6 Habits of Gospel-Centered Homes: Peter Schemm

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What follows is a rough paraphrase and summary from the 2010 Connecting Chruch & Home Conference.  This session was comprised of the eleventh chapter of the forthcoming book, Trained in the Fear of God edited by Randy Stinson and Timothy Paul Jones. While we did not delve deep into each point Schemm has, we did gain a lot of insight through his trials and errors as well as his answering of questions for those who are struggling with making their home more gospel-centered.

Pete Schemm Pete Schemm serves as Associate Professor of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC. He is the former editor of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He was also Associate Editor and a contributor to A Theology for the Church (B&H). He currently serves as a Shepherd’s Training instructor at Open Door Baptist Church and has also served as pastor, associate pastor, and interim pastor of churches in North Carolina and Georgia. Pete and Vicki, his wife of seventeen years, have eight children: Charis, Colby, Jacob, Zachary, Parker, Anderson, Mary Kathryn, and Chase.

For more coverage of the 2010 Connecting Church & Home Conference visit our summary page. You can listen to audio from this conference on the Southern Seminary website.

Six Habits of Gospel-Centered Homes
The six habits Pete called for to make the home more gospel-centered (and these are in no particular order):

  1. Reciting the Apostle’s Creed together—this is the fundamental creed that spans all Christian doctrinal differences and has been around for centuries giving your child a historic mooring to the Christian faith.  A book entitled The Essence of Christian Doctrine has just recently been published.  It is centered on The Apostle’s Creed and would be an excellent resource for the family seeking to memorize this particular creed.
  2. Reading Scripture together—You have heard us espouse this here at Ministry To Children over and over!  there are numerous Children’s Bibles we do recommend.
  3. Catechism—Teaching your children historic catechism will be both beneficial to you and them. We have recommended a few here as well.
  4. Singing together—We are all familiar with Ephesians 5:19 that we should sing “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” That does not stop with the corporate worship—it is just as fundamentally true for the home as it is for the local body of believers.
  5. Prayer—Again, we have discussed much of this here, but Pete challenged everyone to pray together as a family more than just at meals.
  6. Table Talk—This stems from something Martin Luther used to do with his students and those who would eat meals with him and his family. This may be the most effective way in which you can begin the reformation in your home to its becoming more gospel-centered. This is very easy to do as all you really need to do is ask a question and allow those at the dinner table to answer.

After discussing these six points briefly, we had a chance to ask some questions. This was perhaps the most beneficial aspect to this hour long break-out session. I will attempt to summarize the questions and answers.
Q: How do you choose a catechism and what do you do if you do not agree with some of the questions and answers?
A: Choose a more historic catechism—I (Pete) do not personally use a catechism that is less than 100 years old. As for questions and answers you disagree with, there are two options. First, simply do not work on those you disagree with or, second, memorize them as they are listed but then offer to your children why you disagree with it. The latter method will cultivate a thinking mind and help your children to measure everything they believe according to scripture.
Q: How can you model a gospel-centered home for others to see? How can you bring others into your home to “see” how this works without making them feel awkward?
A: Focus on your home and the needs therein and others will flock to you because they see something different. As for not making others feel awkward, just go about your family business and be as natural as possible. In other words, do not line your kids up to show them off! You will see that doing this natural will be more powerful than any program you could ever initiate in your church.
Q: How often should we do these habits?
A: First, this is not an exhaustive list nor am I saying you must do these six things. But, I would say slowly at first. It takes time and persistence. If I had to give a number, I would say my family regularly does 4 of the 6 in any given week. Think about what you want your life and family to look like and then move in that direction.
Q: If you want to start this immediately in your home and begin to change the culture in your church, where would you begin first?
A: It really depends on your situation in the home. If your husband is talkative, I would have him read Scripture—there are numerous children’s Bibles available. If he is not talkative, perhaps reading is not the best bet. It really depends on each situation, but Bible Intake and prayer are probably the two most important overall.
Pete concluded with this golden nugget of a comment:
Remember, it is not about indoctrination, it is about inspiration. In other words, you want to inspire your children rather than force the issues.

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