Creative Ways to Reach Your Kids for Christ
About the Guest
How exciting is your family worship these days? Greg and Martha Singleton dispel the myth that family worship can only occur in a pew on Sundays and instead encourage parents to worship with their children daily through teachable moments and intentional conversations that point them to God.
Greg and Martha SingletonMartha and Greg Singleton have, for 30 years, met the challenges of balancing successful careers and raising a faith-filled family, and in the process, have gained some valuable insights. Chosen as one of Texas’s Top Ten Teachers by the University of Texas last year, Martha was also named by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Wall Street Journal as one of four Distinguished Newspaper Advisers in America in 2007. Since 1972, Martha has built some of the nation’s most highly acclaimed sch...more
How exciting is your family worship these days?
Creative Ways to Reach Your Kids for Christ
Bob: And I think it’s important for parents too, to recognize when you tell those stories it doesn’t always have to be where you are the hero and where you did everything right. In fact your kids may learn more from the times you admit how you messed up.
Greg: Being real is so important before your kids. I think the tendency is as parents a lot of times to hide our struggles and that really doesn’t teach our children that we have struggles and secondly that God is faithful to work in our lives in the midst of struggles and difficult times. That becomes a real teaching point and a point of worship when we begin to reasonably share with our kids the difficulty that we go through, the things that we are struggling with individually and as a family. Then bring it to the Lord and watch Him work. What a testimony that is to kids.
Dennis: It really is. I’ve got a friend who has four daughters and the recent economic downturn has placed some challenges upon him as a businessman. Instead of shouldering that alone he really brought it to his family to discuss and talk about and ultimately pray about. In the family meetings he talked about his fear and his faith.
He talked about his unbelief in trying to get to faith and not always getting there as quickly as he wanted to and he talked about his doubt and how that made him feel as a man. As he shared the story I thought how fortunate those young ladies are to hear of authentic struggle over faith.
We are losing a generation that is coming out of high school and college who are leaving the church in droves. You have to wonder if a part of why they have left the faith is because when they looked at home they either saw what looked like perfection that they couldn’t relate to or…
Bob: A difference between what mom and dad were telling them is true and how mom and dad were living.
Dennis: Yes, and you have to wonder if as they began to grow up and experience life and have disappointments and discouragement and doubt and unbelief and fear like we all do they didn’t have a faith that had been tested at home and equipped at home to really move to trust in God.
Bob: I think you have helpfully reframed the whole subject for us as we have talked about it. We think of family worship as being a structured time where you sit down and you sing a few songs and you have a Bible lesson and then you pray and that’s what family worship is supposed to look like. But as you’ve talked about the importance of sharing God’s work in your own life and in your own family every dinner table conversation about what’s going on in our lives can be an occasion to say where is God in the midst of this? How do we understand what the Lord is doing?
Greg: That is exactly right. We learn as children if we were raised in church we hear that God is with us always. I’m afraid that a lot of times especially in our families we really kind of shy away from that. Maybe we are trying to protect God a lot of times. But we shy away from the fact that even in the struggles and the difficult times the worship within that is that we know confidently that God is with us always. So that’s what we try to point out.
Martha: And you get there by the daily conversations. Twice in Deuteronomy and then again in Romans 12 the scripture says talk about me when you sit in your house, when you walk in the way or drive down the freeway, that says to me that we should be working to make that the divine. Really the focus of our life and our conversation all of our interaction should be where is God in this? How is God working in this?
Greg: The victories and the difficulties.
Bob: Whenever we talk about this I always go back to Psalm 78 and in Psalm 78 there is a recounting of the history of the nation of Israel and basically it’s a recounting of the failures and how we want to avoid the failures of the past because of how it impacted the nation. I want to read the first couple of verses of Psalm 78 because I think it gives a model for us as moms and dads.
The Psalmist writes “Give ear oh my people to my teaching. Incline your ears to the words of my mouth I will open my mouth in a parable I will utter dark sayings from of old things that we have heard and known that our fathers have told us.”
So there is some generational passing on here.
“We will not hide them from our children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and his might and the wonders that he has done.”
