This is the second part of a series on Family Ministry and how Shepherd of the Heart United Methodist Church (SOTH) in Pearland is “thinking orange” these days. It is a continuation of an interview with Ann VanHoose, Family Ministry Director at Shepherd of the Heart United Methodist Church in Pearland, on empowering parents to be spiritual leaders in their own homes using the “Think Orange” curriculum. You can view the first part here:
Do parents get together in a group setting at SOTH?
We have a parenting small group at church, and we meet during the school year on the Sundays that we don’t have family worship. And that’s been really helpful seeing that everyone has the same struggles.
What are some common struggles?
We were talking about just as easy as it is for your money to evaporate and you don’t really know where it went, time is the same way.
How have you all looked at distributing your time?
We started really thinking about where we spend our time, and we kind of started figuring out that you can’t be an A+ parent and an A+ employee and to make that conscious decision, I would rather be a B employee and an A parent than the other way Part 1 of 2 on Family Ministry around. And making those decisions, we are starting to play around with how we are spending our time and are we getting the results we want and what a priority is for us.
Have you focused on particular studies with the parenting small group?
“Last year we did a study, “Raising Children of Faith” which is part ot the Homebuilders parenting series from FamilyLife. This fall we are planning to do a study called “Parental Guidance Required” by Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner”
What about your family? How are you leading them?
We have decided that relationships are really important. We think learning to play an instrument or being in sports or any extracurricular, they are all good experiences but in 50 years how much impact is that really going to have had on your kid. And what is going to really matter in 50 years is what kind of relationships they have. And in 150 years, there is only one relationship that matters and that is their relationship with God. So if we look at those as where we are putting our priorities as a family, it helps us figure out what choices we want to do.
What are some of the challenges you have found?
Individual families have their own struggles, but I think the big universal struggle for families is that we love our kids so much we want to give them everything. We have more opportunities than ever before to give them experiences. It all is great – dance, scouts, art classes, music classes, sports, there is just this huge array of things plus going to festivals and museums… All these things are good but are they really helping them build relationships?
So it’s like could I find a better school than the one we are zoned to? Maybe, but I want them to interact with the kids in the neighborhood so that they start forming those relationships and so we want our kids to go to the neighborhood school for that reason. And it’s those sorts of hard choices that you have to make thinking big picture.
How is your family putting this focus into practice?
The other thing we do with our older children in grade school is we have a strict limit that they are allowed one sport, one non-sport, and church… and that is it at a time. So if you want to start a different sport, you have to drop the one you are in, you can’t be in multiple ones at the same time. And it’s actually really, really hard to be strict about that. So want swim lessons? Ok, then we are going to do it when you are not in football.
Any parting thoughts?
For us, we’ve come to realize that parenting is just too important to approach it haphazardly. We are trying to envision what is really important for our kids in the big picture and intentionally make decisions with that in mind.
Visit curriculum and church resources here:
“Think Orange” – What Is Orange web site: http://whatisorange.org/
Shepherd of the Heart United Methodist Church in Pearland: http://www.sothpearland.org/