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Family

Striking the balance: Shepherding the family and the flock, Part II

Editors’ note: Part I of this article was published earlier this week. Be fun to live with “Joy” is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). If your Christianity makes you dreary and dull, you don’t understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit nor what Christ has done. If pastors would reflect the joy of…

Striking the balance: Shepherding the family and the flock (Part I)

“They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept” (Song of Songs 1:6). The PBS documentary “Carrier” is a fascinating look at life on board the USS Nimitz, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that bestowed its name on an entire class of ships. More than five thousand sailors and marines…

The tools your church needs for effective family ministry

How can your ministry equip parents with the resources they need? In the first place, help parents to see that if they are believers in Jesus Christ, God has already equipped them with his Spirit, his Word and the community of faith (John 16:12–14; Eph 4:11–16; 2 Tim 3:16–17; Heb. 13:21). Through these gifts from…

Raising future men and women

  When our grandparents were raising our parents, popular culture was not as dramatically at odds with the biblical understandings of gender as it is now. The current cultural confusion over gender, however, requires parents to be highly intentional if they want to raise masculine sons and feminine daughters. There are no generic people. There…

Too busy to lead family worship?

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a Baptist pastor in London for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. His is one of the most recognized names in Christian history, but he’s best-known today as the Prince of Preachers. An electronic search of the mountain of material produced by Spurgeon reveals that he often referred…

Hardship as preparation for ministry

  Chris Hurley moved his family of nine to Southern Seminary despite knowing the hardships they would face. Those hardships, in his words, are preparing his family to serve the church. “I am here to prepare to be a servant leader of Christ’s bride. My family and I are experiencing these hardships now, and I…

Why Christian parents should not want good, happy, safe kids

  “I cannot believe that you would do that!” That incredulous assertion is an all too familiar response from parents (including myself) who discover a child has sinned. But for Christian parents, such an assertion is anti-Christ because it constitutes speaking as if the gospel is not true. It represents the response for a parent…

Balancing family and ministry: Part 1: priority and capacity

  Over the last several weeks I have been pulled aside by several young pastors asking me for advice. They want to know how to balance the demands of ministry and the demands of their family. These are younger guys in their 20s and 30s and they are stressed out. They’re feeling the pull to produce and be…

Don’t you already have kids?: Adding to your existing family through adoption

  I can hardly breathe,” I told my wife. And I meant it. We were in an old elevator headed to the third floor of a battered women’s shelter in downtown Taipei City, Taiwan just seconds before meeting our two new daughters. They were five-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years old respectively, and were just as nervous…

Shaping a child’s soul, a task too important to be turned over to the professionals

  I saw something beautiful one day while walking down Breckenridge Lane. In a front yard not far from my home, a young mother was removing a layer of leftover leaves from the fall in preparation for planting spring flowers — an ordinary activity in the middle of an ordinary day. What was extraordinary about…