Family is designed to make a difference in the world.
Your family will influence all the people and communities with whom you interact: friends and loved ones, fellow church-members, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, maybe even the drivers stuck in traffic next to you. You can’t choose whether you make a difference, but you can choose what kind of difference you make.
Your family can choose to leave a deep, lasting impact on the world.
Find a cause that you can champion together.
Take your family’s generosity to the next level by choosing a cause or social problem that you can each contribute your time, talent, and treasure to solve. Championing a cause can unify your family and multiply the impact of your giving.
Picking just one cause can be tricky. As one donor to The Signatry told us, “It’s not hard to find injustices in the world.”
One helpful exercise is to explore your family’s core values, vision for the future, and mission in God’s kingdom. Understanding these pieces of your family identity can help you choose a cause based on the things that matter to you most.
1. Identify your family’s values.
What guides your family’s decision making?
Values are the moral and ethical principles of behavior that get transmitted from one generation to the next. They are like a compass that helps orient your family toward right decisions.
You probably already have some ideas about what is most important to you and your family members. Adventure? Education? Diligence? Creativity? Trust? Reflect on words that describe your family and consider which of those characteristics you want your family to keep pursuing for generations.
Try to narrow these ideas down to no more than five core family values. For example, the final list could be:
2. Establish your family’s vision.
What do you hope your grandchildren will do? What about your great-great-grandchildren? What do you pray they will accomplish?
Your vision is your ideal future state and the goals which define success. Your vision is what only God can do—your part in the vision will come later.
The core family values you identified can help you understand your vision. It should be big, exciting, and impossible to achieve without God’s help. It should be something that unifies and excites your family.
“Every generation choosing joy. Every generation choosing mercy.”
“Go about doing good until there’s too much good in the world.”
3. State your family’s mission.
What role can your family play in the God-sized vision you have just set?
Your mission statement is what your family must do or become in order to achieve the vision.
A family mission should be short, practical, and actionable. Look to your family values and family vision to understand what you most want your family members to do and to become. What steps will help you get there? What action words stand out?
Your family’s mission can help unify you and keep everyone focused on what God has called you to do. For example:
“Trust God. Encourage one another. Live boldly.”
“Seek God’s will for our lives and balance fellowship, health, education, and finances.”
Once your family has explored what values guide your decisions, what goals you most want to see God accomplish, and what actions you can take to get there, it may become clear what causes align with these.
For example, a family who values health and well-being may choose to support clean water access in order to achieve a future where all people can safely nourish their bodies. A family who values reconciliation may support programs for single mothers to find rest and relationships in the church.
You can champion your cause not only with your finances, but also by volunteering, educating your friends about the issue, advocating for social or political change, and more. Above all, pray.