Pastoral Perspectives

Post-Pandemic Reflection – Faith @ Home

I wrote a perspective on June 2021 “Living out our Faith in our Homes”, and recently as CEF Singapore celebrated our 45 Anniversary, the spirit resounded this concern to me again to look at post-pandemic discipleship in the Christian home. I reflected again on what I have written: “What has gone wrong in our discipleship and in our Christian homes?” No amount of attending Disciple-making Conferences will transform us if discipleship is but a set of programmes that churches run. How about the home front, where parents sacrifice our next generation to the altar of academic excellence? Faith @ Home is urgent enough for me to repeat it in this perspective. Currently the hot topic in town is the dialogue over the constitutional change of 377A. How do we Christians respond? For me is the call for all Christian families to develop Faith @ Home.

Our Christian homes are in crisis. The pandemic has exposed in us weak links with our next generation. When will our parents reclaim their spiritual authority in the home? For too long, we have left God outside our homes. We have long forgotten that “God is the head of this home, the unseen guest at every meal and the silent listener to every conversation”.

Requoting again Dr Tedd Tripp’s words in Shepherding a Child’s HeartGod has called you to a more profound task than being a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective (Deut. 6:6-7).”

He further writes in Instructing a Child’s Heart“The life classroom is constant, compelling and comprehensive. The same is true of our homes as well. They are environments where our children are constantly learning. Not only that, but we are always teaching our children. Our every response, whether it is instruction or silence, teaches. Our behavior and our love teach.”

True Way – EC’s leadership has made attempts to help parents to worship with our children every first and fifth Sunday of the month. To further help parents, our senior pastor even conducts a course on “Parenting in the Pews” and also provides worksheets to further support parents while worshipping together. The purpose of which is to encourage parents to guide your children to be sensitive to God and His Word in the worship. One thing parents can help your child is to prepare them on Saturday before worship to read the scripture text that will be preached by the speaker. This activity is not only helpful to the children but also to you as an adult to be prepared to meet God each Sunday in anticipation of listening actively to the Word preached.

COVID-19 has shown us that there is a church in every home. Bringing children back to church isn’t our mission; our mission is to connect children with Jesus and His Word. The dilemma is that our parents may have lost the skill to impress the Scriptures on their children 24/7 as part of the rhythms of life. Recently, I have been pondering together with the staff and Board of CEF Singapore on how to equip and support parents and children to cultivate Faith @ Home (Deut.6:6 – 9). How do parents disciple their children and engage them purposefully and how do pastors, teachers and others help awaken parents, grandparents and caregivers to develop rhythms of work, play, study, service, rest, eating, leisure, worship and everyday activities that are saturated with the presence of Jesus, empowered by God’s Spirit and rooted in Scripture?

The greatest disciple we can ever make begin in our homes with our children and our families. Families that open their lives and seek out how to follow Christ. Is your home a sanctuary where daily lives are lived in the presence of God? How can we become a family that can be replicated wherever we go in our community.

What does Faith @ Home look like? We can be the game-changer to find our bearings to develop our Christian homes where every member live out their Faith @ Home. I am looking at forming a task force who dare to dream and dialogue on the matter of Faith @ Home. Let me know if you are interested.

Here’s a book I would like to introduce to parents: “The Godly Home”. “This book serves as a balm for those seeking God’s plan for the family. With an introduction by J. I. Packer, this book includes topics for those passionate about families or those teaching on the characteristics of a godly family. Richard Baxter covers topics such as marriage, children, and family worship methodically and comprehensively through both hypothetical and real-life questions and concerns that arise in family dynamics. He uses arguments, objections, and frequent Scripture to help husbands, wives, and children to live godly lives.”

This is not an easy to read book written in old English style but it has been edited significantly and reprinted to help modern readers like us to use and practice. J.I. Packer in the introduction to this book wrote “Why should anyone expect today’s readers to take an interest in it? To this perfectly fair question… the family is in deep trouble. Relentless pressures arising from the centralizations of urban life are eroding domestic relationships, so that their intrinsic primacy in human life is no longer being appreciated or lived out. Instead these pressures cut off husbands and wives from each other, cut off children from their parents and grandparents, and cut off the nuclear family from uncles, aunts, and next-door neighbours.”

Rev Tan Cheng Huat (Non-resident Missionary)

September 18, 2022