A blog post by Megan Clapp
I recently moved from Arizona to Iowa. Before we left, my husband and I spent an evening with a family that we had grown to be friends with. We played laser tag, raced go-karts, and finished up the evening with a round of mini-golf. It was our last time all together before we moved. As the moving van pulled up to our apartment and the moment came to say our goodbyes, we all became quiet. We hugged and tried to hold back our tears.
My friend Elizabeth, a spunky eight year old girl, kept jumping in and out of the van for one more hug or high five or just to look at us. Finally, her parents told her it was time for one last goodbye. Elizabeth’s mom looked at her meaningfully, and she jumped out of the van one more time. She ran up to me and my husband, Eric, traced the sign of the cross on our foreheads, and then scurried back to the van. It was the best going away present anyone could have given me.
Elizabeth’s family had been practicing the Faith Five, a family devotional created by Rich Melheim. It’s a simple formula:
Share -- Share your highs and lows with one another.
Read -- Read a Bible verse together
Talk -- Talk about how the scripture relates to your highs and lows
Pray -- Pray for one another and the highs and lows that were shared
Bless -- Bless one another
Share, read, talk, pray, and bless; five words, five actions that can bring your family closer together by practicing them each night. It’s a bold claim made by Melheim in his book, Holding Your Family Together. Each step is given a chapter and each chapter lays out all kinds of information, including statistics and stories about why this simple devotion could truly be the act that keeps your family together in faith.
It sounds too easy doesn’t it? Practice these five things together every night and your family will grow and change in positive, incredible ways. But here’s the amazing thing…it works.
I watched families practice it together once a week at church. They did it every night at home, too, and it was incredible to hear the stories that parents told about their practice. One family told us that their kids argued about who got to read the Bible verses each night. Another parent shared that when watching an advertisement for a new show called, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, her daughter turned to her and said, “I know who I am. I’m a child of God!” Awesome, right?
And it doesn’t just work for families with kids. My husband and I have practiced it along with the families in our congregation. We have found that it has strengthened our marriage and helped us, two pastors, talk more freely with one another about what God is up to in our lives. Five minutes a day, five steps, seven days a week. It’s a small investment that reaps big rewards.
For more information, lively discussion, and a how to incorporate this into faith formation programming, check out faith5.org and this Facebook group.
Megan Koepnick Clapp is a pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Andover, Iowa. She is passionate about helping God's people grow in faith that is connected to every part of life, not just the Sunday morning routine. Megan is married to a pastor, and they are constantly dreaming and scheming together about the future of ministry and the church. Megan is a graduate of Luther Seminary, and along with her M.Div, received a degree in Children, Youth, and Family ministry.