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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

POLL: Top Ten Issues Facing Families

FamiliesA two-round survey by the Internet strategies department of LifeWay Christian Resources found top ten issues facing today's families.  Here are the results:

1. Anti-Christian culture;
2. Divorce;
3. Busyness;
4. Absent father figure;
5. Lack of discipline;
6. Financial pressures;
7. Lack of communication;
8. Negative media influences;
9. Balance of work and family;
10. Materialism.

Interesting.  If these are the top ten things that families are dealing with; how is your church helping minister in each of these areas?  For example, how does your church help encourage a proper balance of work and family (and church)?  How is your church helping fill the gap of the absence of father figures in your congregation?  How is your church helping people deal with their busyness?

It seems to me that issues such as these should be addressed head-on by the church if these are the everyday issues that families are dealing with.

FOR DISCUSSION:  How can your church do better in these areas of ministering to family needs?

Reports and resources compiled to address the top 10 issues are available online at www.lifeway.com/top10.

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May 10, 2006 in Trends in Today's Church | Permalink

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Comments

My pastor has preached on many of the above topics in recent times. Our church has always reached out at the point of need, meeting people right where they are with the Gospel. In 12 years they have grown from 60 people to over 4000. Lives are being changed all the time. Hey, I'm proud of my pastor!

Posted by: MusicMan | May 10, 2006 9:05:20 AM

I think a few (not all) of the list's items are "cop-outs". Really... "Anti-christian culture" as the number one? I really don't think so. Maybe a lack of the creation of a Christian culture at home?

Posted by: Peter Hamm | May 10, 2006 9:13:40 AM

The solution:
Men, Read your Bible with your family; your wife, your children.

Pray with your wife for your household, finances, children, family, friends and coworkers.

Pray with your children and learn their struggles and the things they are thankful for.

Cherish and love your wife.

Woman submit to your OWN husband, honor and respect him. Pray for him, help him where he is weak and encourage him. Praise him and thank him.

Children obey your parents.

Posted by: BeHim | May 10, 2006 11:53:54 AM

Come on ! Amen ! Preach it ! Go Pastor.... Go Pastor!

Posted by: Jeff | May 10, 2006 12:29:53 PM

Funny you should ask. Our church has been doing a series of sermons on balancing the things in life that seem to get in the way. Time, work, family, money, etc. The series is titled “Finding Margin” and MP3’s for podcast (sorry, no video yet) can be found at our website Compasswired.com

Our church is still new, and small, so we haven't run up against all these issues yet, but hopefully we'll be prepared when we do.

Posted by: DanielR | May 10, 2006 1:34:32 PM

All ten are from the same thing - a toxic cultural environment that we live in. We live in a world and culture where we are expected to live for oursevles at the expense of anyone else, which leads to wanting more, demanding to be happy, over commiting so as not miss anything we have a right to, irresponsible financial lives, and no time to create healty well balanced families.

Some how this have been packaged in way so that even believers find this to irresistable. Are helping families to change? At our church I give us a low "C". This is going to take a while to turn around. But it has be a priority.

Posted by: Kent | May 10, 2006 2:20:22 PM

I am coming to the belief that more and more the church is like a car. In the inception back in the 1800's few were around and they were pretty nice to have one, but they were not without faults and needs, daily fixing this or that, constant tuning up and always getting stuck in the mud.

As time has worn on, the car has become an American Icon, in the 60's they were coined as Muscle Cars because of their great power and speed. Still they were not without faults and needs, always needing tune ups and getting a great nine miles to the gallon of gas.

As the great technology boom of the late 80's and 90's has put more and more emphasis on leaner, meaner machines, we look at the former names that have been taken from the market and are in history books only to see new shinier ones replacing the former.

In the 2000's we have seen the cost of a gallon of fuel jump to one, two and three dollars a gallon with no slowing in most’s sight. We are now to the point that we demand leaner, meaner, cleaner cars that have the bling and all the power and grace that we were brought up with to have fantastic fuel mileage and the speed of a Viper.

We are NOT going to revert back to the Gremlin and the MustangII. We want bigger better and wilder rides than we have ever had without the extra expense of $45 to $70 a tank-full. Give us alternative energy that is as explosive as gas and as powerful as 500 horses, and give it to us yesterday.

When will it end? It won't any time soon. We are addicted to this type of mentality, so we are with the church and all the ills that come along with a rag tag group of people that meet to worship God and live right.

Posted by: Jay Gainer | May 10, 2006 2:58:57 PM

What we have done:

1. Anti-Christian culture - expect it. We are to suffer as Christians. What's the big deal! We need to teach the full counsel of God. The world hated Jesus...it also hates us!

2. Divorce -

A. Premarital counseling required before marriage.
B. Good examples in leadership.
C. Biblical counseling for couples.
D. Discipleship/Sunday School/Sermons on strong marriages.

3. Busyness - This is a problem area. The key is commitment to Christ. Teaching people to take up their cross daily will help overcome this.

4. Absent father figure - Teach men biblical manhood. Teaching teens to "wait until marriage." Part of the challenge is that sometimes only one in a couple will get saved and this makes a difficult marriage worse as the unsaved husband files for divorce.

