Creating a Family Vision
About the Guest
Where is your family heading? If you don’t know, it’s likely you’ll wind up somewhere you don’t want to be. Greg Gunn, a father of seven and President of Family Vision Ministries, and his wife Rhonda teach couples how they can discover their family’s unique purpose and passion by creating a Family I.D.
Greg Gunn and his wife Rhonda teach couples how they can discover their family’s unique purpose and passion.
Creating a Family Vision
Bob: I don’t know if you have stopped to think about it, but the culture is selling a vision to your children of what life ought to be. What about you? Are you casting a vision for them? Here’s Greg Gunn.
Greg: I’m just telling you—your children—the group that has a vision—they will adopt it. That’s basically what all of our children are looking for: “Somebody show me a vision that would resonate in my very DNA, and I will buy it. I will swallow that thing hook, line, and sinker if someone will just give me something to stand for—something to believe in.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, January 10th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today about how you can establish a family mission, a family vision, and how you cast that for generations to come. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Do you see this picture of all these people? I’m looking at the Gunn family.
Dennis: What are the ages of your kids? You’ve got seven children. Rhonda?
Rhonda: Our oldest is 25. She’s married, and we have a five-year-old granddaughter.
Rhonda: Thank you so much. Then, Hannah—and Naveh’s the granddaughter—she’s married to Hunter. Bethany is 21. Esther is 16. Leah is 14.
Dennis: And about this time, people are wondering, “Are there enough names in the Bible to be able to cover all seven?” And there are.
Rhonda: There are. [Laughter]
Dennis: All the way down to what age?
Rhonda: Josiah is 13. Mariah is 11. Jacob’s nine.
Bob: So, this picture I’m looking at—
Rhonda: So, 25 to nine.
Bob: —the two of you, the seven kids—
Bob: —a husband and a grandchild—thrown in. How do you even get around the same table? You must have a big kitchen table.
Rhonda: We have a huge table.
Dennis: Oh, come on, Bob! You had five kids. You know how it happens. [Laughter] You just crowd in there.
Well, we do want to welcome, Greg and Rhonda Gunn, back to the broadcast.
Rhonda: Thank you so much.
Dennis: Rhonda, Greg, welcome back.
Greg: Thank you.
Rhonda: Thank you.
Dennis: Greg is the Founder and President of Family Vision Ministries. They live in Oklahoma City. I have to ask you, “Tell the listeners what Bob is wearing at this moment. [Laughter] In the NBA, what team are you for?”
Greg: Well, we’re for the Thunder—
Greg: —the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Bob: A fine team, by the way. I’ll just say that. They’re a fine team.
Dennis: Well done, Bob. You’ve found fresh ways of insulting our guests once again. [Laughter] Tell them, Greg—
Dennis: —what Bob’s wearing.
Greg: Well, he’s wearing his San Antonio Spurs t-shirt.
Bob: Yes, I am.
Greg: He’s been gloating.
Dennis: You guys have written a book, not about the NBA, but about helping families determine their unique purpose, passion, and mission. It’s called Family-iD. What is Family-iD? Explain that concept.
Greg: Well, Family-iD has several meanings to it. One of them stands for Intentional Direction—that we would help us, as families, develop our intentional direction because we know that every family is going to end up somewhere; but few are going to end up somewhere on purpose. So, we want to have an intentional direction about our daily activities. It’s those little daily, routine things that actually end up becoming our destiny.
Bob: True to form, you have set a goal for your ministry; right?
Bob: You want to get a million families, to first of all, “Stir it up,”—is what you say.
Greg: That’s right. [Laughter]
Bob: So, what would “stirring it up” look like for these million families?
Greg: Well, it would be to stir up in them the desire to develop this family vision, and mission, and values—to see the importance of having this information in writing. If somebody didn’t write something about you or you didn’t write something, as far as your future generations are concerned, you did not exist. For you to have existed, you must put something in writing or have somebody write something about you and have some method of passing that to the next generation; or it will be lost.
Truly, we are just one generation away from extinction when comes to our values, our beliefs, our mission, and our calling.
Dennis: You really believe in putting things in writing?
Dennis: You used to work in a company where you used to fine employees who didn’t have their goals, in writing, on their person when you ran into them. I’m going to ask you—you’re the President of this ministry—you have a goal of one million—“Show me your goal. Do you have your goal laminated on a card?”
Bob: You’ve got a wallet, there with you?
Greg: Yes, it’s right here. It’s right here. I’ve written them out and—
Dennis: Oh, no, no, no! Those are all cheat sheets for being on the radio.
Bob: I’m talking about in your wallet. Do you carry it around—
Greg: No, I don’t. I don’t. I don’t have it on me.
