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Tips for better family time during Christian Home Month

The Rev. Maidstone Mulenga poses with his wife Charity and daughters Lukonde and Mukuka. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Maidstone Mulenga.
The Rev. Maidstone Mulenga poses with his wife Charity and daughters Lukonde and Mukuka. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Maidstone Mulenga.

While Christian Home Month is typically celebrated during the month of May, congregations may choose any month of the year to focus on the Christian home and its key role as a center for faith formation, as stated by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. For the complete set of Christian Home Month resources, click here.

Family Devotion
Prepare a gathering place for family worship. Create a centerpiece on the table where you eat your meals or in another area of your home where you can gather as a family. Include a candle, the words "Love God, Love Others" written and placed next to the candle, and items that remind you of God. During your time of devotions, follow this worship sequence:

  • Praise: Praise God with a song, or simply start your time saying together, "We Praise God."
  • Prayer: Use a family prayer or say the Lord's Prayer. Hold hands as you pray.
  • Reading: Read a Scripture passage of your choice, a short devotional passage from The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide, or another devotion of your choice.
  • Reflection: Ask each person to answer these questions, "What was your favorite part of this Scripture or devotion? What have you learned from this Scripture or devotion? What actions do you think we need to take because of this Scripture or devotion?"
  • Sharing: Family members share joys, concerns, and prayers for themselves and others.
  • Blessing: Use a hymn such as the "Doxology" or "Blest Be the Tie that Binds" to end your time together. Or use a simple dismissal, saying together, "God be with you" or "God's love surrounds you."

Family Night
Set aside a regular time for sharing family fun activities together. You could do the same activity each time (play board games, cook special treats, volunteer as a family in service to others, learn about people who live different lives from yours). Or each family night could be planned by a different family member, with the activity based on agreed-upon criteria.

Loving Others
Identify people in your community who are in need of knowing God's love (someone who has just lost a family member, someone struggling in school, someone new to your community, someone who can no longer drive a car, someone who is sick). Each month, make cards together to send to those who need to know God's love; or, as a family, visit someone from your church or your community who is alone and needs to know there are those who care about him or her.

Geoffrey Booker, 6, prays before mealtime at his home in Brentwood, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications

Learn About People Who May Be Persecuted By Others
In recent weeks, there have been increasing numbers of hate crimes by groups and individuals. Such hateful acts have included desecrating cemeteries, writing hateful words on buildings, hurting those different from themselves. Talk about these hard issues. Read together stories in the media; then ask, "How would God want us to act in this situation? What would 'loving God and loving others' look like in this situation?" As a family, decide on actions that you might take, such as: visiting in houses of worship different from your own, writing to officials, or joining others in your community to provide food or clothing to those hurt by hateful actions.

Refrigerator Reminders
Post on the refrigerator a Scripture passage, a line from a hymn or song, an inspirational thought, or a brief prayer. Change the reminder each Saturday. Place this at a level that all in the family can see when they open the refrigerator door.

Scripture / Prayer / Thought-for-the-Day Cards
Buy a spiral notebook of index cards; write a favorite Scripture verse, short prayer, or thought for the day about love on each card. Illustrate each card. Each day, turn over one of the cards to reveal the Scripture verse, short prayer, or thought for the day to read aloud.

Idea Starters for Conversations around the Table (or at any time)

  • What did Jesus mean in saying, "Love your neighbor as yourself"?
  • Name a kindness you would describe as an act of love. What other kindness could be described as an act of love?
  • Talk about an experience when you realized that God loves you.
  • Which "random act of kindness" expresses for you a good example of expressing God's love: Feeding a stray animal, sitting by someone you do not really like and having a conversation, taking out the trash when not asked to do so? Why is this a good example?
  • Talk about a time when you did not feel loved.
  • What is one of your first memories of being loved?
  • What are some loving experiences you have had at church – in Sunday school, worship, on retreat, during a special program?
  • Complete one of these sentences (or create your own):
    • God is with me when...
    • A person I know who shares God's love is…
    • My favorite story about love in the Bible is…
    • I would like to tell stories about Jesus to…
    • A favorite memory about church is…
    • The best church retreat ever was when…
    • If I preached a sermon, it would be about…
    • I like to be with my family when we…

Establish a Family Covenant for Love
This covenant can be renewed every three months; however, the basic elements of the covenant stay intact. The promise of love, forgiveness, acceptance, truthfulness, growth, and witness is the basis of the covenant. This leads to peaceful family living.

For additional Christian Home Month resources from Discipleship Ministries, click here.

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