Charting Your Family’s Spiritual Course

by Kelley Mathews

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Decades of moral and spiritual decay have left our foundations crumbling. Our families are in disarray and our nation’s homes are broken, and we continue to lose ground at an alarming rate.

Are parents being the spiritual leaders that they should be? Are children being discipled in the home?  Until these basic commandments from scripture are being heeded, our nation will continue to wallow in mediocrity and moral relativism. This has already gone on for more than 2 generations. Must it continue?

What’s one possible solution? Let’s make our families great again! Let’s strengthen the foundation that supports this great nation. The foundation of marriage must be upheld. Parenting around Christian core values must be the topic of the dinner table again. Teach them day and night for generations upon generations.

When it comes to your family’s spiritual destiny, you can’t just “wing it.” We all know the adage attributed to Benjamin Franklin: if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

I discovered this for myself after about fifteen years of marriage. My wife, Wanda, and I had gone away for the weekend to evaluate where our family stood, and she recognized the treacherous ground that lay ahead for our three children. She asked if I thought they were really prepared to defend their faith in the college environment, for example.

I realized I needed to start with where I was and what I knew, and trust God with the rest. As a business man, I had been exposed to a solutions strategy exercise, which examines desired outcomes and objectives based on overall values, culture, environment, and other related components. From this information, a complete business plan can be developed. I thought, why not use what I know and apply it to my family?

Remember, this is a team exercise, and I involved my whole family in determining what we wanted to achieve, and then we brainstormed together ways to reach those goals, to come up with a family plan worksheet. It was a simple yet transformational process and tool.

We began by listing, in discussion together, a vision and mission for our—where we wanted to be spiritually. Next, we wrote down our non-negotiable values. Finally, we set our goals—those steps that would help us reach our vision. We also included something big we wanted to pray for together as a family. During this process, I encouraged us to meditate on Deuteronomy 6:4–9:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

I suggested we set no more than three goals, then guided our thinking toward those that would focus our family on how to demonstrate the Word of God, that would encourage us to stand firm in our beliefs, and that would equip us to share the hope we have in Christ. We decided together that over the course of a year we would study the Gospel of John, we would complete an apologetics study, and we would all be able to recite the books of the Bible. We set a time to meet every other Sunday evening and a leadership rotation including each of the children.

For our family prayer, we decided that every year we would all pray together for an unsaved extended family member. I can’t express how amazing it was, year after year, to see those family members come to know Christ because of the faithful prayers of my children. It emboldened me to set intentional visits with these family members, and God’s Spirit moved them to conviction every single time!

To this day, even though my three children are all grown, we still get on a conference line together every other Sunday evening, and continue our time of family Bible study, now including my kids’ spouses/significant others. What a blessing, to know that my children have caught the vision, and will pass their spiritual legacy on to their own children!

Based on the book Do Your Children Believe? Becoming Intentional about Your Family’s Faith and Spiritual Legacy.

Terence Chatmon

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Terence Chatmon is president and CEO of the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International (FCCI.org), a network of executives spanning more than 100 countries that equips and encourages leaders to see their companies and careers as powerful tools for Kingdom building. He is the author of Do Your Children Believe? Becoming Intentional about your Family’s Faith…
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