Family Friday Links 9.8.17

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Here's what we've been reading online lately:

For the Church had a great post on faith and how the faith of the parents should effect their kids. It reads, "Be the kind of family who serves Christ together, prays together, speaks openly of struggles, and knows that the best help is a relationship with Jesus Christ." This is important for all parents to understand and practice, whether God is calling your family to move and plant a church or stay where you're at and serve him together for his glory.

Tim Challies had a post on nurturing children. He says, " A key part of heeding God’s commission to “make disciples of all nations” is to make disciples of your own children." Parents, you are the primary disciple makers of your children, this is your primary ministry. Pastors, we are to train parents in all that means and how to accomplish that.

Trillia Newbell has a new resource out that helps parents teach their kids about diversity. She wrote a post about this book for the publisher's site. The post reads in part, " If you want your children to embrace those who are different than them, then you must start with helping them understand that God is the Creator of every tribe, tongue, and nation."

What have found helpful online this week? Leave a link in the comment section for us to check out.

Education as a Foundation for Reconciliation: Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and Mary Church Terrell

February is Black History Month. In celebration, today’s post highlights two Black Christian educators, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and Mary Church Terrell. These two women advocated for the social welfare of African American children as leaders in the Black Women’s Club movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the 19th century, emancipation, reconstruction, and urbanization forever changed the lives of Black Americans. It was a time of upheaval and social hostility. Both those who were free before the end of slavery and those recently freed found themselves oppressed by the majority culture. Jim Crowe laws and religious ideologies like the curse of Ham segregated and limited opportunities for Black Americans. They responded by creating institutions that were parallel to those from which the White majority had excluded them—independent churches, schools, banks, insurance companies, burial societies, and clubs for social reform.

Scarcity of work and growing illegitimacy during urbanization influenced the African-American family in ways that undercut the influence of fathers and established de facto matriarchal structures. As a result, African American women founded many of the most important social reform clubs.

These women believed that children represent the community’s theological hope for the future.

These women believed that children are gifts to the community (not simply to a single family) who represent the community’s theological hope for the future. They were rightly convinced that if Biblical morality, a Biblical theology of justice, and the Bible’s story of liberation and reconciliation were to be passed down to the next generation, literacy and basic education were the necessary foundation.

Practically, this meant that the Black Women’s Clubs advocated for education of the community’s youngest members. They formed many kindergartens across the South—often in association with black colleges such as Hampton in Virginia and Tuskeegee in Alabama. Mrs. A. H Hunton was chair of the executive board of the Southern Federation of clubs in 1905. She wrote this about the kindergartens:

To those who believe that everything that contributes to the culture of right thought contributes also to the culture of right character, the kindergarten must hold a deep and active interest, since it is the most beautiful system of education extant for the training of those tender little human plants we call children in all of their relations to nature, man, and God... It is in meeting this special need that our women have united their earnest efforts, for they know the value of this phase of education as a redeeming force in the world.

In was in this context that Ruffin and Terrell worked as advocates as well:

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (1842-1895)

Ruffin was born in Boston, MA. Her father was a successful clothier and founder of the Boston Zion Church. She was educated in public schools around Boston and in New York. As an activist, Ruffin was a strong supporter of the women’s suffrage movement. Later in life, Ruffin started the Women’s Era, the country’s first newspaper published by and for African-American women. She served as the editor and publisher from 1890 to 1897. She was also a pioneer of Black Women’s Clubs including the New Era Club in Boston (1894) and the National Federation of Afro-American Women (1895). In a speech about children’s education to The First National Conference of Colored Women in America in 1895, she said simply “We need to talk…”

We need to talk over those things that are of especial interest to us as colored women—the training of our children, openings for our boys and girls, how they can be prepared for occupations and occupations may be found or opened for them, what we especially can do in the moral education and physical development, the home training necessary to give our children in order to prepare them to meet the peculiar conditions in which they shall find themselves, how to make the most of our own, to some extent, limited opportunities.

