Today’s guest post is from Scott Ness, Associate Pastor at St John’s Lutheran Church in Grove City, Ohio. Scott’s studying building “faith webs” as part of his Doctor of Ministry project and living it out in his home and church.
Last April, my 2 nieces moved into our home.
My wife and I were already stretched thin raising our 4 children. We quickly found ourselves loving, caring for, disciplining, transporting, and raising children who were 8, 7, 6, 3, and 3 years old plus a 6 month old. We called in some reinforcements.
We were certainly concerned about instilling Sticky Faith in each of our kids. But we also had a more pressing concern: survival. For the kids and for us! We needed help. We wanted to be intentional. We wanted to pick specific people to be in each of their lives.
The congregation I serve has developed a concept we call The Faith Web. A Faith Web is a constellation of people who willingly and lovingly surround you with faith. It expands, or at least builds upon, the 5:1 ratio that the FYI team writes about in Sticky Faith. Our vision is to wrap our young people in a web of faithful youth, young adults, adults and grandparents.
Every church has warts and things we wish we could change. But more importantly, your church is also packed full of people who have incredible stories and experiences about what it means to love Jesus. I want my kids to know those people and hear those stories. The Faith Web is the vehicle that helps us make these connections happen.
Oma is a widowed pastors wife. She reeks of Jesus! And every morning she prays for my children. Every Tuesday she sits down with my niece Summer at the piano bench to teach her how to make music. Oma has confessed multiple times that she is not the best teacher. And Summer is far from the best student. But the music they make is the most precious sound. Oma is helping Summer play the song that Jesus has placed within her. Oma is in our Faith Web.
Every summer the high school youth group goes to a leadership academy. Before they leave town, they gather in the sanctuary to be matched up with a grade school student. These new pairs are prayer buddies. They commit to pray for one another all week and even exchange letters while the older ones are at camp. My son Ethan was matched up with a high school student named Jamie. This past Halloween, my wife and I were sick. It was Jamie who saved the day. He came over, and with a smile on his face and in his heart, he led all the kids door to door. Jamie is also the one that my kids sit next to in worship while I’m up front and my wife is busy elsewhere. Jamie is in our Faith Web.
Who’s in your Faith Web? That is, who are the people who are influencing your life, building your faith, and walking with you? Likewise, in whose Faith Web are you living? Who are you influencing, helping, praying for, and walking with everyday?