I thought I would highlight what I took away from the conference.
The main speaker was Mark Holmen from Faith@Home. He made some really good points that I hope encourage you.
The first night he talked to us about the importance of parents and faith in the home. He stated that 60-90% of current christian children leave the faith after graduating high school. Wow. I knew the number were high but this really hit home. The main reason is they don't like how they see faith being done in the home. So what we are doing and how we are plays a huge role in our children future relationship with Jesus. Mom and Dad are two to three times more influential than any church program. To break it down further, mothers were the top religious influence for both males and females followed by father. So many people put their child's faith in the hands of Sunday school, church camp or pastors when they are secondary to the most important influence = parents. Did I feel some pressure when I left that night, absolutely! It wasn't anything I didn't know but a good kick in the pants. I feel we do an ok job living out our faith with our children but we can be doing way better.
He talked about how he and his wife decided to pray over their daughter at a young age a blessing. Each and everyday. Till she went away to college. It was Numbers 6: 24-26. He stressed the importance of finding the time every day to show Jesus to our children. I posted the verses by the kids bed so every day I can pray a blessing over them.
The second day he talked about a new vision for our families. There were two ways to set this in motion. The first one was a Family Mission Statement. Again, I've thought about it but never actually done it. So my goal is to have one drafted and ready to print for our home by March 1. This my attempt to keep myself accountable. Another act of bringing Christ in the home is Blessing of a Dwelling. This is basically praying over your new home with friends and family.
The last part of his talk was about a few practical things as parents we should be doing on a regular basis: faith talk, prayer, Bible reading, serve and boundaries/discipline.
He shared with us a free Prayer App that Faith@Home just created. It has different categories and it generates a new prayer by shaking your phone. Pretty cool.
We had two breakout sessions during the day. The first one I attended was by Neil Josephson of FamilyLife Canada. His session was titled The Paradox of Parenting. I liked how he defined parenting: to learn to live with God and without you. I thought it was simple and so true.
The second breakout session was by Jon Imbeau of Awana Canada. He spoke on Teachable Moments. I was looking for some practical tips to do this. There were a few ideas that got me thinking:
a] find a time in the day that works for the whole family to do devotions, Bible reading, prayer. We always sit down to eat as a family at night so I've decided this will be our family time. Uninterrupted family God time. We will sing, read, dance to worship songs ... whatever we feel like. I found a few kid friendly devotionals we are going to try.
b] memorize Bible verses: kids learn best through song so I thought we could make a little jingle to hep us memorize with the help of Daddy on the guitar. We usually sing our meal time prayers such as Johnny Appleseed or The Brown Cow so I think the kids will love this. I found a blog post about the top five scriptures for toddlers to memorize so we might start there: Teachers of Good Things. c] have your child catch you in prayer and reading your Bible.
Everyone always leaves a conference stirred and excited but I hope by writing this I follow through. This isn't just something a little important. It's the most important thing I will ever do. It's eternal life for my children. It's the joy of a relationship with Jesus that I want my children to have.