Is your family purpose-driven? In other words, is your family influencing each other and the community in a way that reflects the Creator? There is one way to tell. How well is your family practicing the following five habits that all purpose-driven families pursue.
We commonly think about purpose as individuals. Thanks to Pastor Rick Warren’s ground-breaking book, “Purpose-driven life” many of us began to think afresh about why we are here on earth. We were created to use our gifts and talents to get to know God more intimately, to authentically connect with others, and to help others develop richer relationships with God themselves.
When we think about purpose, we tend to think about it at the level of the individual. That certainly does have merit. However, the question is whether it stops there. Are marriages, families, communities, and churches intended to be purpose-driven as well?
Well, my answer is unequivocally “yes”.
Given my own interest in family life and encouraging folks to turn their hearts towards home, I set out to identify what it means to be a purpose-driven family.
I feel like it is an important notion in a culture where family life continues to face enormous internal and external financial, education, and employment stressors just to name a few.
The result is that marriages are strained. Parent-child relationships are shallow. Siblings are often disconnected and acting out. Elderly parents feel alienated. Even many singles struggle to maintain vital, life-giving relationships.
What is the problem?
The issues are certainly multifaceted. I believe, however, that at the core of the problem is a purpose deficit. Singles, couples, and families are going through the motions of life without a central guiding purpose or core identity.
In a previous post, I’ve discussed the five questions that are important to ask and listen of your family members. Click HERE to check it out. I encourage you to read that post as you consider the remainder of this post. They are complementary propositions.
Asking engaging questions and listening for the response is the fundamental need to move your family towards purpose. That is a starting point.
But, it isn’t just about the start. Purpose-driven families engage in behaviors that become practices that develop into habits. Habits, when developed early enough in one’s life journey, tend to become transgenerational.
As I study family life and observe families, I’ve observed five habits that some families have mastered that allow them to have extraordinary relationships with one another, wield extraordinary influence, and change the trajectory of those around them.
I want to have a purpose-driven family. It is with this desire in mind that I offer these five habits for your consideration.
5 Habits of Purpose-driven Families
Habit #1: Encourage Big Dreams
Purpose-driven families dream big. While other families settle for mediocrity or just getting from one week to the next, purpose-driven families set God-size expectations. Purpose-driven families of faith expect the size of their dreams to reflect the size of their God. And, they worship a very big God.
In fact, I think one biblical passage, Ephesians 4:29, may best depict how purpose-driven families encourage one other.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Rather than tearing one another down with words and deeds, purpose-driven families build one another up. The key phrase here, however, is “according to their needs”. These sensitive families have developed the ability to ask the right questions and listen for the answers so that they understand one another’s needs. They encourage each other’s strengths and strengthen each other’s weaknesses.
Purpose-driven families have lofty expectations that are encouraged with grace and sensitivity. They push each other higher and higher—but with grace and sensitivity rather than self-serving pride.
Purpose-driven families believe each individual is great but that as a family system they are greater than the sum of their parts. With this family synergy practically anything is possible. This positivity is self-fulfilling.
Habit #2: Develop Blind Faith
Purpose-driven families know that big dreams require big faith. They live in what author Donald Kraybill calls “The Upside Down Kingdom”.
Purpose-driven families have countercultural beliefs. Here are a few of them.
Purpose-driven families live as if…
- Believing is seeing (rather than seeing is believing)
- The least is the greatest (rather than the first is the greatest)
- It is better to give than to receive
These are faith positions because they require belief in something beyond themselves. It is this blind faith that propels them to push through their fears and insecurities for one simple reason. They trust God’s provision.
Purpose-driven families know that faith is caught more than taught. So, they allow their behavior to do the speaking for them. By doing so, they seem to create a never-ending number of opportunities.
Habit #3: Walk a Narrow Path
Purpose-driven families are trendsetters. They are leaders. They are discriminating about those who they allow to sow into their lives.
Because they practice what they preach, they walk the proverbial “road less traveled”.
Purpose-driven families pursue sanctification. You don’t hear the word “sanctification” used much in today’s culture. The term refers to the process of becoming holy or purified.
Don’t get me wrong. They aren’t perfect. But, they pursue it.When a mistake is made, they show one another “reckless grace.”
Inspired by scripture such as John 15:17, purpose-driven families don’t isolate themselves from the culture because they understand that their purpose is to impact culture in tangible ways.
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” – John 15:17
Yet, these families pursue cultural engagement in a way that reflects integrity, character, stewardship, and faithfulness. In other words, they are “in the world, but not of the world”.
Purpose-driven families understand that the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Therefore, they vigilantly focus on their direction.
Habit #4: Recognize Divine Direction
Because they recognize that there are forces greater than themselves, purpose-driven families of faith listen for divine direction.
What are they listening for? Essentially, it boils down to three things to which they maintain a sensitivity.
During the different season of life, purpose-driven families listen to God for when to…
- Change Speed – they seek guidance to whether they should speed up (act more proactively), slow down (move more cautiously), or maybe just stop altogether
- Change Lanes – they seek guidance for when priorities should be changed or when something new should be attempted
- Change Passengers – they seek guidance for timely partnerships and divine appointments as well as when it is time to let go of relationships that are no longer consistent with their values
Just as they listen to one another, purpose-driven families have developed a habit of listening to God as well.
Habit #5: Risk Courageous Leadership
Purpose-driven families cultivate a legacy of leadership by their deeds. They understand that leadership is about influence. These families recognize that you can only lead where you are willing to go. Therefore, they replace their fears with courage to enter unchartered territories.
Purpose-driven families are transformational. They don’t accept the status quo. They are not satisfied with “good enough”. As we said earlier, they encourage big dreams. They push the next level.
With this motivation, they look for wise and creative ways to influence people to believe in themselves, to care for others, and to change the culture around them.
So, there you have the five habits of purpose-driven families. How does your family compare?
Regardless of your current standing, it is never too late to move your family towards its purpose. Every journey begins with the first step.
Are you ready to take that step to move your family towards its purpose? Future generations of your family are depending on you to make the best decision.
It starts with a dream. Do you have a big one?
Leave a comment and let me know yours.