A few weeks ago I attended the Orange Conference as a blogger! I live-tweeted a lot of the sessions so if you were following me, you may have had a peek of how great it was. The Orange Conference is for pastors, leaders and volunteers in children, youth and family ministry. Their main philosophy is that the red love of the home should join with the yellow light of the church to make this fabulous orange ministry.
I love the idea and feel like that’s where my life, passions and philosophy have really come, too. I hope this blog is an asset to you as you partner with your church to raise your kids for the Lord.
Anywhoo. Most of the sessions at Orange were for the full-time pastor or volunteer. However, so many of the principles could be applied to every area of your life. OK, my life!
One of my favorite sessions was by my pastor, Andy Stanley. He was talking about creating a positive, healthy, fun-to-work-at staff culture. The more I listened, the more I realized these tips were perfect for MY family!
As Andy talked about his staff, the way their team works and what it’s like to work there, all I could think was, “I want this for my family!” Don’t we want a healthy, encouraging, life-giving, loving family environment? Don’t we want our kids to WANT to be with us? To be part of the family?
Andy’s first point and biggest suggestion (and the one I’m going to chat about today) is: mutual submission. Wow. Submission is a hard word for us. We’ve heard people argue about women submitting to their husbands; children submitting to their parents.
But what about mutual submission? Husbands submitting to their wives? Wives submitting to their husbands. Children submitting to their parents. And what? parents submitting to their children?!
How does this work? How do we submit to everyone in our family?
Andy answered the question, “Mutual submission says, ‘How can I help?'”. This hit me so hard. I feel like I have to be The Parent. Make sure I win and I’m in charge. I have to help my kids learn to be self-sufficient in life, their faith and school. My children are here to do and learn from what I say, right?
Saying, “How can I help?” is not just hard, it’s a focus-shifter. It takes the blame (or focus) off of the other person and puts it back on ME.
“Lydia, how can I help make your chores more attainable for you to complete?”
“Asa, how can I help you be confident when Mommy is not around?”
“Les, how can I help you ease your workload?”
These questions might not always come out of your mouth exactly that way. But when I am focused on, zeroed in on and engaged with each family member (and NOT myself), I will be able to look into their lives and find ways to help make them better, stronger, more productive and able to follow Jesus more purposefully.
Remember why Jesus said he came to earth? “Not to be served but to serve.” As parents, we should be serving our children. As wives, we should serve our husbands. As husbands, we should serve our wives. Jesus is Master of all. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yet, he served us–even unto death.
It’s more than serving meals, picking up after our kids or reading a book for the 100th time, it’s when we engage and look into into our family member’s heart and do what they need over what we want.
When that plays out in our marriage, our children will copy it. When it becomes the culture of our family to serve, our children will serve back to us, to their friends, their church and eventually their own families.
When was the last time you asked your family, “How can I help?”
disclosure: I was given a ticket to the Orange Conference to attend as a blogger/media.
both photos by Poppy Thomas-Hill. additional text by me.