How do we transmit Christian faith to our young? How do we Christians best influence coming generations to choose our stream of faith? Of many possible answers, I suggest one.
Wife Jamee and I heard a life coach named Matthew Goldfarb ask, “What business are you in?” He means, “You won’t excel until you know what business you’re in.” It’s a great question that church renewal people often raise for churches. What business are our churches in? What are our priorities? Do we want renewal in Christ? Then live with the right priorities. Once I pastored a church that owned a spectacular manse (“parsonage.”) It was yellow brick, it dated from the Cole Porter era, it had marble floors, a spiral staircase, a magnificent chandelier. The issue was, Could the church afford to keep it up? All my years at that church, the issue, the contention, was always, How can the church afford to keep that house up?
But what was that church’s business? Were we in the spiritual growth business or the historic preservation business? I think every church is called to the spiritual growth business. I also think that people who are called to the historic preservation business will do better at historic preservation than we will.
Eventually, that church sold that house. The people voted to sell it by one vote.
What business are our churches in? Matthew Goldfarb spoke of Kodak. Such a famous company—yet recently Kodak filed for bankruptcy. What happened? Technology outgrew them, that’s what. Which would you rather do: Go buy film, put it into a camera, then take the film to the shop and wait a week for your pictures? Or take photos with your I-phone and go print out a copies right now and post them online? Which do we choose? The digital revolution came and passed Kodak by. Yet it didn’t have to be that way, says Matthew Goldfarb. What business was Kodak in? Kodak thought they were in the film business. That, says Matthew Goldfarb, is how they got left in the dust, because, actually, they weren’t in the film business. They were in the memories business. They just didn’t see it, in time.
What business are we in, to leave a Christian legacy? One could say, I think: We are in the memories business.
That might mean keeping close to mind how the Lord Jesus died for us. That might mean scheduling times for home Bible reading. It might mean taking part regularly in your church’s Holy Communion (“Do this in remembrance of me.”) It might mean hanging up a plaque in your home of The Lord’s Prayer or the 23rd Psalm or something else to remind you of that time the Lord pulled you through… It might mean planning some family retreat time or church family retreat time—some high quality time in Christ that may someday bring great memories.
How can you come upon ways to help your children and grandchildren to remember, in years to come, how your faith matters so much?
The Lord bless you in every way!