Again it’s both …well it goes on. It says “he established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel” and I think it’s important that it says both a law and a testimony—The word of God and the work of God. “He commanded our fathers to teach their children that the next generation might know them the children yet unborn and arise and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep his commandments.” And it goes on from there.
It really is how we unpack both the word of God and the work of God for our children and Psalm 78 says if you don’t do this your nation, the next generation, is headed for calamity.
Dennis: It goes on to say the part you didn’t read there at the end was, “and not be like a stubborn and rebellious generation” who had really blown it concerning the testimony and the law of God. They failed to pass on the works of God.
Let’s pull back and talk to a family who hasn’t ever done anything in terms of family worship. Where should they start?
Greg: I think the place to start first is they should be prepared and then be purposeful and then be perceptive. What I mean is that you need to be very intentional about doing this. You need to make the decision that this is what your family is going to be. You are going to be worshipers and be a family of worshipers. Once you make that decision and you are purposeful and intentional about that decision the next thing that follows is you begin to daily seek out the opportunities and create those opportunities that will allow you to point them to God. That is the first thing.
Don’t be discouraged because let me tell you that not everything that you say and do connects with kids. There is going to be sometimes that you have this great idea and you think it is going to be great and wonderful and you put it out there and they go now what. You need to understand that not everything connects with everybody in the family so you continue and you are purposeful about continuing to doing that and observing and watching what goes on from there.
Martha: The other thing is you don’t always know what is connecting. It may seem at the time like it just fell flat and nobody responded but God is responsible for the outcome. We are responsible for the obedience and do it and don’t worry too much if it didn’t work to well that night. Just try again tomorrow because you don’t know what really went into that child’s spirit that will come up later on.
Bob: I have an answer. Can I give my answer?
Bob: Here’s how you get started. You go to our website FamilyLife Today.com and you order the What God Wants for Christmas wouldn’t that be perfect?
Greg: That would be perfect.
Bob: This is the time of year you can get one of these out and you can start something at Christmas time and then get the recipe tin for Just Add Family and in the new year now you have a tool that you can use around the dinner table or at breakfast in the morning. It’s a way to creatively, easily engage the whole family in understanding God and Jesus and the Bible better. You can find out more about both of these resources on our website FamilyLife Today.com.
I just want to say a word about What God Wants for Christmas. Lots of families have found this to be a fun tradition during the Christmas season. It’s amazing how kids learn the Christmas story through an interactive nativity scene and how much they look forward to the surprise that is in box #7. Again all of the details about What God Wants for Christmas and Just Add Family can be found on our website FamilyLifeToday.com.
There is also information about the book Greg and Martha have written called Setting Up Stones: A Parent’s Guide to Making Your Home a Place of Worship. You can order a copy of that book from us as well.
You can order from us if you’d like or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY, that's 1-800-358-6329, that’s 1-800- “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life and then the word TODAY and someone on our team can let you know how you can get these resources sent to you.
You know we had some encouraging news arrive not long ago. Some friends of the ministry who had come to us recognizing that 2009 had been a challenging year for us as a ministry financially as it has been for a lot of ministries. These folks stepped forward and they said we want to encourage FamilyLife Today listeners to make a year-end contribution to FamilyLife Today and the way we are going to do that is by providing a matching gift. These folks have agreed that between now and the end of the year every donation that we receive they will match that donation dollar for dollar up to a total of $1,250,000. This is the largest matching gift opportunity we have ever been offered and frankly if we are going to take advantage of this opportunity we’re going to need to hear from as many of our FamilyLife Today listeners as possible. If you would consider first of all making a year-end contribution and then go online at
FamilyLifeToday.com or by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY and make a donation over the phone. Your donation whatever it is will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to the matching gift opportunity that has been presented to us.
We want to say thank you in advance for whatever you are able to do in support of this ministry. Because we are listener supported all of the costs that go into producing and syndicating this program are covered by donations. We appreciate those of you who are able and willing to partner with us in this effort. We look forward to hearing from you.
Tomorrow Martha and Greg Singleton will be back and we will continue to talk about what we can do to make our home a place of worship and keep Christ at the center not just during the Christmas season but all year long. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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