Dreamers Meeting - Family Rules

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Amos 3:3

We don’t have to agree on everything, as a matter of fact, it might be a good idea to agree that it’s okay to disagree. But if we are going to travel together from Anniston, to Nashville, we must agree on some things: What time will we leave? What kind of transportation will we take? Who will drive? While there are some things that are individual choice; the clothes we wear and what we will do in the vehicle: talk, list to music, read a book…  but we must agree on the basics of the trip.

Family rules are usually unconscious, unspoken, but understood. That means we rarely think about them, and neglect discussing them. But when someone violates a family (group) rule, he/she is in trouble! The group will discipline or shun a rule-breaker.

I think there’s a better way. Let’s discuss how we’re going to relate to each other. What do you expect of me? Let me tell you what I expect of you. Let’s negotiate. Then let’s hold each other accountable for what we agreed to do.

There are things we like, things we don’t like, things we’ll tolerate, and things we won’t tolerate. It’s good to know and talk about those things. So what are our Family Rules?

Not really intended for discussion, but here are a few questions to prime the pump:

What is our rule about time? (Early, on time or late)

What is our rule about dealing with disagreements? (Follow Matthew 18 and 5 or Triangles)

How do we handle holidays? (Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Easter, Christmas, Columbus Day)

What are the rules regarding the building? (Can members use the building whenever, do we need to sign up on a calendar, or is it not to be used)

What is the role of the Elders? Deacons? Older Members? Young Families? Teenagers? Children? Ladies?

What are the rules about the way we dress?

How long does someone have to be a member before we expect them to act like a “good Christian”?   

What are the big sins and what are the little sins?

How dow we rejoice or mourn with one another? Funerals, Baby Showers? Weddings? Divorces? Promotions?

How do we communicate with one another?

How do we assimilate new members, new Christians?

How open are we to community outreach programs?   

When I was growing up our family had certain rules, certain ways that we did things. I had some good friends that I would go over and eat a meal with, or spend the night at their homes and I noticed that they did some things differently than my family did, like allowing us to eat in front often TV, but it didn’t make a very big impression.

Then I married Trista and I noticed that she did almost everything wrong. She wanted me to make the bed every morning, if we were supposed to be somewhere at 9:00 she would arrive at 9:00 and not 8:50, she intended for us to have separate bank accounts and divide up the bills. And I don’t have time to discuss Christmas….

What I quickly noticed is the normal way to do things, wasn’t normal for everyone. She grew up with her version of normal, and I grew up with my version of normal, and while there were some things that we had in common, there were some pretty glaring differences. So we had a decision to make, do we fight or do we communicate? We decided to communicate. and make some decisions about what our normal would look like. We took some rules from the Pierce family, some from the Houck family, and made up some of our own rules. But we talked about the rules we wanted to keep and the ones we wanted to get rid of, and what new rules we would like to start. 

Here is something you are going to hear me say again next week, but the Church of Christ is weird. I don’t mean any disrespect when I say that, but we are one of the largest autonomous groups in the world. which basically means since we are independently owned and operated, we have the freedom to make decisions about how we are going to interpret the Bible, and put it into practice.

If you have attended a worship service in a different part of our country or the world, you will notice that there are some glaring differences. I often tell graduating seniors, when you go off to college, you will not find your home church, so don’t look for Greenbrier, look for a place where you can find God’s presence. 

When folks come into our family, they have their own normal, and sometimes their normal is different than ours. We are in a time of transition, which means if we are going to make changes, now is the best time to talk about those changes and reaffirm what we want or need to stay the same. 

Questions we must answer:

What rules do you want to keep?

What rules do you want to strengthen?

What rules do you want to change?

When do you plan to start?

By what date will you see progress?

How will you measure your progress?

Who will report their observations?

These are the Seven Family Rules I would like to suggest as the Family Rules for our congergation. But we as a group get to decide if this is the best way for us to function.

One Book - We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and we are to follow what God has revealed to us. This means that we will consult the scriptures to see the proper way to serve God and love one another. While we understand there are certain traditions that we hold dear, and even like, we will allow the Bible to speak and experience the freedom God offers.   

Oneness - Ephesians 4:3-6 says, Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. We are given the privilege to find unity and live in peace because of our faith in God that was made real in our baptism. This is not a call for us to agree with one another on everything across the board, rather it is a call to be able to disagree and still love one another and serve our community by loving the people that God loves.

Openness – For the church to be a place where everyone feels welcome we will strive to have open communication. Since the church belongs to the members, they must know what is going on, and be willing to answer question as to why we are doing what we are doing. The only questions that should be left unanswered are “Who was counseled? What was talked about?” and “Who we helped financially?”

Outreach – If we are not reaching out to the lost in our community, and creating Disciples, we have failed as a family of believers. The key here is to grow in order: First, we must learn to like one another. If we learn to like one another then we can learn to trust one another. If I trust you to love me and accept me then I can be honest without the fear of being judged, and I can grow spiritually. If I am growing spiritually, then I will be on fire for Christ and desire others to come and take part in a relationship with my Savior.

Opportunity for Service - Since this is your church then we all must be involved in the work of the church. Every member must be committed to this body, and dedicate two hours a week to serving God and taking ownership of this church.

Outcome Oriented – We live in a society that is constantly evolving and changing. Our call is to reach out to that community. In an effort to reach them we must constantly see if the methods we are using are still effective. While the Message will never change the way we spread or explain that Message must be relevant. 

Ownership – Once again this church belongs to every member. Winning teams always talk in a “we, us” language while losing teams always use “I, them” language.  Every member must take ownership and responsibility for the atmosphere, growth, and work of the church.

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