Growing Together

12 Tips to Help Cultivate Spirituality in Your Family
October 18, 2018

Every family is unique and has its own dynamics and needs. Family worship may be quite different in your home than somebody else’s. Perhaps you teach your children about biblical heroes through felt figures that they move around a felt board. Maybe your family uses drama to act out biblical tales. Your family might prefer to sing or read together as part of growing together spiritually.

Different approaches or perspectives can inspire us to explore a variety of ways to spend time with God and spend time together. Personal spiritual growth doesn’t result from cookie-cutter methods, and neither does family growth. We find inspiration in the habits, traditions and experiences of others. As styles and approaches evolve, discover relevant ways to minister to your family. Several leaders from across the Southwestern Union territory share tips that have worked for their families and their ministry. Check them out and see what would benefit your family!

Give Them Your Presence

Parents, your presence is far more valuable than any gift! The gift of being present exceeds all other gifts.

Walter Martinez, Family Life Ministries, Oklahoma

Form Spiritual Families

Psalm 128:1-4 says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.” The Psalms indicates that to be God’s kind of parent, a parent must be God-fearing: receive divine instruction (Psalm 25:12); characterized by integrity and faithfulness (Job 2:3); delight in worshipping God (Revelation 14:7).

Carmen and Buford Griffith, Jr., Family Ministries, Southwestern Union

Practice Self-Care

Sometimes we feel like a hamster running on a wheel, trying to keep up with life. With three kids, work, a home to manage and extra-curricular activities, I often find myself running pretty fast. British psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman reports that the overall pace of life has increased by 10 percent worldwide since the mid-90s. Recently, I came across the concept of self-care, the idea that to function as the best version of ourselves we need to set aside time to take care of ourselves. At its core, self-care is all about being good stewards of our bodies, minds and souls. Jesus gave us the best example of self-care and took time for Himself to rest, pray and spend time with His Father. We too can do the same and as a result be refreshed to focus on ministering to our families and others. Like the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Debbie Márquez, Communication, Texico

Communicate Well

Create a safe environment for good and effective communication. Effective communication involves sharing information with another person so that what is being said is understood by that person. There is no criticism, name-calling or fault-finding. A safe space is a place where everyone’s opinion counts with the feeling of being understood, even when disagreements occur. Ephesians 4:29 states, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Carmen and Buford Griffith, Jr., Family Ministries, Southwestern Union

Have Family Film Night

When used wisely, movie nights can be a powerful opportunity to draw moral and spiritual lessons that your children will never forget. Use websites such as to screen movie content before exposing your family to any movie. Always ask questions after the movie, such as: What is the message of this movie? Do you agree or disagree with it? Why? What in the movie inspired you to be a better person? Was there anything in the film’s content that was questionable or not Christ-like?

Ruber and Ketty Leal, Family Ministries, Texas

Be a Godly Father Figure

From a man’s perspective, parenting is often challenging to our perceived manhood, and we parent with a sense of entitlement, of power and with an authoritarian attitude. Ephesians 6:4 approaches parenting this way: “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them; take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master” (MSG). The use of power and punishment is external force, and sometimes can come from embarrassment, anger or a challenge to our manhood. God created your child with a heart and a conscience. Allow God to win the child’s heart to Jesus, discipling them through God’s love, as displayed on the cross.

W. S. Lee, Family and Men’s Ministries, Southwest Region

Encourage Single Parents

Single parents must work to create a safe and trustworthy support system for themselves and their children. Find intentional ways to collaborate with single-parent families in ministries that will bless both parent and child. As a single parent, seek out healthy role models for your sons and daughters. It is important for children to see and learn from both male and female spiritual leaders as they mature into spiritual adults.

Jessica Lozano, Communication, Southwestern Union

Create a Family Eben-Ezer

Families are facing some challenging times and many spiritual battles. In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelites were under attack by the Philistines, but God heard and answered Samuel's prayer and gave them the victory. They set up a stone on the battle site and called the monument Eben-Ezer, which means "stone of help." Invest your time and resources in creating a "memorial stone" for your family. Gather items that will remind them how God helped the family, just as He helped the Israelites. The memorial will jog the memory of each family member and help create a spiritual bond. Be creative and have fun!

Anysia Archibald, Women’s Ministries, Southwest Region

Learn Through Song

My young daughters loved taking a midday break with me in the rocking chair, to relax and be held close for a few minutes while we sang songs together. I would choose hymns with meaningful stories or scripture songs. These stories in song and Bible texts have forever become a part of their core being. Gaining spiritual insight and Bible memorization is made easy through song. My grandchildren now enjoy singing together. As mere infants, they can and will learn the words, but more importantly the Word that will sustain them for all eternity.

Frances Alcorn, Communication, Arkansas-Louisiana

Focus on Character

Character growth was more important than school or chores in our home. We would focus on correcting bad attitudes, character issues or relationship problems first. Afterward, the schooling or work went much smoother. Often I would send my children to their room to pray and I’d go pray for wisdom and softened hearts. I’d check on them. If their eyes were defiant, I’d let us both have more time to pray. When their eyes were softened and receptive we’d talk and pray. We got more accomplished when they had happy hearts than we would have with sour spirits.

Julia Shires, Women’s Ministries, Oklahoma

Listen Carefully

If we want our children to listen to us and take us seriously, we need to take the time to listen to them. We started the habit of snuggling with each of our three children separately for five minutes before they went to sleep at night. They could talk about anything and ask any questions. They loved this time so much they were willing to go to bed 45 minutes early so they could have 10 minutes alone with us. This is a favorite memory and as adults they still like to share their thoughts with us.

Julia Shires, Women’s Ministries, Oklahoma

Have Breakfast Bible Time

Morning worship with your children can seem like a hassle to get in a time frame. However, keeping it short and being intentional about when you start and end makes it doable and memorable. We started at the breakfast table with a prayer. Everyone got to name 10 things they were thankful for (grateful hearts are happy hearts), pick a text from the “bread of life box” and repeat it. Pray at the end of breakfast for a great day with the Lord’s protection.

Sylvia Downs, Communication, Arkansas-Louisiana