(Please be sure to read to the bottom – there is some very cool news down there!)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
A few years ago, a national business magazine pictured a man staring out the window; and captioned it: “Why does a company pay this man $100,000 to look out the window?” The answer: Because the lifeblood of any organization lies in ideas and creative thinking. Thinking is powerful. Airplanes, air conditioning, vaccines, the internet, – without thinking they all would have been impossible. Everything begins with a simple thought.
Ideas are a moving force in history. We can’t do what we can’t conceive. Having a godly mind enlarges our thinking capacity. What are you and your family thinking about this summer? Maybe it’s an upcoming vacation. Maybe it’s changes you’d like to make. Whatever it is, here’s help to shape your thinking:
Family Vision: What is your dream? Carl Sandburg was right: “Nothing happens unless it is first a dream.” Family vision isn’t visual, it’s mental. It’s a process of your mind. Vision is more than seeing what anybody might see; it’s thinking what nobody has thought. Do you know what the Egyptians needed to build a pyramid? One person who could think and ten thousand people who could work.
Family Values: That’s not a political statement. It’s how we treat one another, how we live, what’s vital among us – it’s the truly important. Family values are the standards, principles, and code of conduct that characterize your family. Values aren’t dreams; they exist. Parents shape and form their family’s values. You’ve heard about universities that pour new sidewalks after students have first worn some paths. Where are the well-worn paths – the practices, beliefs, attitudes – that matter most to your family? You may not like them, but those are your values.
The Family Vehicle: What will get you there? I’m not talking new minivan! (And, by the way – no matter how snazzy the onboard systems – you’re still going to end up with a pop tart jamming a seatbelt.) The Family Vehicle is how your family can accomplish your desired outcomes. A dream without a strategy is merely wishful thinking, but with a strategy, with plans, it becomes powerful, spiritually formative thinking.
Family Victory: What will the celebration be like? Great parents think like champions. They think about how to raise spiritual champions. The result is to move forward, to accomplish goals, to be God’s faithful servants, to celebrate being a part of God’s kingdom.
Summer is a good time to reflect upon what in your family has gone well and what requires adjustment. It’s a good time to think about what needs realignment to God’s will. Wake up and start thinking. It’s a good time to ask God to continually renew your mind.
A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. Proverbs 14:15
Now – here’s that news I promised:
For a couple of months we’ve had a terrific WIN (What’s Important Now) team of staff and volunteers working on this huge charge – Prepare for and drive the growth of children’s and youth ministry by evaluating our current programs, developing a cohesive, impactful faith development pathway from infants through high school graduates, and implementing that pathway.
Our goal is to partner with parents, and better equip them to be the spiritual heads of their households. While our team still has much work to do, we’re excited to give you this sneak peek at some of what’s coming this fall for our children and youth.
- Full hour, age-appropriate Sunday environments for K-5 during both worship times. Parents will check their children in before worship, providing us more time to work with the children, and alleviating the safety challenges of moving the kiddos during service.
- New locations within VHS, with new furnishings, programming and tech enhancements. By the grace of God, we’ve been reaching more children – and we need more room. What a great challenge!
- New worship format designed especially for children – since they’re no longer participating in the opening portion of worship in the auditorium. (While we won’t prevent families from worshipping together, we’ll encourage children to be in the environments designed for them, while adults are in the auditorium. If your family prefers to worship together, we suggest doing so at one hour, and then serving in your child’s environment or another ministry area during the second hour.)
- New formats for APEX Youth Growth Groups and our .changed experience.
Look for more information about all this in the next few weeks, and continue to pray that our leadership teams will be refreshed and strengthened this summer for the ministry year ahead. See you Sunday!