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10 Things Your Kids Will Learn from Your Marriage

I’m on vacation with my family, and today’s post is a guest post from Doug Fields.

Doug is one of the leaders who has set the pace for student ministry leaders over the last number of years, and he’s weathered the tensions that inevitably arise between leaders and ministry only to come out strong in both areas. Doug recently coauthored the book Married People with Ted Lowe.

By Doug Fields

When I speak on marriage, I’m always asked if I intentionally taught my kids about marriage.

The answer is yes… and, no.

Yes, there are times when we’ve talked specifically about marriage (either ours or ones that our kids have observed). But, for the most part, Cathy and I have been wise enough to know that our kids are constantly watching and learning from us without us having to do a lot of talking.

Our actions (both good and bad) are always teaching them about marriage.

I would be thrilled if my kids had a similar type of marriage that Cathy and I share… it’s definitely not perfect, but we’re both very proud of what we’ve developed over 27+ years.

 

10 Actions My Kids Have Caught Over the Years

Here are 10 actions that I know my kids have observed from us over the years:

 

1. Affection

Cathy & I are very affectionate and I like having my kids see me holding their mom’s hand, hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc… as often as I can.

 

2. Saying “I’m sorry”

 I want to be quick to use this phrase and I want my kids to hear me say it (and I have to say it a lot more than Cathy).

 

3. Affirmation

This is my primary love language so it’s easy for me to dish out encouraging words.

My kids get a lot of verbal affirmation, but they also hear me directing it toward my wife (which is really easy).

 

4. Attraction

I think Cathy is hot… and, I make it known around our family. I’ll regularly say, “Isn’t your mom beautiful?”

 

5. Time

Our kids know that we like to spend time together. When they see us steal time away to sit in the backyard and talk, or go in the hot tub, or go on a date night, or sneak away for the weekend…that’s a good message I want them to see.

 

6. Laughter

We laugh a lot in our house and my wife’s cute sense of humor cracks me up. I like having my kids see that my wife makes me laugh.

 

7. Respect

Opening the door for Cathy, saying “thank you” and “please” and showing her simple signs of respect.

 

8. Faith conversations

We’re not always praying in front of our kids, but they hear and see our faith conversations and know that we’re always talking about Jesus and what it means to be a follower.

 

9. The value of friends

Our house is well worn from the traffic of friends in/out of our house.

We love having people over and the Fields’ house is a regular hangout for some incredible friends.

 

10. Servanthood

I know my kids have had a better example in Cathy than with me because she’s the ultimate servant. Always asking, “How can I help? What do you need to make life better?” Serving one another is seen in the daily, little things and there’s many opportunities to serve.

 

Kids are always watching their parent’s marriage and yet too many marriages underestimate the power of modeling!

Children are taking daily recordings of what a marriage looks like and those recordings are definitely influencing and shaping their view of marriage.
Question: Do you have intentional actions that you’re modeling to your kids? Do you have some actions that are different from the ones I’ve listed?

If you do…leave a comment!

Special Offer This Week

My friends over at Orange Books are offering some great deals this week.

You can get any of the deals, any day this week, but, as a leader who’s passionate about people’s marriages, I wanted to highlight today’s featured deal:

 

9780989021333.ePUB

Buy one copy of the book Married People, and get all of this:

• “Why Marriage Ministry Is Doable for Every Church” (Orange Conference 2014 breakout by Ted Lowe, audio file)

• “Married and in Ministry” (Orange Conference 2014 breakout by Ted Lowe and Doug Fields, audio file)

• an annual subscription to MarriedPeople E-ZINE

Plus, when you tweet or share any of the deals on Facebook, you’ll be entered to win a prize.

Just go to to orangebooks.com, click on the Married People book and place your order.

So…what are some things your kids are picking up…for better or for worse? Leave a comment.

How To Stop Your Church From Growing Old (Orange Conference 2014 Talk Notes)

So how do you stop your church from growing old…you know, to the point where you’re all 60 years old and wondering what happened to all the young families?

It’s a question every church leader either struggles with, or ought to struggle with.

This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

So here’s the outline for my talk on how to stop your church from growing old.

Synopsis

It’s so easy for churches to lose touch with what families are going through. In this session, we’ll look at practical ways to make sure your church keeps speaking “family” through the generations, both in terms of content and in how you structure yourself to stay relevant.

1. How did we get here?

a. Irrelevance is always subtle but inevitable.

b. The bacon cheeseburger syndrome: everyone wants your church to grow…just not change.

c. The Google syndrome: the greatest enemy of your future success is your current success.

