We are called to practice our faith in the midst of a congregation of believers. But in an important sense, the Christian faith must be practiced at home as well. This is what is often called “family religion.” It was encouraged by Puritans in the Church of England in the 16th and 17th centuries. And John Wesley has a sermon by that title (which you can read here).

The nurturing of holy habits in the home from an early age is crucially important in instilling faith in children. I’ve written about that recently in my Practical Divinity column in the Arkansas United Methodist newspaper. You can read the article at this link, which is entitled, “Forming Habits and Forming Faith.”

The story I tell in the article is a true one, about my wife Emily and daughter Alice (who are pictured above). We should never underestimate the importance of teaching, encouraging, and modeling faithful ways of life at home. Our kids pay attention — as the story in my article shows in spades. Parents are the biggest influences on their children for good or for ill. So as Christians we should make sure that influence is for the good!

[I began writing the Practical Divinity column as a part of my work as Wesley Scholar to the Arkansas Annual Conference. You can find the first installment of the series here.]