Guest post by Katie Ward
I graduated from high school with MPE in 2006, the oldest of five crazy kids, after being homeschooled all the way.
Through our middle and high school years, we babysat kids, did yard work, organized stuff, worked in offices, and more – some paid and some volunteer work. And … we came to appreciate the flexibility of governing our own time AND earning the big bucks.
(Big bucks are relative to your age. Looking back, we realize that Mom paying us $1 per bucket of pulled weeds was NOT the big bucks. Thanks, Mom. But I digress.)
Now that we are all finished with high school, some of us work full-time jobs as employees, some of us own our businesses (cleaning, lawn care), and some of us do both! And my parents and all five of us have come to realize that God strengthens our family relationships through our work together.
And so, we are incredibly excited about the upcoming Family Economics Conference (FEC) coming to Kansas City on Oct. 2-4.
Vision for a biblical family economy
We attended a similar conference last year and were challenged to continue seeking God’s plan for us in our work, in our church, in our personal lives, as a family, and in other relationships. So we are thrilled that Generations with Vision is bringing the FEC close to home.
We’re looking forward to hearing Kevin Swanson and R.C. Sproul Jr. cast a vision for a biblical family economy, while Steve Riddell and Dave Tucker will bring terrific hands-on, practical wisdom for starting and efficiently running your own family business. Plus there will be several “Business in a Box” workshops that can jumpstart you into starting your own unique business.
One of the best parts, though, will be the panels with folks from Kansas City who are in the process of building their own family economies, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions on agriculture, family roles, elder care, and more. These are families “in the trenches” who definitely don’t have it all figured out, but who have some do’s and don’ts to share about their own journeys.
(Learn more here about the national speakers and the families from Kansas City who will be sharing their stories.)
AND, imagine experiencing all of this in the company of hundreds of other families who love God and want to apply His truth to every area of their life: lots of opportunities for rich fellowship are guaranteed! (There is a free conference-wide pizza party on Friday night – what fun! – plus lunches are available to purchase so you can stick around and visit with new and old friends.)
Learning the “hard work” ethic
My parents started educating me at home in kindergarten after attending a Kindergarten Round-Up at the local public school in Nebraska. They were a little shocked to realize that, at age 5, I’d have to be in school all day long (even after the teachers assured them that if I got tired, I could take a nap).
They took homeschooling one year at a time for the first few years, but gradually the Lord turned their hearts and they became convinced of the incredible opportunity they had to hold the primary mentoring and discipleship role in their children’s lives.
This continued after I completed high school and community college, where I received a degree in business. As I entered the secular learning environment, I had my parents available to pray for me and share their guidance.
So what does this have to do with family economics? Well, as my siblings and I grew older, my parents encouraged us to work hard, plan and save for the future, and learn a “hard work” ethic that would be valuable for us however the Lord might call us to serve Him.
My parents recognized this as a part of our education, since education is really preparation for life – and life requires hard work and money!
Building family powerhouses
God calls the local church to spread His truth through the world: the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. The church is a body that Christ equips to do His work, and each individual is an integral part of that body. The arm isn’t much good on its own, but when it’s connected to the body, it’s powerful.
And we believe each individual family is a small picture of that – a dynamic powerhouse of service, ministry and work. By working together, dad, mom and kids can accomplish much more (in business and in ministry) than each one working separately ever could.
This applies to my dad’s job as a laboratory scientist (whether we’re helping him organize his office or sending treats to his regular meetings) and my sister’s job owning a house-cleaning business (and my amazing opportunity to have my younger sister as a boss!). We believe this ministry/work combo will strengthen us kids as we transition, in God’s timing, into building our own family powerhouses with our spouses and children.
The relationships we build as a family, serving and working together, can have a huge impact on our own individual spiritual health, and on the influence we have in our community as we spread the light of Christ.
Our family still has lots of learning to do, about how to be employees of integrity, how to maneuver owning our own businesses, and how NOT to kill each other when we’re working together!
Each year, God continues to graciously teach me and our family new ways for us to be seeking Him and changing our life to reflect His plan. This fall, I’m excited about the many families who will be doing the same as they attend the Family Economics Conference.
Will you consider attending? To get the specifics and register, just go to www.familyeconomics.com.
And if you come, be sure to say hi! I’ll be around along with the rest of the crazy Ward clan. We’d love to hear what God is doing in your Family Economy!
Katie Ward is MPE’s newsletter editor and also creates and designs our annual homeschool conference program. She and her family have volunteered for many years in the MPE Conference Committee, the Women’s Encouragement Day Committee and many other events too numerous to mention. MPE is overwhelmingly appreciative of the Ward family!