My friend Dan King, or the Bible Dude, is one of the most generous, loving, talented and humble people I know. He writes books, he designs blogs (including this one!), he motivates the church, and he always has time for everyone–especially for his family. I’m excited to host him today, and to tell you about his NEW book, Activist Faith, which is releasing this month. We’re also giving away a copy today! So, without further ado, here’s Dan.
For me, finding faith was a big thing. But finding purpose and meaning in my faith was even bigger. Transferring that to my kids… well, it’s probably one of the most important things I’ll ever do.
After living life my way for many years, centering my life around something like the Bible was quite a shift. As I studied, I started picking up things like how revolutionary a guy like Jesus really was. And I started to understand how broken I was without him. When I think about how much I’ve been forgiven, a simple “thank you” never seemed enough to give back.
I always had this growing feeling that it’s not okay to just go to church a couple times a week. Especially when I look at the world outside the church doors, I see a whole bunch of broken.
So I’ve always searched for ways to be active outside the church walls. I’ve tried to find places where I can make a difference, and bring the kind of healing, restoration, and hope I’ve experienced to others who need it.
About three and a half years ago, in the midst of all this searching, an earthquake devastated Haiti. My wife and I tried not to expose our almost six year-old son to the images that came across the news, but he started picking some things up.
Then one night, he came downstairs an hour or two after being tucked into bed. He was crying and could barely talk. Thinking he was scared or had a nightmare or something, I asked him what was wrong.
He said, “I want to pray.”
So I asked him, “Ohh, buddy, what do you want to pray for?”
Through the sniffles and tears, he responded, “I want to pray for all the little boys and girls in Haiti who don’t have mommys and daddys anymore and have to sleep outside tonight.”
That was it. Done. This big dude was wrecked. Since then we’ve spent a big part of our lives finding ways to be a (small) part of their healing as a nation. My son’s held a garage sale to raise over $1,300 towards a playground for orphans, and we pray daily on our way to school for a child we sponsor.
It’s shifting his whole worldview. He’s even told me that some people he saw on television, “love Jesus, just like me.” And when I ask how he knows that, he tells me, “because they love orphans, just like me.”
He’s making the connection between his faith in Christ and the kind of activism that comes from pouring the Love we’ve been freely given back out to others who need it too.
Through this, I’ve learned a few things about nurturing that kind of Activist Faith in my children.
1. Include them in ministry decisions that involve the family.
My kids are always a big part of decisions my wife and I make to serve, and we try to include them in any way we can. Whether it’s doing setup and decorations for a membership class at the church, or deciding on mission trips.
2. Don’t completely shelter them from the outside world.
As with the Haiti earthquake experience, we certainly didn’t let my son watch the 24/7 news channels streaming the stories all day long. But our discussions weren’t a complete secret either. Whatever the exposure looks like, they need to understand some of the realities of the outside world.
3. Encourage ownership of special projects and ministry.
Yeah, throwing a garage sale was a lot of work for my wife and I, but it was his garage sale. He’s the one who wanted to “send Christmas to Haiti,” so we did whatever we needed to do to support his project and help him reach his goals. And every bit of the success is his to carry with him.
4. Be the kind of activist you’d like to see your kids become.
It’s no secret that they learn from watching us. My prayer goes something like that old Phillips, Craig, and Dean song, “Lord, I want to be just like You, because he wants to be just like me.”
Dan King is the founding blogger at bibledude.net, author of The Unlikely Missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter, and co-author of Activist Faith: From him and for him. He is also the president of fistbumpmedia.com where he helps other bloggers/writers overcome technology and reach their writing goals. You can connect with him on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bibledude and on twitter at http://twitter.com/bibledude.
Today Dan and his co-authors are giving away a copy of their radical new book, Activist Faith… to win, leave a comment on this post telling us why you want to read it, and we’ll choose a winner within the week.