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)

Terrell was born in Memphis, TN, in the year of the Emancipation Proclamation. She did not know slavery herself, but both of her parents had been slaves. Later in life, she spoke with feeling and anger about the impact of slavery on the lives of mothers and children. Because her parents wanted the best education for their daughter, she was sent to Ohio to attend Charles Finney’s Oberlin School. She graduated from both high school and college there. After college, she traveled abroad to continue her education and later began an active career as a public lecturer. She served three terms as president of the National Association of Colored Women. What birthed in Terrell was a fierce conviction that education is the foundation for reconciliation:

Through the children of today, we must build the foundation of the next generation upon such a rock of integrity, orality, and strength, both of body and mind, that the floods of prescription, prejudice, and persecution may descend upon it in torrents, and yet it will not be moved. We hear a great deal about the race problem, and how to solve it. This theory, that and the other, may be advanced, but the real solution of the race problem, both so far as we who are oppressed and those who oppress us are concerned, lies in the children.

African-American Christians needed social advocates like these women to first lay a foundation. Like brave Deborah in the time of the Judges, these reformers of the Black Women’s Clubs stood in the gap for children in a time of tremendous family upheaval. Their work for literacy and general education provided a necessary foundation for local contexts where the full gospel message is now proclaimed. Their lives should be truly celebrated.


  • “African American Children, ‘The Hope of the Race’: Mary Church Terrell, the Social Gospel, and the Work of the Black Women’s Club Movement” by Marcia Y. Riggs in The Child in Christian Thought, ed. Marcia J. Bunge. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.

  • “Family Ministry: Discipleship and Family Ministry in African American History,” and interview with Kevin Jones, Kevin Smith, and Timothy Paul Jones. Accessed at

  • “The Challenge of Matriarchy: Family Discipleship in the African-American Experience” by Kevin Smith. Accessed at

Family Friday Links 2016 Year in Review

This is our last set of Family Friday Links for 2016. Lets look back at 16 of our best links from the year. These are not in any particular order. Hope that some of these links maybe ones you missed or a reminder of a good link that you forgot about. 

  1. Ann Voskamp wrote a very strong blog to her sons about how to honor, care for and value women. A quote from the blog says, "When Christ stepped out of that black tomb, he still didn’t choose to first manifest Himself to prestigious officials, religious leaders, the Twelve, but instead He revealed Himself first to the women, He entrusted the veracity of His resurrection to the testimony of the women, He offered the privilege of proclaiming Christ as the risen Savior to the women, though no court at the time would accept their testimony. That’s how God loves His daughters with His regard."
  2. Danny Franks wrote a post on volunteers and the reason they don't continue. He asking (and answering) the question, "Why did their eagerness in orientation and their wonder in the first week of service not translate to a return trip and a lifetime of volunteering?" Leaders and pastors, learn from this.
  3. Our own Jared Kennedy had a post on the ERLC on kids and anxiety. He says, "Our goal shouldn’t be to change how they feel but simply recognize our kids’ emotions and affirm our love." While focusing on keeping our kids safe, we miss out on ministering to their hearts. As parents we need to focus on our kid's hearts, in order to see them grow and mature, not just their behavior.
  4. The Acts 29 Church Planting Network has a post from a church plant in Paris about the kids and church. It reminds us, "We must be intentional in our inclusion of Jesus’ youngest disciples." This is a great reminder for parents and pastors.
  5. Craig Jultila wrote a post on what to do when we feel like giving up. He says, "Honestly, there have been times when I was trying to crawl my way through the tunnel of difficulty hoping, praying, believing for a light at the end! It’s in those moments I must ask myself the following four questions to just keep going." Because we all, regardless of position or status, feel this way this post is helpful.
  6. Jason Allen had a post on tips for leading your kids to Christ. He wrote, "I feel the weight—and glory—of this stewardship daily and find immeasurable fulfillment and joy as I see my children taking steps toward Christ. I am sure many Christian parents feel the same way I do—awestruck by the opportunity and responsibility that is ours." His tips are helpful for both parents and those that work with kids.
  7. Jen Wilkin posted on the Gospel Coalition that talks about the value of children and the fact that  kids are our neighbors. Wilkin's writes, Because if children are people, then they are also our neighbors. This means that every scriptural imperative that speaks to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves suddenly comes to bear on how we parent. Every command to love preferentially at great cost, with great effort, and with godly wisdom becomes not just a command to love the people in my workplace or the people in my church or the people at my hair salon or the people on my street or the people in the homeless shelter. It becomes a command to love the people under my own roof, no matter how small. If children are people, then our own children are our very closest neighbors. No other neighbor lives closer or needs our self-sacrificing love more."
  8. I came across this blog post entitled There Is Grace in Disability by Kara Dedert at the site Special Needs Parenting. Kara says ,"God’s grace has sustained us in deep lament. God’s grace has kept us from walking away in deep struggles of faith. God’s grace allows Calvin to be filled with joy and happiness in his disability. God’s grace has shown us more of His love for us as we care for Calvin. God’s grace has surprised us with unexpected joy in difficult places. God’s grace has made eternal reality more clear and our hope in Christ more urgent."
  9. Here is an article from the Gospel Coalition by 18 year-old Jaquelle Crowe. Her article is entitled 5 Reasons Why Teenagers Need Theology. As a young woman, she gives good insight to parents and youth workers on how to help their students to love theology. Jaquelle writes:

