How does a busy father keep the hearts of his children?

July 18, 2016

Article By: Generations

Chad Roach: One of the things that the Generations' Ministry found as we set about to pass on the faith to the next generation, is that many families were having a hard time with the context by which they could connect with their kids. Dad spending 15 minutes around the dining room table with a bible in the evenings wasn't quite enough to do the full application of God's word in all areas of life to their kids. They wanted to actually work together and get engaged as a family. And this idea of the family economy, the household, the working together, the coming together as a family the whole day, boy, that was a new idea that just really seemed to take off.

Kevin Swanson: In some ways the family economy is the over-arching element of all these other things we've talked about, like family culture, family discipleship, family education, family healthcare, family... All these other family issues, all synopsized under the family economy. The family economy, effectively, is everything the family does. The whole thing.

Chad Roach: It's the whole family's life.

Kevin Swanson: That's right. Now the problem in the modern world is that the modern world has individualized and hermetically sealed off every single person into their own existence. And it happens all the way back into daycare and back into preschool, and then it works its way into K-12, up into college, and then they get their own career. And, there's this sense that everybody is individuated and you lose the sense of the family. Well, we have to bring something of the family back into the 21st century. Why? Because it is an institution that God has required, has placed, and the secular world has denied it by way of homosexual marriage and the institutionalization of education and all these other means. So we're trying to re-relativize and bring the family back into the 21st century. And the way you do it, is first of all, to get people to see the family economy itself, that the family is an economy.

It is what is known as oikonomia. Oikonomia the word used for economics, a Greek word, consisting of two words, oikos, family and nomia, is law or vision. Oikonomia, economics, is the family vision. It's the family integrated into a vision and everything the family does, all the individual tasks done by the family, is all part of that family vision, until another family is created. And, of course, at some point, a man leaves and cleaves and creates a new household economy, that's the way God's been playing this thing for 6,000 years, until the modern age, where the family has disintegrated.

Chad Roach: So what you're saying is, we don't all sit around thinking of just ourselves as individuals, but we also see ourselves collectively as a part of mom, dad, kids, a single vision, a single unit, a single purpose.

Kevin Swanson: There's a team. There's a team there, and it involves some economy. It involves some quid pro quo trade, some contract labor, even some corporate jobs, some entrepreneurial endeavors, but as well, hospitality, ministry, the entire vision of the family. And at some point, the family needs to really think this through, certainly the husband and wife should get on the same page and say, "Are we gonna have any hospitality as a family? Are we gonna do any ministry at all? Are we gonna serve in the church at all? Are we going to involve our children in any of this ministry? Are we gonna train our children to do work to eventually produce some profitable labor in which we might be able to make some money, they might be able to make some money?" Because that's all part of training children to provide for their own households in the years to come. So, you see, all of that is all under the umbrella of the family economy, and hence, the family economic conferences and the family economic resources that we provide as a ministry.

Daniel Craig: I wanna harken back to what you said a moment ago, you used the idea of a team. And when I think of a team, there's two things that come to mind. The first one is team-building, and that's part of the whole vision behind this family economy is that we wanna build into the family as a team. We want to develop the team as a family. We want to head in a direction together as a family. Again, passing on the faith to the next generation. So that'd be one thing. The other thing that you perked in my mind, was the idea of what are you trying to accomplish as a team? And that I think is crucial because I think as we've talked about family discipleship for many years maybe what's been missing a little bit is what are we discipling our kids for? And I think bringing the family economy idea helps us understand what we're discipling our kids for is service in the Kingdom of God. Seeking first, the Kingdom of God together as a family unit.

Kevin Swanson: And discipleship often happens in a context, that's why Deuteronomy 6:7, "Teach your children God's word as you sit in a house, as you walk by the way, as you rise up, as you lie down." It's not always something that happens in the living room, where everybody is sitting there and they're taking notes and then it's over, and then there's no more discipleship after that. It's important to realize that much of discipleship happens in the day-to-day activities where mom and dad are integrated with the children and they have opportunity to interact in that environment. Well, the family economy becomes that context in which discipleship can happen.

Daniel Craig: So to the extent that the family's more divided and fragmented, the more difficult it's gonna be for that discipleship to take place and to the extent that they're coming together and integrating their lives together there's more opportunity, more context for that discipleship to occur.

Chad Roach: It also implies that every family, no matter what they're doing, no matter where they're at, has a family economy. The only question is, is what are they doing?

Kevin Swanson: They gotta be reminded they are a family economy first. And that's what we do. And then we give them some vision for it that is, these are the options, these are the alternatives, there's lots of different approaches to family economies, and we try to present thousands of options and alternatives. Obviously, God's gonna to lead different families in different ways in setting up their economies, and we wanna allow for all that liberty. But the first thing we want them to know is they are a family economy and give them a little bit of a vision for it, and then provide some nuts and bolts. And that's one reason why we put together the AME Program, the Apprenticeship Mentorship Entrepreneurship Program, to equip the family economy in terms of its nuts and bolts. So the Generations Ministry involves the family economy, it involves the nuts and bolts of the family economy, it involves family discipleship, a very, very key thing that's gotta happen within the context of the family economy. And of course, family culture and these other things as well.

About Generations

The vision of Generations (formerly Generations with Vision) is to pass on the faith to the next generation through the biblical family, discipleship, and education. We equip families and churches around the world through our daily radio programs, discipleship resources, the Christian Curriculum Project, and discipleship events and retreats.

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