Dennis: Oh, so, we have a fine right here! [Laughter]
Greg: It’s a $1 fine.
Rhonda: Lay it out, Greg.
Dennis: You’re the first guest we’ve ever fined on FamilyLife Today! [Laughter] Rhonda is really enjoying this, too, by the way.
Bob: It would seem to me that there would be in most families—in most dads and husbands, most wives and moms—there’s kind of—you’ve got something in you that wants to kind of know where you’re going. We just never really sit down and, as you said, write it out—kind of formalize it. It’s all just there but never really—we’re not really intentional about it; are we?
Rhonda: I know for me, as a mom, just on a daily basis, to have the family mission and vision in my mind has helped center me—it helped keep me focused. Instead of getting sidetracked—which I do a lot—get sidetracked—get frustrated about different things—if I remember, “Okay, what am I here to do with these kids?” —“Is laying the foundation for many godly generations,”—“Okay, what am I doing today to do that?” It just kind of helps me alleviate frustration.
So, the thing I do every morning is have a devotion with the kids and just sit around and pray. We pray for their spouses. We pray just for different situations. Now, I have kids staring off; so, I have to refocus them: “Now, come on, kids. We’re sharing, and we’re laying the foundation for many generations.” So, for me, as a mom, that has helped me see where we are going.
Dennis: I want to just underscore that for a moment because if you don’t know where you are going, then, you’re going to start comparing your family with other families. You can always find somebody who is doing something better than you—so, you’re going to say, “We’re not in enough athletics,”—
Dennis: —or, “We’re not doing enough music training with our kids.” With seven kids, you could become schizophrenic, as a family, running around, taking your kids to all the practices, all the events, all the athletic endeavors. If you don’t know what you’re about, as a family, the world’s got a plan for your family.
Dennis: It wants it to be too busy. I do think, today, one of the biggest sins of young families today is they have too much going on because of what you just said, Rhonda. They don’t have their own plan. They don’t have their own vision. So, they are taking their marching orders from the world or by comparing themselves with other families.
Greg: So true. In fact, in all the studies that we’ve done on goal-setting, we’ve found that if you write a goal one time—even forget that you wrote it—there is a 73 percent chance you’ll accomplish that goal. How many of us would love to have a 73 percent chance—pushing us toward what we want? You know? But if you write a goal and look at it often, there’s a 93 percent chance you’ll accomplish that goal. What a powerful thing to have some method of—number one, writing the goal; number two, having it in front of you so you can see it often.
But according to Habakkuk, Chapter 2—and I really believe this is the foundation of our book, The Family-iD—Habakkuk, Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3. It says, “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing because it is not yet time for it to come true, but the time is coming quickly and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it. It will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed.”
What a powerful word that, if your vision comes from God, it appears, based upon this Scripture, that there’s a 100 percent chance that it will come to pass. Man, that’s all I’ve ever wanted, Dennis, is a 100 percent chance.
Dennis: Yes, really. [Laughter] I’m thinking of your goal of one million families who have spiritual direction for their legacies—for the generations that follow them. Now, that you have it written down, there’s a greater probability of that becoming true.
Dennis: Tell me how you move from being a family that just did this on your own to begin to partner with other ministries and reach out to others to equip them to do the same.
Greg: Well, really, when Rhonda and I went away and wrote our family mission, and vision, and values, we came home, literally, on fire. I went back to our little small group that we led, and I began to share what God had revealed to us. For literally six months, that’s all I could talk about—is the deeper revelation that I received from doing this—how it changed the way I looked at my work.
I began to make decisions based on how they were going to impact two, and three, and four generations from now instead of what was my short-term view, which is like two weeks. I made almost every decision based on how it was going to impact my next two paychecks; you know? Now, I begin to think, “Man, if I make decisions—if we make decisions based on how they’re going to impact our future generations, we make some really wise decisions that way.”
Bob: So, give me an example of a decision you would have said, “Okay, here’s our vision; here’s our mission. We’re going to say, ‘No,’ to that because it’s not the best thing for us.”
Dennis: I’ll give it to you. It had to occur around something like this—family vacation and where you went. Did you make—
Greg: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Dennis: —a decision to go somewhere—perhaps, on a mission trip?
Greg: That’s correct. You know, just the things that—yes, we decided to do—when it came to family ministry projects—that really Rhonda and I wanted to do something where we could—our children could see us doing something that would help those that are less fortunate than us instead of just going to—
Greg: —Disneyland or whatever, which is wonderful; but we felt like if we could do a family ministry project for those that are homeless in our city that—that was a decision that we made, based upon the fact that we want our children to grow up seeing that others are more important than themselves—to have a healthy preoccupation with the preciousness of others. We just know that, for us, to lay this foundation in their hearts for many godly generations—that’s the decisions we wanted to make.
