Does your family enjoy board games? Do your kids love challenging you and your spouse to play them in basketball or croquet? Does your family enjoy a challenge of any kind? There is a fun way to channel that competitive energy in a positive manner – that will also encourage spiritual growth amongst the members of your family.
Before involving your children, sit down with your spouse and create a list of things that if your family did them more consistently, it would lead to spiritual growth. The list might contain some of the spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible daily, praying more often throughout the day or attending worship services more regularly. It could also contain things like memorizing scripture or reflecting daily on a specific Bible verse. You may want to add doing more to serve others or share your faith. Try to think of things that family members could do individually as well as things to do as a family (like family devotionals).
Once you have your list, call your family together. Read Colossians 1:9-10. Talk about what it means to have a ”life worthy of the Lord” and ”to please Him in every way”. Ask your kids to name some of the good works God wants us to do and ways we can grow in the knowledge of God. Share with them the list you and your spouse created and add any new ideas they have that are appropriate.
Read Hebrews 10:24-25. Discuss ways of encouraging each other to do the things on your list more consistently. Introduce the idea of a family challenge as a way of encouraging each other. How you structure your challenge will depend a lot on the ages and personalities of your kids. You may want to just focus on one area, like daily Bible reading, or include several items from your list in the challenge. Most families will benefit more from having a family goal each member can help reach, although some may want to see which family member can memorize the most verses of scripture or something similar (only do this for items where each family member has about the same chance of being successful and if your family enjoys healthy, godly competition that won’t become negative over the course of the challenge).
After you have set your goal, find ways to encourage each other as you work towards it. Remember, encouragement is not demeaning, harassing or punishing those who aren’t helping reach the goal. All encouragement should be just that – encouraging in a positive way. You may want to set a time limit on the challenge and a goal to measure success against. Rewards won’t make much of a long term impact, but if your kids have worked very hard to reach a family goal, you might want to surprise them with a special celebration at the end. Have fun with it, but do what you can to make the improved habits continue long after your challenges have ended.