Living & Growing Together: The Christian Family Today

© 1976  Gary R. Collins

Published by Word Books, Waco, Texas


1. Family Congresses 2. Continental Congress on the Family
Library of Congress: 7619525 || BV4526.2 .L58|| OCLC #2542253 || 174p.

Living and Growing Together is presently held by 100 libraries including Princeton Theological Seminary and Ohio State University.

Table of Contents

Introduction       7

1. What Is a Family? — Edith Schaeffer       11


2. Developing Family Emotional Maturity — Quentin Hyder       27

3. Christian Parenthood — Bruce Narramore       38

4. Integrating Teenagers in the Family — Jay Kesler       53

5. Family Financial Planning — Waldo J. Werning       62

6. Leisure, Vacations, and the Family — William D. Gwinn       76


7. The Family in Today's World — Mark Hatfield       89

8. The Christian's Family in Society — Ted Ward       97

9. Drugs, Adolescence, and the Family — Basil Jackson       106

10. The Family and Mental Illness — C. Markham Berry       118 


11. Friendship Evangelism — Matthew S. Prince       133

12. The Family—Foundation for Evangelism — Leighton Ford      142 

From the Back Cover

   The writers in Living and Growing Together are convinced that there is much that families — especially Christian families — can do to deepen the ties and strengthen the spiritual dimension of the home. Each writer speaks out of the depths of his or her heart and life. Each presents a helpful, hopeful approach to the cultivation and maintenance of a stable, Christ-like home.

   The chapters were originally prepared for the Continental Congress on the Family in St. Louis, Missouri in 1975. The authors were selected because of their professional expertise, their Christian faith, and their commitment to helping families mature and grow.


   Several years ago a number of family experts were surveyed and asked to list the greatest changes that they had observed in families during recent times. The increasing divorce rate (now over 1 million annually in the U.S.) was most frequently mentioned. Then came the decreasing influence of the husband and father in the home, the increase in sexual intercourse apart from marriage, the growing number of working wives, and the decline in family size. Add to this such things as widespread confusion over male and female roles, the constant mobility in our society which keeps families on the move and far away from relatives, the hectic life-style and excessive busyness of family members with all of their activities outside of the home, and it is easy to understand why many people wonder if the family can or even should survive.

Page 8

   In the lives of many people, it would appear that the home is becoming less and less important. There are numerous demands on our time from outside the family, so much so that for many people the home is little more than a convenient place to sleep, grab a bite to eat, and get the laundry done. This, of course, affects every member of the family. The father too often is absent or, when he does come home, too tired to get involved in family activities. The mother is either working to supplement the family income or involved in activities which are, for many, more fulfilling than homemaking. The children, including teenagers, are either left alone or caught up in their own round of community, school, and other activities.

   Even the church has been blamed for hindering family unity. With frequent meetings, programs geared to different age groups, men's fellowships and women's circles, children's clubs and teen activities, committed Christians sometimes find that their place of worship keeps them so busy that there is no time for family togetherness. And even when there is time to be together many people aren't sure what they could be doing to build unity or to have fun as a family.

   Each of the writers of this book has given serious consideration to family problems such as these and in the following pages each offers practical help for Christian families who are living and growing together. At the Continental Congress on the Family, held recently in St. Louis, each of these chapters was presented verbally, debated enthusiastically and revised subsequently for inclusion in this book.

   Edith Schaeffer, popular author and Christian homemaker from L'Abri in Switzerland, begins the book with her definition of what a family really is. This is followed by five chapters dealing with the internal aspects of family togetherness: family emotional maturity (Hyder), parenthood (Narramore), the challenges of teenagers (Kesler), family finances (Werning) and vacations (Gwinn).

   Sometimes family unity is strained or shattered by pressures that come from outside the home and are beyond the control of family members. Senator Mark Hatfield discusses some of these pressures in his chapter which, incidentally, was the opening

Page 9

address at the Continental Congress on the Family. Ted Ward continues the same theme with the chapter on the family and society which brought forth some of the most positive reactions from Congress participants. Psychiatrists Basel Jackson and Markham Berry then follow with chapters on ways by which families can reach out to the world around. Matthew Prince describes what he calls friendship evangelism, and Leighton Ford's chapter (which was the closing Congress address) gives a challenge for all Christian families to be involved in spreading the gospel through the family unit.

   J. Allan Petersen, president of Family Concern, Omaha, Nebraska, first conceived the idea of a Continental Congress on the Family. He mobilized the resources and directed the many details which brought the Congress, and subsequent books, into existence. It was his hope that the Congress would alert Christians in North America and abroad to the needs of the family and would stimulate all of us to build better families in our communities and churches, but especially in our homes. The North American family has a long way to go before it's problems are solved. Hopefully this book will take many families at least one step further in the direction of greater and more widespread family stability.

GARY R. COLLINS          

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