2. How do we get out of here?

a. Match your model to your mission. In most churches, the model doesn’t not match the mission.

b. Recruit next generation leaders to help you do it. The most effective strategies to reach the next generation will likely not come from the current generation.

c. Adopt a strategy to intentionally reach families.

3. Where do we go from here?

1. Design a main worship services that engages teenagers.

2. Decide you are not going to try to please everyone.

3. Develop an intentional strategy to impact families.

i.  Resource your family ministry team.

ii.  Synchronize your team around a master plan designed to reach families.

iii.  Refine your message.

iv.  Elevate community.

v.  Partner with parents.

Want to go deeper? These related posts may be helpful:

11 Traits of Churches That Will Impact the Future

9 Signs your Church Is Ready to Reach Unchurched People

7 reasons Churches that Want to Reach Unchurched People Don’t 

Further Information:

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas

Creating a Lead Small Culture by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy and Elle Campbell

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

Leading Change Without Losing It by Carey Nieuwhof

Want to stay completely on top of things? Sign up for my email list (near the upper right under my photo).

You’ll get a free ebook on reaching unchurched people, plus every post via email in a weekly digest and bonuses I send to my subscribers from time to time that no one else gets. 

Got questions or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

Starting a Church For Unchurched Families (Orange Conference 2014 Talk Notes)

Want to reach young families, but not sure how to approach post-modern, post-Christian families who live in your neighbourhood? This post is for you.

This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

Here’s my talk outline on Starting a Church for Unchurched Families.

 

Synopsis

You’ve probably figured out by now that the beliefs and value systems of an “unchurched person” are different than they were ten years ago.OC 14 YES

You also might have noticed that families in your community aren’t what they used to be. So, with all the change, how do you create a ministry to effectively reach the families in your community?

In this breakout, we’ll look at 12 characteristics of today’s unchurched families and discuss what these characteristics mean for your ministry.

 

Family in a Post-Modern, Post-Christian Culture

 1. In the world of family, ­­­everything’s changing.

2. It’s almost impossible to reach people you don’t like or understand.

3. Unchurched people listen most to the people they like the most.

4. Most churches for unchurched people begin with churched people. The problem is that most stay that way.

5. Place churched people who love, accept and know unchurched people in your key positions.

 

12 Characteristics of Today’s Unchurched Families

 

 1. They don’t come back when they have kids.

a. 50% of parents said that having children did not affect their connection to a church.  (Even many churched parents said that children did not change their level of churchgoing.)

b. 5% of unchurched parents said that having children helped them become active in a church for the first time.

 

2.They feel less guilty than you think.

a. Unchurched people feel no more guilty about missing church on a Sunday than you feel about missing synagogue on a Saturday.

b. Guilt is a short-term motivator.

 

3. When they attend, they attend less often.

a. Small Groups can provide the motivation for people to come more regularly.

b. No one should be able to out-community the local church.

c. Disconnected families generally don’t stick.

d. They will become your best inviters if they like your ministry.

 

4. Most are spiritual

a. Most unchurched people believe in some kind of God.

b. Respecting their past journey better enables them to start a new journey.

 

5. They’re intelligent, just not biblically literate.

a. Be inclusive without being condescending

 

6. They want you to be Christian. Be authentically Christian.

a. Don’t alter the content of your services for unchurched people, alter the approach and experience.

 

7. They expect transparency.

a.  admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weakness.

 

8.They struggle with every social issue you were hoping to avoid.

a. You can’t hold non-Christian people accountable for Christian values

b. Have conversations.

c. Allow ministry to precede theology.

 

9. Their kids matter to them… maybe even more than they should.

a. Safe is even more important than ‘right’ to families.

b. What you spend on families communicates value to unchurched families.

c. The quality of your team determines the quality of their experience with you.

 

10. They are looking for partners.

a. They’re looking for partners; they’ve just never thought the church could help.

b. Strategy is almost more important than content when it comes to partnering with parents.

 

11. They need help with the homeside of the Orange strategy

a. They are not sure what “Christian” means.

b. They do not have a precedent for what a Christian home looks like. So you need to make that clear.

 

12. They do not follow a predictable spiritual growth curve.

a. Design a flexible on ramp.

b. Think steps, not programs.

c. Maturity takes time.

d. Relationships matter most.

 

If you want to go deeper, here are some related posts that can help you and your team:

15 Characteristics of Today’s Unchurched Person

Why We Need a Different Kind of Maturity in the Church

How to Responds as People Attend Church Less Often

Want to stay completely on top of things?

Sign up for my email list (near the upper right under my photo). You’ll get a free ebook on reaching unchurched people, plus every post via email in a weekly digest and bonuses I send to my subscribers from time to time that no one else gets. 

Got questions or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

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