Archives For family

Restless – Part 3

November 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Today is part 3 of a short series. My goal is to share with you what happens when my life starts to get chaotic and I start to feel like running away from it all. So each day I’m trying to say “Here’s what happens to me” and then secondly “Here’s how I try and fix that.” (Part 1, Part 2)

So today I want to talk about one of the results of chaos in my life:

Shallow relationships. When chaos abounds, friendships and marriages and families suffer. You and I default into “DOING” rather than “BEING” and pretty soon we have forgotten that we are relational people and not machines. If all I’m doing is working or going to meetings (which aren’t relational times, let’s be honest), or meeting deadlines – then I start to suffer, and so do those around me. Relationships are like roots to a plant. The deeper they go, the more nourishment and life they provide. But if they stay shallow then pretty soon the plant starts to dry up. I find the same thing is true with me.

A couple thoughts on caring for relationships: 

  • First, my marriage: I don’t want a normal marriage. I want a crazy awesome, life-giving marriage. For my wife and I to have a great marriage, we need time together to be humans. Adult humans. We love our kids, but we loved each other first, and we’ll love each other after the kids are grown and gone. So that requires us to go on regular dates. Anything less than twice a month and I start to feel distant from her. We also know that about once a quarter or so we need to get away for at least a night together, without the kids. And at least once a year we want an extended vacation alone together.
  • Family: As a family we have gotten into the routine of Friday nights as our “Family Fun Nights.” It’s a celebrated routine in our family. We protect that time like crazy. It’s usually pizza, a movie and popcorn. But sometimes we get creative, we go out, or we just play games. But it’s vital to our family to connect. On Saturday we try not to schedule much either. It’s generally reserved for resting, doing not much around the house, or occasionally going on an adventure to a park or hike somewhere.
  • Friendships: If I go for very long without doing something with some friends just to laugh and eat and have fun – I start to become less than human. And I’ll confess, of these three types of relationships – friendship is the hardest one for me to make time for. It’s the one that usually gets cut first.

Usually when I find myself ready to run, all I have to do is look at how much time I’m giving to my relationships to see a primary source of my restlessness. It’s funny how each one of these things seems to come down to that whole routine / schedule thing. But it does. Spending time with my wife, with my kids, or with friends requires me to be intentional with my time. When my schedule is too chaotic, all these things suffer. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do for ourselves is to learn to say “no.” No to opportunities, to overtime, to invitations or anything else that takes away from our relationships.

Tomorrow, a word about health.

 

facebooktwitterpinterestmail

An open family

June 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Family Portrait MailchimpI love my church family. We just finished up a series called “Family Portrait” in which we talked a lot about what it means to be part of a spiritual family called a church. One of the things that seemed to resonate with a lot of people was the idea that unlike our biological families – this family is open to anyone. It’s a family that always has room for more. A family where anyone and everyone can join. At STORYCHURCH we’ve continually heard from our guests how warm and welcoming our church is for them. Many have talked about how they feel like they belong almost immediately. And that’s exactly as it should be.

But here’s the problem. The more that we grow, the more difficult it is to keep that “family” feel. And so one of two things is bound to happen. The first possibility is that we start to turn inward. We could start to see new people as a threat to the close family we love. We could start to turn toward the familiar relationships we already have and neglect the guest who happens to visit on a given Sunday. Unfortunately, many churches choose this route – intentionally or not, they choose it. Pretty soon the growth stops and the church begins to die.

But the second possibility is that as the church grows, we celebrate that the family is getting bigger. We rejoice that there are so many people in the family now that we can’t even know everyone. We look at every guest as an incredible addition to the family – enriching us and making us better.

I know that for me and for STORYCHURCH – we choose the second of those possibilities. Every time someone is baptized, every time a marriage is restored, every time a child begs to go back to church, we rejoice that the family is getting bigger, reaching further, and having greater impact than we could ever have on our own.

So STORYCHURCH, here’s what I’m asking you to do to help the family continue to grow:

Continue to invite. Ask your coworker, your neighbor, your grocery store checker. Then ask them again. This family has room for more. No matter how full it feels, we will always have room for more. Whether we have to change venues or add services – we will do whatever it takes to let the family grow. Here’s a few things you can do to invite:

  • Keep a few cards handy. We have business cards available to you at the welcome table with all the information someone would need to take a look at STORYCHURCH. Keep them in your wallet or purse. Hand them out at work. Leave them with a nice tip at a restaurant.
  • Use Social Media. Make sure you’ve “liked” us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Whenever STORYCHURCH posts, retweet or share. Whenever you serve, post something about it like this — “Excited to serve at STORYCHURCH today! I’ll be greeting at the door, come and say hi!” Every time we get mentioned online it helps us become more visible to people searching for a family like ours.
  • If you have a blog – put a link to our church site on it.
  • Whenever you get our weekly emails, share them online, “like” them, forward them to a friend.

Treat every Sunday like a family gathering and you are the host. If a guest was in your house, you’d welcome them, offer them food, show them the restroom, find a place for their kids, offer them the best seat, the best parking spot, and the last bagel. You’d engage them in conversation, ask about their kids, and do everything you could to make their time with you comfortable.

Contribute. A growing family has growing needs. We’re asking that you will find a place to serve, to help us create environments where guests feel welcomed into the family. From greeters to food service to kids workers – there’s a place for you to serve. (You can find out more about serving by going to www.storychurch.org/serve) Another way to contribute is to give. Be faithful with what God gives you. If you love this family and want to see the family grow, be faithful to give as often as you receive so that the family can continue to grow and cover the expenses necessary for a growing family. (Give online here.)

I believe we have an incredible family together, and it’s way too good a thing to keep to ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to act on this today!

facebooktwitterpinterestmail