“You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you. It is also for your children”.Acts 2:38-39
Grace for Spirit-filled family life
The whole of the Christian life can be summed up in one word: grace.
Grace is God’s undeserved gifts, which He pours into our life each and every day. Through God’s grace I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Through His grace I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Through His grace I was introduced to the Work of Christ Community, where I received the teaching, fellowship, and tangible support needed to sustain my Christian life through the years. And, through His grace I met and married a wonderful Christian woman: my wife Jan.
The Lord has continued to pour His grace into our family. When our children were quite young, many parents in our community came to the conclusion that our children should share fully in our life together — including the charismatic aspect of that life. We began praying for them to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and they were.
About this time, the community developed a special prayer meeting so the children could experience charismatic worship with their peers. We also made room for the children to exercise their charismatic gifts in the adult gatherings.
In addition, the Work of Christ began a summer children’s camp. The week contained all of the things you would expect: games, crafts, boats, swimming, and, of course, camp food. It also featured a lot of activities aimed at spiritual development. But, the most important event at camp was the “Gathering for Christ” where we would pray for the children to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. At camp, the children would be prayed with year after year: not because what happened the previous year did not “stick” but because the children had matured and were ready for more.
Daily life in the Spirit
The charismatic life is not just about summer camp and prayer meetings; it is mostly about day-to-day life. Families in our community were encouraged to have family prayer — including charismatic prayer — on a regular basis. This, too, was a gift of God’s grace.
Somewhere in all of this, it seemed right to take our own children, one by one, through the Life in the Spirit Seminar.
We wanted to be personally involved in our children’s spiritual life and to share with them this material that had been so pivotal in our own lives. For several weeks in a row, Jan and I would sit down with one of our children and work through the outlines with them — making the content understandable at a child’s level. (I have a strong opinion that it is especially helpful for Dad to be the visible leader in all of this, but I will spare you that lecture.)
When it was time for the prayer session, we invited another family for the Lord’s Day meal and afterwards prayed with the child to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
What a blessing it has been to see our children grow up living a Spirit-filled Christian life. They were blessed with regular opportunities to exercise their spiritual gifts at both children and adult gatherings.
They first attended and then served at summer camp.
They participated in regional youth retreats and conferences. They went on mission trips, joined University Christian Outreach, and lived in Christian household.
As young adults, they, and many of their peers in the community, have a maturity in the Holy Spirit that comes from many years of living in the Holy Spirit.
Jerry Munk is a member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lansing, Michigan and a coordinator of the Work of Christ Community in Lansing MI, USA. His wife Jan serves as a senior woman leader in the Work of Christ. Their three grown children, Ruthie, James, and Christina, are actively involved in The Sword of the Spirit and its outreaches.