I have a friend who began attending martial arts classes several years ago. He is one of those guys who has a lot of interests, and so I thought that this interest would wax and wane like many others had. Over time, though, I was intrigued as he earned belt after belt and mastered skill after skill. Recently he celebrated completing his tests to earn a black belt, and he has begun leading and teaching other students.
The belt system has been good for martial arts. It provides measurable milestones for students, helping them set progressively harder goals, measure progress, and celebrate together as they move through the ranks. Students such as my friend are encouraged and guided in small manageable steps through achievement after achievement, all in visible progress toward their greater goal.
Here at SMRBC, we also have a great goal for our members. We want all of our members to have an active and thriving relationship with Jesus Christ – one that is reflected as they Encounter God in worship, Encourage each other their walks, Equip for deepening and defending their faith, and Engage both within and outside the church for the progress of the Gospel and the glory of God. For parents, however, guiding their child from infant to mature follower of Christ can be a daunting task. What if we could provide step-by-step resources for our families that moved them through achievement after achievement towards this greater goal?
With that in mind, we have begun developing the Building Blocks Family Ministry. The Building Blocks program is a framework for family ministry. It recognizes that there are many stages to life, and that these stages have different struggles and spiritual opportunities for growth. It seeks to equip parents with information and spiritual goals for their preschoolers and family at Parent-Child Dedication, with resources for helping their child grow to understand God and His Word as a child at Kindergarten graduation, and to begin confronting many of the unique challenges of adolescence and the teen years as the progress as preteens, middle schoolers, and teenagers and High School. We want to equip parents with relevant information for their immediate needs and help them to point their child, step-by-step, towards a thriving walk with Christ.
Each “building block” has spiritual goals to strive after and milestones to celebrate together as a church. We already recognize many of these milestones in our church family, such as Parent-Child Dedication, Graduate Recognition Sunday, and marriage. Our goal is to make sure that as our families approach these life changes, they are equipped and prepared to honor and grow in Christ through them.
The Building Blocks program also seeks to help marriages stay strong, and to facilitate mentoring from one generation to the next. We are still developing the details of this program. For more information on a similar approach, check out Shift, by Brian Haynes – or the website legacymilestones.com.
With gradual and well-planned guidance, my friend went from couch potato to breaking bricks with his bare hand. Can we, with so much more at stake and with so great a goal, be any less intentional and prepared about guiding families into maturity in Christ?
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9