Family Fellowship, a glossy softcover book of 90 pages, discusses ways for parents to build fellowship into the home. Topics include fellowship and obedience, gaining fellowship, keys to a joy-filled home, and roadblocks to fellowship. The book also has an Appendix. As a young couple, Jonathan and Maranatha Owens share what they have learned about building a family that thrives on fellowship. The book offers ideas on enforcing boundaries while maintaining fellowship and relationships with our children. As a stay-at-home mom, Maranatha homeschools the family's four children while Jonathan is a registered Piano Technician working to support the family financially. The book is predominantly written by Jonathan, and he includes a chapter geared toward fathers. The chapter geared toward mothers is authored by Maranatha. Together, the authors have crafted an easy-to-read book with concise chapters that are divided into easily understood parts.
The introduction reminds the reader that God sacrificed His only Son in order to have fellowship with man and encourages the reader to be willing to sacrifice much to gain fellowship with family members. In the discussion on obedience, the author recommends the book To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl. The careful fellowship and discipline of children is beautifully compared to the required pruning of young lavender plants in order for the flower to flourish later. Discussing subjects like living within our means, devising a work schedule that truly benefits our children, and the sacredness of having more time to fellowship with family, Jonathan encourages families to pay off debt and redirect finances to gain precious family time. Maranatha contributes a heartfelt discussion of joy being a choice as she gives thanks to God for His mercy in teaching her this lesson. The book stresses the importance of parents being the source of change in the home, along with the possible difficulties that may arise as parents attempt to make positive change. The Appendix lists "The Top Ten Ways You Can Work Fellowship Into Your Home Life" and does a wonderful job summarizing much of the book, but the book should still be read completely. Use the Appendix as an occasional refresher to keep you on track.
Family Fellowship is an excellent addition to our library. Moms are reminded that they create the atmosphere of the home and should take the job to heart. Dads are encouraged to work together with their children as much as possible, even within their employment, gaining more time and interaction with the family. While the author acknowledges that God is the source of all wisdom, he stresses our responsibility to do our part in seeking knowledge and putting what we learn to good use. He encourages the reader to find a family whose parenting skills you admire and ask them about what they do. Too often books tend to "beat around the bush." I found this book to be pleasantly direct about what needs to be done to truly gain fellowship with our children.
Some of the examples of fellowship border on ridiculous, as the author admits. For this reason, I almost lost interest, but the author guides the reader back to the subject at hand: the goal of building a relationship of fellowship. This is not an incredibly deep book. It does not offer 100 ways to reach out to your kids; rather, it empowers you to make immediate changes in your home to build your family.
Family Fellowship fills a need in many Christian homes. Parents are often floundering, unsure of how to even begin to instill joy in their family members. This book offers simple tools and very honest direction as to how to change and begin to enjoy family fellowship. This well-written book offers insight and direction that will strengthen every family.