of years, “The most difficult thing for me as a parent was watching my kids learn how to engage their own faith. You can cover her in prayer, but this isn’t about you, it’s about her. You need to step back and let her engage her faith. She needs to have Jesus speak to her.” Those words began a journey of sorts. I began to ask my daughter what Jesus was saying to her. She said she felt something in her heart, but wasn’t sure what it was. So together we prayed for clarity. Jesus speak and make it CLEAR.
And He did.
She saw a picture of an animal in her mind. “I don’t know what it means, but he keeps showing it to me.” Together we researched the animal; we prayed the positive characteristics of this animal for our daughter, together with our daughter. Great vision, great hearing, great speed, endurance. Each of them positive spiritual qualities. On my own I continued to research this animal and ask the Holy Spirit what this meant for my daughter and for me. My husband and I set time aside to pray together. As we prayed God showed us how this animal related to our prayers, what we needed to pray through. We interceded, we covered, we prayed through generations past. We sought God’s wisdom, direction, revelation, healing.
And then we were done.
We didn’t know how to engage our faith anymore. We had asked, God had answered. We now waited on him to continue to be revealed in her. That very same day she came home and said her head felt completely normal. That day her hair stopped falling out. We eventually received a diagnosis of Alopecia Ophasis. And we still had opportunity to continue to engage our faith. Our daughter sought out Jesus, asking him if she should do the treatment, as parents we had to do the same. We needed to decide if his words to her were also his words to us. We engaged our faith and believed.
So what does it look like for parents to engage their faith and for kids to engage faith for themselves? Well, to me it looks a lot like family. Family, on a journey, taking a risk to share with each other, trusting each other to hear God’s voice and then believing that what he says, he will do. Because he is faithful to complete the good work he began in you! (Phil 1:6).
What does engaging faith look like in your context?
How has God asked you to “go first” with your family? How are you sharing that with others in your family and your ministry?