5. Lack of discipline - Teaching the full counsel of scripture. Implement discipline in the church.

6. Financial pressures - Teach and model biblical stewardship. This is part of premarital counseling.

7. Lack of communication - This is a long term problem. People who become Christian carry bad communication habits. Small cell groups and Sunday School classes, counseling, and sermons. Mentoring helps here.

8. Negative media influences - see number 1 above. The world hates Christians. Teach the membership to turn off media and listen to Christian music and read the Bible!

9. Balance of work and family - Stewardship, stewardship, stewardship.

10. Materialism - Biblical priorities and stewardship.

We haven't conquered them. It requires Christians learning to "put off" the old man and "put on" the new.

Posted by: Dan Moore | May 10, 2006 5:30:11 PM

What saddens me about this list is to see the anti-Christian culture is seen as the #1 “issue” (read: problem) facing families. I have a hard time imagining the Jerusalem church immediately following Pentecost stating that the biggest problem they faced in growing the church was the “anti-Christian culture” of the first century (which was at least as pagan as ours). My hunch is that they saw it instead as their #1 opportunity. Could it be that this item made the top spot on the list because families and churches have lost the missional edge? To claim that the culture is our biggest problem makes those who are part of it (anti-Christian people) into enemies we need to protect ourselves from rather than the mission field we need to reach. In fact, a case could be made that the “anti-Christian culture” exists in the first place because of the failure of the western church in its Matt. 28 missional assignment.

A few have said in response “the world hated Jesus, so we should expect the world to hate us and get over it.” I have a different take on the way the world hated Jesus. Yes, I understand that the early church did indeed experience some persecution from pagan governments, and plenty of Christians around the world are persecuted today. But I don’t buy it that we are “persecuted” here in America. I can stand on the street corner and say anything I want without fear for my life, and I don’t have to hide my bible or sneak my family to church. While Jesus was walking and talking on this earth, the ones who hated Him most were not the pagans and those far from God. Those who hated him the most were self-righteous religious leaders who were self-righteous and thought themselves better than everyone else.

So to the question “how should we minister to people who are facing [for example] the pressures of an “anti-Christian culture,” I’d suggest, “tell them to get out there and get dirty living and ministering in the ‘culture’ – and for heavens sake don’t expect to come and hide out here in our church.”

Wendi

Posted by: Wendi | May 10, 2006 6:19:53 PM

Where are you guys coming from? Our church is reaching out to the community, and the families coming to our church are either new believers, or they're seekers. They were raised in dysfunctional single family homes. They don't have a solid biblical foundation (they don't have ANY biblical foundation). Why are they coming? They're coming because they have problems and they're looking for answers. They need relevant sermons that apply to real life issues, not religious one-liners. The truth is, a condescending judgmental attitude will only drive them away from the gospel.

Posted by: Allen | May 11, 2006 11:41:49 AM

I'm not being "judgmental" when I note that we need to "get over" the issue of the world hating us. It is a fact. We have it easy in the U.S. - that is agreed. But according to this survey, the perception is that there is a bias against Christians. Again, so what! Our mission is not to sit around and whine about it. Jesus' mandate was simple: "Go into all the world and make disciples..." Before He came to that instruction, He earlier prepared them that it would not be easy. My church has done quite a bit of door-to-door evangelism and some folks were quite hostile. That did not stop us from reaching out and ministering. It is not judgmental to instruct young Christians the reality that Christianity is not popular with some people. They need to be prepared. Sometimes there will be people seeking answers - Hallelujah! And sometimes the person approached will snap angrily. And then there was the missionary who survived an attack in Iraq that spoke at a local missions banquet. Her husband and three friends died in the attack. Why? They were Christians.

Posted by: Dan Moore | May 11, 2006 4:11:31 PM

Oh yes, "busyness"---I know it well...

And all of its' cousins.

And the "church" usually doesn't help matters when it comes to "busyness..."

I once had a pastor who sincerely believed that every free moment of my time (since I'm a single man) should be spent at the church or in church activities.

And called me rude and rebellious when I refused to spend every single moment of my non-working time at the church or in church activities.

We've decided to measure "spirituality" by the amount of "frenetic" busyness that we can manufacture in local churches.

And that's truly sad.

Even the world doesn't do that.

Posted by: Phil Hoover-Chicago | May 11, 2006 4:26:30 PM

We are in a world situation which I would call: Post-Modernity, Post-Christendom, and Post-Scale time in history. By Post-Modernity I mean that "almost everything can be done by 'hiring out' or by 'machines'; and there is almost no need for direct human contact and human conversations (e-mails, on-line chats, finding a person to marry on -line, etc..). Post-Christendom-The need for tradition worship and liturgy is no longer. We have more non-denominational Christians now than ever in the human history. The order of worship is not a big deal and "doin' what comes naturally" is the trend. Post-Scale is that we have so much knowledge and technology that not only can we protect ourselves with them, but we can totally destroy humaniy with them as well. Therefore, the 10 issues, I believe, came out out of the phenomena I mentioned above.

Posted by: Dr. May Tucker | May 16, 2006 1:58:12 PM

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