Since truly settling in and purposely learning more about my Savior, I continually find a beauty in how God uses His children’s backgrounds and makeup to accomplish His work. But I am extremely appreciative of those who have been called to Pastor and Shepherd God’s children. Having spent the last 18-plus years working side-by-side with these Servants as a church secretary or clerk, I marvel at their willingness and perseverance in working with the spiritual sheep and goats (Matthew 25:32-36; no disrespect intended as I have been both) under their pastoral care.
I am always in wonder of God’s sense of humor. While praying to work full-time for my own pastor, my current position opened up and I was invited, accepted and now work for a pastor – Pastor Rowan. I recently enjoyed a letter he posted to his members in their newsletter. May it give you some food for thought as well …
From Pastor Cedric Rowan, to his congregation at First Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kansas…
Family Dinner – A Vanishing Family Tradition
On Wednesday, September 29th, we will have our annual Family Dinner here at the church. It’s been my prayer that each year the number would grow and grow creating a move to a larger location. We haven’t reached that growth yet, but I am hopeful one day we will. So, why is this such an important activity for your pastor? Glad you asked me that question, and here’s the Why (emphasis added).
Study after study continues to show the benefit of families eating together at a table without the television and electronic devices (cell phones) occupying the minds of both parents and children. We gather in the kitchen only to retrieve food and then retreat to our “sacred places” to entertain ourselves, losing out on the valuable opportunity to have mindful conversations.
One report states that 59% of Americans report having fewer and fewer family dinners then previous generations. As a baby boomer, I affirm that statement and, in our home, dinner was a time everyone ate together with very few exceptions. If you missed the dinner, momma would clean up and close the kitchen. Your options – start drinking water, eat peanut butter and jelly, or dream about breakfast. Remember, there were no microwaves to heat up dinner back then.
With the advancements in technology, recreational and school activities, dining out, me time, and fast food, the dinner hour is on the endangered species list unless we say – no more.
If you seek to study this more, you will find several reasons suggesting the importance of “Family Dinner.” Here’s just a few:
Improved Mental Health
One study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids who regularly enjoyed family meals were less likely to experience symptoms of depression and less likely to get into drug use. Nobody ever said, “please pass the joint” at the dinner table — although it would be a lot cooler if they did.
Research also suggests that when a family eats together they feel a strong bond with one another. Everyone leads disconnected lives at work and school, and this time allows them to reconnect. And you’ll also be able to keep tabs on your kids’ lives. So, when Ricky tells Tina that Julie said Tommy was going to ask Rebecca to be his girlfriend, you’ll know about it.
The National Center On Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has done a series of studies on the importance of family meals. One showed that kids who eat with their family less than 3 times a week were twice as likely to report receiving C’s or worse in school. Kids who ate with family 5 to 7 times per week did much better, reporting mostly A’s and B’s. Either your lasagna is genius fuel, or dinnertime is the perfect time to make sure they’ve done their homework.
Families that eat together make better food choices. One study from Stanford University reported that kids who eat family dinners are less likely to grub on fried food and saturated fats, while seeking out stuff like fruits and veggies.
This is just a short list and don’t forget saving money. Yes, the older our children become it’s still the same. Grown folks need to communicate as well.
It’s important to understand the value family has as viewed by generations. We hear so often the term “postmodern” where many of our assumptions about culture, identity, history, religion, and language are fundamentally reassessed to fix a norm of our behavior. Let’s get back to what we know is God’s true plan and His plan for healthy families.
In a recent study conducted by Barna Group entitled Forming Family Values in a Digital Age, the survey results concluded a point I would like to share. 
If we value something, we will support and appreciate it more and more each day. It’s not just dinner.
See you Wednesday for some fun and family time.
Cedric Rowan, Senior Pastor