The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University

Family Ministry

God created the family. It is still the core community for human beings. Life happens there. And Christian life happens there. That’s why the ministry of the church needs to focus attention on life and ministry in the context of the family.  Family Ministry is a place where we can explore issues and possibilities in ministry to the family.

 

In this issue we take a creative look at the resources of worship as a means of effective ministry to the family. And we discover that it’s about Rhythm: Practicing the Church Calendar to transform your church.

Featured Article

Rhythm: Practicing the Church Calendar to transform your church

 

It all started with a knock . . .

              The knock at the door brought us face to face with our oldest parishioners.  They had come over to discuss concerns about our Ash Wednesday service.  We had imposed ashes as a part of marking the season of Lent and now this precious couple was sitting in our living room.  “I truly believe that ashes limit the Holy Spirit.”  We looked into the earnestness of their eyes and knew that a line had been crossed.  They had been Nazarenes for two generations and now they were leaving the Nazarene denomination.    Using real ashes in our Ash Wednesday service meant that we were no longer on the right path.  

            We knew that using ashes gave a new meaning to our Lenten season and created a real sense of Jesus’ suffering for us.  Many of our converts at that church had Catholic backgrounds and it made sense to use ashes for an Ash Wednesday service.  But why did we care so much?  Why was this important enough to take a stand?

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Recent Articles

Reflections on My Adoption Journey

 

 

At the time of the writing of this article, my wife and I have just brought home our second son. This article is designed as a reflection on the journey to bring our son home, looking at the hardships, the joys, and the way that God walked us through the journey. It is my hope that those who have not gone through an adoption process will have a greater understanding of what is involved and might find ways to stand beside those who are in the process.

First, a few of the details. Both of our sons are adopted from South Korea. The oldest came home when he was 14 months (he is now five years old); the youngest was 28 months. Overall, the process for the second adoption took over two years from the submission of our paperwork to the bringing home of our son. Our referral (whereby we were matched with our son) was received in April of 2012 when he was six months old. The process to bring him home involved two trips to Seoul, Korea and two total weeks in country.

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A New Kind of Normal

 

I was only 24 when he died. I remember thinking, “I am way too young to be without a dad.” Plus, it was the first significant death I had experienced so I didn’t know the rules.

I didn’t know I might have trouble closing my eyes to sleep.

I didn’t know I might have dreams of his return.

I didn’t know there might be particular moments when society thought I should be crying but tears would not come.

I didn’t know the rest of the world would continue as if nothing happened, even though everything in my world had been shaken by the words, “He didn’t make it.”

And maybe--most troubling, I didn’t know this loss would have the power to change me, forever.

 

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Tags: Grief
 

Two Ears, One Mouth; Regaining the Art of Listening

 

Most professors have favorite sayings that capture a truth.  One of my favorites is “there is a reason God created you with one mouth and two ears.”  The implication, of course, is that maybe we were designed to listen twice as much as we talk.   As a faculty member in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry, our team correctly focuses much of our training and teaching on the skillful ability to teach and preach God’s Word.  Of equal importance is to develop the skill of listening.  Listening has multi-dimensional functions including, among others, the art of listening to God, to your spouse, to your children and family members, to friends, to those in authority, to those in the household of faith, and to seekers. 

It is my growing conviction that one of the paths to a holy life, a Christ-centered life is to become increasingly more skillful in the art of listening.  James 1:19 challenges each person to “’take note of this: Everyone should be should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”  One of my favorite authors, Marjorie J. Thompson states that “listening is the first expression of communication in prayer.  We know that listening precedes speaking in the development of children’s language skills.  The same order applies to the development of our prayer life.  Something in our spirit is touched by the Divine Spirit before we are drawn to speak.”   Today let’s explore the adventure of learning to listen to God.

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The Family Table

 

I grew up in a large family where I was given a seat at our family table from the time I was born. At first—I sat at a corner in a baby seat. While I did not eat from the table in those early days, I was the recipient of rich, life-giving nourishment.
I began to observe the exchange of words used to create a conversation.
I observed the use of manners and the extension of hospitality.
I participated as we paused to give thanks.
I observed the art of story telling, taking turns and what it means to pass the potatoes to the left. Before long I moved to a highchair—where I was invited to experience the rich morsels of food the rest of the family enjoyed.

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Tags: Family
 

A Pastor’s Discovery

 

I ran a little experiment over the last six weeks in our church that probably not many people knew about. The experiment was to determine if working with kids in the church was actually a "job" or an opportunity to serve in the name of Jesus. Average churches usually treat ministry to children as secondary to everything else going on at any given time and I just wanted to see if we were an average church.

The first phase of my experiment was to volunteer to lead the children's ministry, Community Kids, on Wednesday nights for six weeks. Normally, I would attend and even lead the study for men on Wednesday nights while the Community Kids Program went on downstairs, in our lower level. Instead, I volunteered to lead the Wednesday Night Kids program as we talked about our "Self-Portrait." We dealt with issues like the fact that God created us in His image. What that means, the way others see us. The way God sees us. How Jesus makes a difference. Etc. You get the point.

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Tags: Children