Ever since I can remember, church has been my second home. I am the daughter of two incredible parents who have been Worship Leaders and Music Ministers for hundreds of years (okay…that was dramatic, but it feels that way). My mom has pictures of me when I was just weeks old sitting in my carrier on stage at some huge worship conference while the band and singers were practicing. Worship and ministry is my heart. While I was in high school, I led worship for the youth group at my church. I saw students really experience God in a way I never knew was possible. I grew up a little bit and, at the age of 18, I met the love of my life and my BFF. What does he do, you might ask? He is a Worship Leader and Student Pastor! I know, I know. I just can’t get away from it!

I’m sure by now you’re probably thinking “Why is she spending so much time talking about her life?” I’m getting there…promise!

My husband and I met, dated, fell in love, got engaged, got married and had our baby girl dedicated all in the same church. Being a parent really shows you a different side of God that you don’t really experience until you have a child of your own. Many nights, during those 2:00-3:00AM feedings, I would passionately pray over her and ask Jesus to help me show her how to be like Him. It is our desire, as parents who know Jesus and have a relationship with Him, for our children to grow in His image.

As a little girl, I always thought of church as a building. Church was the place we went to when we had Sunday Morning services, Vacation Bible School and Fall Festivals. As I’ve gotten older and studied what the Bible says about the church, I’ve learned that the word “church” in the Bible refers to God’s people, not 4 walls, a floor and a roof with a cool church logo on the outside. The incredible thing about the discovery is that I learned to create a “church” at home. What do I mean by this? Let me explain…

The incredible men and women who God has called to lead the students at your church need your help. They do the best they can do with the little time they’ve been given to spend with your kids. They share God’s heart, teach the Gospel and help your kids learn how to grow in their relationship with Jesus. It is our job to create that environment at home.

Family Devotionals – Set aside a time every day to do a devotional as a family. It may work better first thing in the morning, or right before bed, but the important part is that you make time for it. With a 2 year old, our family devotional time looks a little unusual. We spend some time every night before she goes to bed to read Bible stories and teach her how to pray and talk to Jesus in her own way. Sometimes she prays for her “broken toe” (which is, amazingly not broken), but sometimes she expresses the sweetest prayer for Jesus to “keep all her friends and family safe”. It’s in those moments that we realize how important this time really is.

Create a Safe Zone – Kids and teenagers are often really uncomfortable talking to their parents about questions they may have. It is so important to allow your child to be open and honest with you. They need to know that they can ask questions and talk through situations without feeling like they are going to immediately get in trouble. Trust me, I believe there is a time and a place for discipline (refer back to the simple fact that I have a 2 year old), but when your kids are asking you questions, instead of their friend on the bus, you can control the information they are given. You can control the context in which you discuss these issues with them.

Ooze Jesus – “Ooze” is an intense word, but that’s why I used it. The most important part of this whole “church at home” situation is to make sure that, in everything you do, you are overflowing with Jesus. Sure, there will be situations when you will get frustrated and react poorly. There will be fights, arguments and a disagreement here and there. All of that said, Jesus needs to be at the center. When people look at your family, the love of Jesus should be so strong in you that it seems to spill out. Our world needs more families who will make a commitment to show Jesus to everyone they meet. Our country needs Moms and Dads who will lead by example and show their kids how to love like Jesus, even when they don’t feel like it. I challenge you to be those parents for your children. Lead by example and they will follow.

Creating an environment like this in your home will have its challenges. It will constantly change with life’s curveballs. Stick with it. There are souls that are hurting and need Jesus. The healing and saving of those souls begins in your home.

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