As the new year began, God spoke Isaiah 58:11-12 over the families of our church: The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
In this blog we want to discuss planning. Since a walled city has to have a beginning, it starts with a plan. Before Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, he spent a week in prayer and fasting and another month or so before going to the king, then 3 days later he left to start work. When he got to Jerusalem, he spent some time inspecting the walls, seeing what needed to be done. Once he had a full picture of the project ahead of him he said: “Now it’s time to rebuild.”
In the same way, building our family starts with a plan. We can’t just happen upon it. We must be intentional about building our city. When you are just starting your family or starting a new stage in your life or fine-tuning where you are right now, it all needs to be planned and our steps ordered by the Lord.
One of the roles of parents is that of provision. That word, provide, has the etymological background meaning “to see beforehand.” So the word not only carries the idea of meeting daily needs but also looking into the future and planning for it. We must provide more than shelter and food, but a future that is stable and full of hope.
Some planning is impossible, of course. You can’t plan for every contingency and you can’t be prepared for every surprise because our knowledge and foresight is so limited. Chris and I planned as best we could for marriage (with counseling and personality tests and books) but still discovered we weren’t quite ready. The same was true with kids. I remember when we had our first child home from the hospital and thought – what kind of goofy system is this??!! We have to get licenses to drive a car but they let us walk out of a hospital with a kid?
One of the easiest ways to plan for success in your home is with a family mission statement. My favorite of all times was given by Joshua. It came at the end of his life as an encouragement to the people of Israel. He reminded them of what God had done for them, encouraged them to stay away from other gods and other nations. Then he said:
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, NIV)
First, we must have a starting point. I remember someone telling me a story once of a kid that came to him on the street and said: “Mister, is an hour up yet?” A reasonable question – but only if you have a starting point.
Where your family begins is the first, most important step for your family – what Joshua described as “serving the Lord”. Jesus described it in the parable of the two men who built houses – the one who built his house on the rock withstood the storms of life…Jesus tells us that the rock is the word of God.
Overall, a Christian family is to be guided by the Lord and the principles he has established in his word.
Then, of course, you have to have an end point, or the goal. Where do you want your marriage to be in 10 years, 20 years? What about your kids?
Well, you can’t just cross your fingers and wish…you need to pray and develop a game plan to see that happen.
The challenge, of course, is that your home is filled with all kinds of interesting folks – each with their own personality and ideas. You can’t plan their lives for them – that’s control. But you can create an environment that guides them in their decisions.
In the business world, this is called a mission statement: guiding principles that lead employees to make the right decisions themselves.
We’re going to work on family mission statements – guiding principles that lead you and your family members to make the right decisions and continue in the right direction…
Building a Family Mission Statement
1) We are at our best when:
2) We are at our worst when:
3) What do we love to do together:
4) As a family how can we help each other:
5) As a family what can we contribute to others or how can we help people outside our family?
6) Are there things we should be doing or changing as a family, even though we’ve dismissed such thoughts many times? What are these things?
7) Imagine it’s our 30th wedding anniversary. What do we want people to honestly say about our family? People view our family as:
8) If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would it be? What are the principles we want our family to operate on? (Such as trust, honest, kindness, service, etc.)
9) Let’s think of balance as a state of fulfillment and renewal in each of the four dimensions: physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional. What are the most important things we can do in each of these areas that will have the greatest positive impact in our family and help us achieve a sense of balance?
• Physical –
• Spiritual –
• Mental –
• Social/Emotional –
10) Imagine its ten years in the future. Envision where we want each member of our family to be. What have we accomplished, how do we see ourselves?
You now have the beginning of a family mission statement built on a foundation of your values. Your family can now understand what drives it and what you want to accomplish. You can also see the values and principles upon which doing so are based.
You can continue to write and revise your mission statement until you feel it reflects what your family lives for.
- As a family we are at our best when…
- We will try to prevent times when…
- We will find more time with each other to…
- We will help each family member by…
- We will help others by…
- We will stop procrastinating and start working on…
- We will be viewed as a family that…We will fill our home with…
- We will make choices and decisions based on…
Over the years, your circumstances will change. Your priorities will change. Your goals and dreams will change. That’s okay – because change means growth. As you grow, transform, and broaden your horizons, allow yourself the freedom to expand and refine your mission statement.
The next step is learning how to live your mission. Maybe it’s easy, but maybe it takes some guidance.
Life is a journey. And your mission statement is your map.