4 Ways to Encourage Families To Create Lighthouse Homes That Reach Out—More Thoughts from Kevin and Sherry Harney on Organic Outreach

When you picture the word lighthouse, what comes to mind?

Safety? Guidance? Harbor? Maybe beacon of hope?

Now how about the word home? And how about Christian home?

In their solid new outreach resource Organic Outreach for Families: Turning Your Home Into a Lighthouse, Kevin and Sherry Harney hope that the people under your ministry connect the words lighthouse and home, because they believe that God desires every Christian home to be a lighthouse home.

Kevin G. Harney, Sherry Harney, evangelism

They write, “The average Christian home can be the place where people discover what only the Savior can bring.” (10) Of course the “what” is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. And God wants to use Christian homes to act as a safe harbor, a guiding beacon of hope for their community to find that salvation.

That sounds nice, but how does “the average Christian home” act as a lighthouse home? And how can you activate your families to be lighthouse families?

Here are four solid ways you can use to help encourage your families to create lighthouse homes that organically reach out into their neighborhoods:

Realize God Has Strategically Placed Them

Families need to know that God has strategically placed them in their particular neighborhoods, on their particular streets; they are exactly where God wants them. “In his sovereign wisdom, you live where you do so that God can reach people through you. Your home factors in to the strategic plans of heaven more than you may realize. People will be drawn to Jesus as the Holy Spirit works through your family.”  (135) This is a weighty realization, but one that you can help your families realize in order to organically reach out as a lighthouse home.

Make Jesus’ Declaration Their Own

And that declaration is simple: “Your are the light of the world.” Kevin and Sherry remind us that if we are a follower of Jesus, then we are his light in this dark world. And while it may sound almost irreverent and arrogant, they encourage families to declare out loud this simple truth: ”I am the light of the world.” (139) After you help families realize they’ve been strategically placed by God Himself, next help them declare—and perhaps daily declare—that they are the light of the world, that Jesus wants to shine his light of salvation through them and their home to reach their community.

Let It Shine Brightly

Many of us remember the song from our childhood This Little Light of Mine. Alright, break out your finger candles and let’s sing it together:

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.

Once families realize God has strategically placed them and they declare that they are Jesus’ light, help them to commit to shining brightly before their neighbors—even if it’s just one thing. The Harney’s suggest the way we shine is “by living in a way that is noticeably different from those around us.” People in our neighborhoods are watching us, watching our actions, attitudes, and motives. When families begin taking seriously their role as a lighthouse family their neighbors “will recognize that something is different and will have to acknowledge that God is at work.” (143)

Don’t “Bushel” That Lighthouse

Of course our trip down memory lane will remind us that there’s an important second verse to our song:

Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.

As families take seriously their calling as lighthouse homes, temptations will come to hide that light. They identify four “bushels” (bowls) Satan uses to try and cover up the light of Christ shining through our homes: it’s easy for families to get caught up in a host of good things and forget the most important thing, the gospel of Jesus; parents often fear the influence the world will have on their families, so they withdrawal from their communities instead of engaging them; often families do little outreach in their communities because of an area of disobedience, because of sinful patterns that rule the home; finally, material stuff can drive our lives, which smothers the light of Jesus and distracts from reaching out to our neighbors. (141-143)

As a pastor or family minister you get to help your people remember that they’ve been strategically placed on their plot of land by God himself; daily declare that they are the light of King Jesus; and then shine brightly before their neighbors by the way they live, being careful to not bushel that light. Why? So that those neighbors will see those good deeds and then glorify their Father in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

What is one thing you can do this week in your ministry in your church to encourage families to create lighthouse homes that reach out? 

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Jeremy Bouma is a pastor with the Evangelical Covenant Church in West Michigan. He is the founder of THEOKLESIA, a content curator dedicated to helping the 21st century church rediscover the historic Christian faith; holds the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology; and writes about faith, life, and everything in between at www.jeremybouma.com.

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