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Christian Family Weekend: an oasis amid culture attacks

GLORIETA, N.M (BP)–Families and marriages in America are shouting “mayday,” but is the cry for help too late?

“Two institutions foundational to God’s creation are the family and marriage,” said Tommy Teague, pastor of North Richland Hills Baptist Church in Texas. “Both are under attack. [Christians] have been oblivious to the challenges facing those institutions for too long. We can’t sit on the sidelines any longer. The question now is: Are we about 10 years too late?”

Teague was one of several speakers during Christian Family Weekend July 23-26 at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center near Santa Fe, N.M.

The focus of the three-day event was to encourage and equip families to live biblically in the face of a secular culture that is increasingly hostile toward marriage and family. With an aggressive homosexual agenda redefining marriage, and with the failure of the U.S. Senate to bring a Federal Marriage Amendment to a vote despite a majority of Americans being in favor of such an amendment, Teague said events like Christian Family Weekend “are a must.”

LifeWay’s Christian Family Weekend, like Marriage Impact, Fall Festival of Marriage, Homeschool Family Adventure and other events, is designed to supply the all-inclusive programming that churches often can’t provide for themselves to help combat the stifling secular attack on Christian families.

“This is a proactive way for us to communicate, ‘Hey, this is what families and marriages are supposed to be about,'” said Hal Hill, national event planner and event director for LifeWay. “There isn’t a June and Ward Cleaver family out there in reality, so what we need to recognize is that there is a God-given, God-ordained relational group called the family. Christian families are not immune to the challenges the world throws at them, but we believe families are to be the most prized and cherished relationships we can have as individuals.”

Family worship and devotional times anchored the weekend, with special-interest conferences interspersed. The conferences were designed to cover such topics as the characteristics of a Christian home, raising teenagers, financial management, “Making Love Beyond the Bedroom,” spiritual leadership, discipline and others. Added this year were sessions on blended families and time management for single parents. Ministers and laymen from churches across the country determined the topics most critical to strengthening families. The weekend also allows families ample recreational time.

“We’re looking for reinforcement for our family and possibly some new tools to help us in raising our kids,” said Cliff Estel, of Riverside, Calif. The Estels brought three generations to the weekend. “It’s a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.”

The chance to “get away” was why Tim Harris brought his family. Harris is the district attorney in Tulsa, Okla., and had a stressful budgetary session the week before. On the way home he heard a radio advertisement for Christian Family Weekend and made the decision to bring his wife and two children, ages 12 and 15.

“I just felt it deep in my soul when the guy on the ad was asking if I was stressed and needed to get away,” Harris said. “It was like the Lord was saying this was an opportunity we needed to take advantage of. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for us.”
LifeWay Glorieta will host Christian Family Weekend again July 1-4, 2005. Information about other marriage and family enrichment events hosted by LifeWay can be found at www.lifeway.com/conferencecenters or by calling 1-800-588-7222 (LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center) or 1-800-797-4222 (Glorieta).