Written by Graeme Fairbairn
Whenever we preach, our congregation will include families with children. Many will have two parents, some will be single-parent families, some will include step-parents. These families face a wide range of issues in day-to-day family life; some are “normal” – every generation have faced them – and others are results of the particular pressures of living in our 21st century western world. Some will be specific to Christians; others will be magnified through failure to take Christian discipleship seriously. In our teaching we must remember that for many people these are the most significant situations in which what they hear on a Sunday has to be worked out.
So as I am preparing to preach, I do well to think specifically: how might the message I am preparing speak to the following situations?
- tensions in relationship
- tensions between “his” career and “hers”
- temptations to unfaithfulness
- impact of children and children’s problems on marriage
- impact of financial pressures on marriage
- in-laws (and outlaws!)
- behaviour of children / discipline
- concern over the education system
- bewilderment over youth culture
- difficulty in passing on faith to our children
- where to set the boundaries for our children – “worldliness”
- internet issues eg Facebook
Other family issues:
- looking after parents / older relatives
- sickness in family
Societal pressures affecting families:
- time management
- financial pressures, including house prices
- stressful employment
- the “pace of life”
- concern over pensions
- concern over the health service
- lifestyle issues: conflict between “making contact with neighbours” and “being squeezed into this world’s mould”
- moving around – no longer round the corner from Gran - as previous generations often were.
Remember too to think how your talk can speak to these issues (or many of them), but with single people in mind!
Graeme is lead pastor of Wycliffe Baptist Church in Reading.
© Graeme Fairbairn 2014