    "I’m 18. I’ve studied and been taught theology all my life. It’s given me many things: a richer relationship with God; a stronger and more submissive relationship with my parents; a more discerning relationship with my friends; a more edifying approach to social media; a zealous desire to do my best in school; a biblical worldview; a bigger vision for my future; and a greater passion to follow God no matter what." 
  10. With the racial unrest that exists in our country, Thom Rainer had a guest post by Joshua Staub on how to help our kids process these issues. Joshua wrote, "When we shield our children from injustice, we become complicit in the tension." He goes on to list 3 things parents need to do to help our kids understand and grow. Parents, read this and help your kids.
  11. Our friend, Sam Luce, wrote a post on the problems with making kids say sorry. He writes, " The problem with saying sorry is sorry can be used to gloss over sin. Repentance digs deeper to the root of sin." Parents, this is a good post for you especially as your kids get older.
  12. Jen Thorn wrote a post on the dangers of a "parent-centered" home. She writes, "We hear a lot of talk about a home not being child-centered. But all too often, without us realizing it, our homes become-parent centered." Parents, this is a good read for all of us to consider.
  13. John Hailes had a post entitled "Raising & Releasing the Next Generation." He writes, "When we include teenagers in our ministry its messy. Sometimes putting them on the stage is even cringe worthy. However, its so unbelievably necessary for our ministries and the future of kidmin…" He goes on to list several reasons this is important. Pastors and leaders this is worth considering.
  14. NavPress has a post up on teaching kids about sex. It reads, "As Christian parents we can do much more than merely pass on information about reproduction. We have the opportunity of shaping the sexual character of our children. " Parents, this is a helpful list with helpful resources.
  15. Jonathan Parnell wrote a post on what parenting means. He writes, "When we begin to see our parenting through the lens of spiritual warfare, it reconfigures our work ..." He goes on to list the 5 ways in which this happens. Parenting is a struggle, just not in the way think; it's a spiritual struggle.
  16. Paul Tripp had a post on the Verge site about kids and missions. He is answering the question, "How early in my child’s life do I disciple this child for ministry and mission and what does that look like?" He answers it this way, "Everything you have is a potential means of ministry…The ideas are endless.” Parents, make mission and discipleship a part of everyday life. Pastors, train parents to do so.

What were your favorite articles from 2016? Please share in the comments section. 

Family Friday Links 12.23.16

Here's what we've been benefitting online lately:

Jill Waltz had a post on building your ministry team. She says, "Building a successful team doesn’t happen on accident, it’s intentional. You are a leader of leaders." She goes on to list 3 steps to how to accomplish this.

Trilla Newbell had a post on the ERLC interviewing Lindsay Swartz on teaching kids about race and reconciliation. It starts out this way, "If we believe that the topics of race, racial reconciliation and the unity found in the gospel are important, then in many ways, the conversation and study of these topics should begin and have prominence at home." This is an important and helpful post for moms and dads.

The Gospel Coalition posted a 7 minute video with 3 different pastors discussing what the Bible says about the discipline of kids. Parents, this is a helpful reminder. 

What have you been benefitting from online lately? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.