About a year ago the Herald Review published an article that highlighted a number of runaways from the Grand Rapids area. The article stated that there are currently four teens from Grand Rapids listed on a national registry of missing children.
The reality: we live in a broken and hurting world! It is also fair to say that one can look around at our community and conclude that families and marriages are hurting like never before.
In a recent sermon I noted that even within the church there are families and marriages that struggle. The stats tell us that even in churches like ours, most students walk away from church and Jesus after they graduate from high school.
Something has got to change within the church family, including ours. Churches must begin to rethink the possibilities of what can happen if God changes our hearts. We need to be “Making Space for (spiritual) Change” when it comes to families and marriages.
What if we, as a church family, would apply to families and marriages what Paul wrote in Phil. 3:13-14?
“I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.”
If this actually took place in families, just think of some of the goals that we could aim for as we look ahead. We could become:
- A church where hurting families are welcomed, are loved and would find the courage to walk a new path.
- A church where hurting marriages find help by being mentored by trained couples that are waiting to love and walk with them in the journey toward a healthy marriage.
- A sanctuary where single parents could come to find care, grace, and resources to walk that difficult journey.
- A church where youth from homes that have no spiritual foundation could find adults that would become spiritual parents and give them hope for a Christ centered future.
What would it take to fulfill those goals?
There are some obvious things: parenting classes, marriage retreats and more learning opportunities. But I believe first it would be for us to see as Jesus saw, and be moved to compassion because we see the hurting.
Second, it will take a greater commitment to become disciples who disciple. That means we must open our lives as a mom, as a dad, as a husband, and as a wife to walk with someone relationally that is a bit farther from Jesus than we are.
What do you think? Would you pray with me that we become a church with a clear vision for hurting families and marriages?
~ Pastor Ken