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Values

“…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  – Joshua 24:15

Last week, I talked about the importance of a family mission statement to articulate what God is doing in your family, no matter what it looks like or the life-stage you are in. If you missed the article, you can find it here.

Now that you have a family mission statement, so what? You have probably been in a setting when someone brought out the mission statement for a corporation or a school and never heard about it again. So, how do you make a statement that not only encapsulates who you are as a family but is also helpful in shaping who God is calling you to be as a family?

The first step is preparation. If you want one that works, you have to spend the time dreaming, brainstorming and talking it through, involving everyone in your family. My family did this around the dinner table. We told stories of favorite memories and the kiddos responded with all the annoying sayings that mom and dad have said. In the midst of all the laughing, we began to articulate what we really valued. One value that emerged was, “lying breaks relationships.” We talked about how we can overcome anything as a family as long as we are honest with each other, even if it’s difficult. Another value is, “McSwains stick together.” We realized the importance of our family bond and compromising with each other. This tends to come into play when we are deciding something like a family movie, and certain members of the family try to opt out if they don’t get their way. Recently, our family mission statement was an important part of deciding how we spend our summer vacation as a family. Brandi and I were discussing what to do and how to get there, and we turned to our statement, which is: Live, Love, and trust God. “Live” means creating experiences and memories in the moments we have. That led us to decide that we would take a road trip as a family with freedom to make stops along the way. For us, the mission statement worked as a way to talk through what we value in a particular instance.

I often get asked if family mission statements can change. Perhaps you create a statement then your family dynamic changes or children get older? In this case, of course it can change, but the more work you put into coming up with a statement that truly reflects your family’s values, the more lasting it will be regardless of growth. The reality is that the mission statement is meant to be an objective expression of the love and grace of God within your family. It should also challenge you to think deeply about your unique expression of that as a family. Once you name what God is doing in your family, I believe you will begin to recognize the grace of God at work all around you as well.

Rev. Chad McSwain