Families have always been the building blocks of society. But the 21st century has seen a speedy unraveling of the nuptial knot, and as a consequence, the gradual disintegration of the basic unit – the family. In spite of the moral collapse around us, Christians need to recognize that “family” is a God-given heritage with spiritual significance and legitimate strengths.
“There is no better invention than the family; no better substitute.”
Dr. Harold Voth said, “Destroy the internal structure of the family and you are going to wreck civilization.”
Christianity should begin at home. A home is as strong as its God-fearing parents. Family principles should be based on the timeless word of God. Family devotions both morning and evening will influence children to love and fear God. The Bible speaks of roles, responsibilities and relationships. It tells us how to run our lives and direct our families (Deut 6:6-8.) Children are admonished to honour their father and mother.(Deut 5:16) Our roles are not to be accepted grudgingly but with joy. When each person young or old accepts his or her responsibility, the family assumes a “corporate identity” with a built-in code of ethics. It is held together with love, honesty, discipline, trust, communication and the capacity to forgive. A family hemmed in by prayer is less likely to unravel. “Prayer is to the family what a roof is to a house,” says Tim La Haye.
Martin Luther felt that “Family is the school of Christian life,”
The strength of any church depends on the spirituality of its families. Churches need families for service and support. There are many ways in which families can support the church – through prayer, giving, witness in the community, respect for leaders and helping others to live better lives.
We can be effective witnesses by silently preaching the Gospel through our own personal lives. Our attitude, conduct and character at home, at work and in the community must glorify God.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Col.3:16)
Christian Hospitality Evangelism has been in operation since the early church. Lydia, Aquila and Priscilla are good examples. Many Christians all over the world open their homes for Bible study, fellowship, prayer, friendship and light refreshments. Some who do not go to church are comfortable in the home atmosphere and don’t feel lost or intimidated. “Hospitality with a purpose” is an effective ministry especially to those who are in need of love and acceptance. It is an opportunity to explain Scriptures to someone seeking the truth.
“Offer hospitality to people without grumbling.” (I Pet 4:9)
The church offers tremendous scope for service. Service to one’s fellowmen enhances the life of a Christian. Many young people have problems with rebellion, substance abuse, sex and behaviour. Parents with young children of their own can become involved in the Youth Ministry.
Housewives with marital problems may need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or a comforting embrace. Women with time to spare can actively take part in the Ministry to Women.
Similarly, harassed husbands would need the counsel of good men who can empathize and offer guidance where needed.
Old people are often neglected and lonely. They would welcome someone to cheer them up.
The church offers many opportunities for spirit-filled Christians. When we offer our talents to God, He will lead us to a meaningful ministry. It is time to reaffirm the role of the Christian family in witnessing and serving in the community. The church must be the family’s spiritual home. It should have a dynamic influence on every family and provide opportunities for fellowship and involvement in the church’s activities.