The following is from Entering the World of the Small Church, written by Anthony G. Pappas.
"Professor Maynard Hatch, formerly of Central Baptist Seminary, worked with churches in a field-placement setting to measure their "temperature" (degree of health) by using certain characteristics of a healthy family. These characteristics, fifteen in all, are described in Dolores Curran's book Traits of a Healthy Family."
The Healthy Family...
1. Communicates and Listens
2. Affirms and Supports One Another
3. Teaches Respect for Others
4. Develops a Sense of Trust
5. Has a Sense of Play and Humor
6. Exhibits a Sense of Shared Responsibility
7. Teaches a Sense of Right and Wrong
8. Has a Strong Sense of Family in which Rituals and Traditions Abound
9. Has a Balance of Interaction Among Members
10. Has a Shared Religious Core
11. Respects the Privacy of One Another
12. Values Service to Others
13. Fosters Family Table Time and Conversation
14. Shares Leisure Time
15. Admits to and Seeks Help with Problems
These characteristics are being used in reflection on churches and the Body of Christ in general. I find them to be very helpful when trying to identify the health of the church you are attending or visiting and considering joining.
Though the discussion which introduced these characteristics happened to be related to the rural church, I find these characteristics vital for today's family. These are characteristics that can be sustained regardless of geographical location or family dynamics...if one so chooses to put in the extra time it takes to invest in their family. Families all to often dwell on the negatives and the petty, rather than seeking God's will for their family and working through issues. No where above is it suggested that we sweep problems under the rug or stick our heads in the sand and hope they simply disappear with time. But rather, it encourages us to have an open and respectful dialogue with our families that does not present a hostile environment.
Anyway, I just thought these were great characteristics to pass a long to you and hope you find them good food for thought.
Scripture Verses on Family for Personal Prayer and Reflection
"He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." - Proverbs 14:26.
"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife." - Proverbs 17:1.
"Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand." - Matthew 12:25.
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." - Ephesians 5:21
A house divided will surely crumble. But a house built on a foundation of the Lord and that lives to serve Jesus Christ, will never fail.