This week, I’d like us to take a look at Mark chapter 3. Here we read an account of Jesus healing many and casting out demons. The crowds grew to a point that his family became concerned for his well-being. Some teachers accused him of being possessed by satan. Jesus responds, in verse 25, “A family splintered by feuding will fall apart” to illustrate that satan can not cast out satan. Finally his mother and brothers asked to see him and he responds, in verse 35, “Anyone who does God’s will is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (NLT)
I bring this chapter to our attention this week to remind us of the role we play as family to one another. For some, your members are literally all related by blood or marriage, but one proud aspect of rural ministry across the board is how much like a family our congregations feel.
Unfortunately, in today’s American culture, family doesn’t mean the same thing to members of new generations as it did/does to previous. If you take a look at the home lives of the young people in your area, you will find too many with single parents, step-parents, parents with a revolving door to significant others, absent parents, abusive parents, incarcerated parents, and foster parents. (Even when single parents, step-parents, and foster parents are good, they still mark a deep hurt.)
According to information compiled by Rawhide, a faith-based non-profit serving at-risk youth in Wisconsin, the rate of teen suicide has tripled since 1960, 20% of american teens experience depression before adulthood, and only about 1 in 5 of those teens seek help. The increase in non-traditional families quite possibly plays a large role in these statistics. Social media is also thought to play a role.
Today, perhaps more than in past generations, young people have a lot of relational gaps that need to be filled. Take a closer look at the lives of young people in your area. Who needs a positive male or female adult to relate to, confide in, and learn from? Perhaps they need to build relationships with some of the older couples in your congregation who can instill in them Biblical values around marriage and let them witness what it takes to keep one together.
What gaps do you notice that your congregation might be equipped to fill? And in the meantime, let’s remember to cover these homes and families in prayer.