“If your faith does not work in the home, your faith does not work.” – Howard Hendricks

Vividly the bird sanctuary at the San Diego Zoo is framed in my memory bank.

Some 45 years ago Susie and I took our little girl Jennifer to this amazing zoo.

Every detail was in order to make this an ideal environment. The tigers, lions, monkeys, giraffes and all creatures were in a perfect environment.

My favorite place was the bird sanctuary. It was personified for the birds. Beauty, peace, and provision shouted softly to me.

Susie and I made a life decision as we marveled at man’s workmanship in building a bird sanctuary of perfection.

Could it be possible to build a home sanctuary?

What would we need to do to make our home a sanctuary; a place of beauty, peace, and opportunity for growth?

What environment matters could we control or not control?

What did we agree upon and disagree upon; how could we eliminate the disagreement issues and build our team unity?

Knowing what a sanctuary home is not, is equally as important as knowing the one you want.

This is not rocket science. Imitate the bird sanctuaries from the great zoos of the world.

Five non-negotiables:

  1. Control the home environment – clean, organized, and safe.
  2. A fun place to come home to with laughter, joy, encouragement, and absence of poor character.
  3. Enjoy at least one meal together daily – no TV at meal time. No word fighting at meals.
  4. Family planning just like a professional business meeting one time per week. 30-minute maximum.
  5. One daily devotion and prayer time – KISS method, (keep it simple, stupid).

The 15 to 30-minute family meeting once a week profoundly impacted the Crowell home.

Basic Principles For Family meeting:

  1. Agree on the best time to meet.
  2. Each person brings a notebook, pen, and  Bible.
  3. One person opens in prayer, (brief is best.)
  4. Each person writes and shares one blessing of the week.
  5. One person shares a Biblical principle to inspire the family. Take turns each week.
  6. Each person writes their key tasks for the coming week. Share at least one.
  7. Each person asks this elegant question to the family team. What is one way I can serve you this week? Each request is negotiable.
  8. Close with each person praying.

Paul’s Word in Philippians 2 moves me to do the extremely hard work of having a sanctuary home. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2 1-4

Imagine the hard work it takes to maintain the bird sanctuary at the San Diego Zoo!  

The most important sanctuary is our homes. It requires hard work. It demands daily attention. It is never a finished product.

Is it worth it? Each of us must decide.

As for me and my house, it is worth it!  No price is too costly. Peace, joy, laughter, healthy communication and quick repair to issues that require forgiveness and reconciliation make a sanctuary home a reality.