2021 | Week of October 11 | Radio Transcript #1433
What does it take to make a community great? That’s the question we’ve been asking ourselves as we plan and deliver grassroots training sessions to help people do that.
Answering that question requires some basic but critical understanding. First and foremost is that God has laid out a plan for humans to govern. The most basic, and I would argue the most important, level of government is the family. By God’s design, and deemed “very good” by our Holy Creator God, the family is where all good government begins.
Married dads and moms teach their children values, obedience to rules, how to work with and interact with others, including the give and take of appropriately settling disagreements, hierarchies of authority, and more—all of which are fundamental to raising up the next generation of citizens. When families breakdown or never form, children don’t learn the critical basics about being good citizens and what good government looks like.
Later in Genesis, in Chapter 9 verse 6, God instituted civil government. He told Noah that if a man kills another man, the murderer was to be dealt with by the people. In other words, God wasn’t going to exact immediate punishment on the murderer. He was giving that responsibility to the citizens involved in that community. That’s civil government—and it starts at the local level.
Local government is, as I have said many times, the level of government that has the most direct impact on our lives. The decisions made by county boards, mayors and city councils, town and village boards, and school boards affect us often in profound and personal ways.
Local government is comprised of community members. Thus it follows that local government will largely reflect the people in a given community. Because families are the most basic and most important level of government, when a community does not have a majority of strong nuclear families, led by married men and women as fathers and mothers, the leadership of that community and the resultant government will reflect that reality. Strong families, strong community, strong local government. And, of course, the opposite is true.
So to make or keep a community great, an assessment of the state of the family in a community needs to be done. If shoring up is needed, an appeal to the churches in the community is in order, since churches are one of the primary family strengthening agents in a community.
Churches need to preach and teach clearly and often the truth about God’s plan for marriage and family. That plan needs to be held as the gold standard—or better yet, the God standard. That doesn’t mean others who are not in such families are denigrated or in any way made to feel like second-class people. But the emphasis must be on doing family God’s way.
In addition, churches need to help parents parent. Being a parent today is challenging in ways we’ve not seen before. That’s likely largely because of the Internet and the access so many children and teens have to that medium where, unless parents have taken stringent measures, they are being bombarded with lies, unwholesome videos, music, graphics, and messages and more. And, of course, children in public schools are incredibly vulnerable to humanistic, ungodly teaching. Churches need to actively counter all of this in their teaching and preaching, including special classes for parents who are trying to rear their children in a godly way.
Building strong families is a long-term investment; it doesn’t happen overnight. But the good news is that while efforts are underway to strengthen families and increase their numbers to ensure great communities long-term, changes can be made in the current local government situation.
Doing so requires organization, research and knowledge of the issues, sharing information with others, engaging significant numbers of people, assigning watchdogs to committees and bodies of government, showing up at meetings, holding elected officials accountable, and recruiting good candidates and helping them get elected. At the local level, all of this is very possible. Yes, it takes commitment, time, and energy—all good things require that. But great communities are worth all the time and energy given in that pursuit.
Communities where families are strong, good laws are passed, people respect each other, and freedoms are protected are great communities. What makes communities great? Great citizens getting involved.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”