You know—just how many sports our children are going to be involved in—are we going to let them do three different sports? And the answer is, “No.” They can do one sport at a time. Okay?
Greg: That way we don’t become a taxi service where we’re just running kids around and trying to have family life on the fly.
Rhonda: I think about this decision, too—about having my mother move in with us. We thought that would be awesome for her to move in. We made a little apartment for her—for the kids to be involved in her life, helping to take care of her. That was a decision, I think, because of our family vision. I don’t think we ever would have done that if it hadn’t have been.
Greg: Or it’s just our core family values. One of our family values is that we would show honor and respect for those that are older. That’s another—yes, something that we did to live out this family value.
Dennis: Explain how this would work for a single-parent mom who maybe is sharing custody with her former husband, whose values may not be the same as hers; but she’s really wanting to set a course for her family. She’s wondering, “How do I do that?”
Greg: Every coach that has a team—he only gets to spend maybe two hours a day with that boy or that girl on his team; but because that coach has a vision, then, that student will actually take on the values of the team. He’ll put himself under the disciplines of the team.
In so many cases, that coach has to send that student back into some of the most dysfunctional environments on the earth. Yet, that student comes back to that team. They do their homework, even though they don’t—no one at home requires them to do homework—but because they want to be on this team and this coach has sold them this vision, they, then, will let the entire rest of their life be dictated by the values, and the goals, and the vision of the team.
So, that single parent who maybe only sees that child every other weekend or they have to send that child back to a parent that does not always have the same values that they have—I’m just telling you, “Your children will adopt the vision of the group that has a vision—they will adopt it.”
Someone asked me once, “Well, Greg, what if your father-in-law had a vision for his family—then, you were asked to marry into that family? Was there a conflict in the vision you have and the vision he has?” I said, “You know, as a young man, I was looking for something to believe in.” I would have bought almost anybody’s vision—just, “Somebody present me something.”
Greg: I said, “So, that’s basically what all of our children are looking for: ‘Somebody show me a vision that would resonate in my very DNA, and I will buy it. I will swallow that thing hook, line, and sinker if someone will just give me something to stand for, something to believe in.’”
Dennis: What I hear you saying is: “A single-parent mom or dad just needs to accept what influence they do have and realize that’s not a hopeless situation. God can burn those convictions into that son or daughter’s heart.
One other thing you talk about, as you talk about mission, and vision, and values for families, is you have a concept of a slogan?
Dennis: It’s an iD slogan?
Dennis: Illustrate what you mean by that.
Greg: Well, you know, just as we’ve—we hear these slogans that companies have created like, “Just do it,” “You deserve a break today”—these little slogans that kind of say, “This is what our identity is. This is what I’m identified by.” So, we want to help families also create this little slogan.
One family had a slogan of “Rock and Role.” The Rock is, “We’re going to build our faith on the Rock of Jesus Christ; and then, we’re going to be a role model.” It’s R-O-L-E instead of R-O-L-L; right? So, here they have this slogan—this family slogan—that when they say it, it’s kind of an inside joke. It’s like only the people in their family would really understand what that means.
Another one, a family had: “You first.” From time to time, they would say to their children, “Hey, was that a ‘You-first’ attitude? Were you putting others first in the way you did that or said that?” They even had a challenge with the kids wanting to ride shotgun in the front seat of the car. The kids would all claim, “I get shotgun! I get to sit in the front seat.” He said, “Is that a ‘You-first’ attitude to always be the one who wants to get in the front seat?” He said, “You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to make it to where, now, to get in the front seat, you have to have someone offer you the front seat.” They had the kids working this out before they got to the car. “Hey, if you’ll offer me the front seat on the trip to the store”—
Greg: —“I’ll offer it to you on the way home.”
Dennis: They were selling it and bartering it. [Laughter] What’s the Gunn family slogan? You got one?
Greg: “We’ll just lay the foundation,” is our little slogan. It comes off of our family vision statement being: “We’re going to lay the foundations for many godly generations.” So, “Lay the foundation,” is our little slogan.
Bob: Rhonda, how would you use that with the kids? How would you throw that slogan out in the course of a day?
Rhonda: Well, and I use it quite a bit with the children, especially, if they’re disagreeing or disgruntled with each other. I’ll say, “Are we laying the foundation right now?” “Well, no, Mom.” “Okay, so, let’s get things worked out,”—just a little reminder that we are here for a bigger purpose than getting your own way. I mean, because we all want our own way. We always want the blue cup or whatever, but just reminding them that we’re here for a different type of a purpose.
We feel so strongly that raising our children is kind of laying the ground work for a marriageable person. I mean, it’s what they will become in the family—will be how they are as a marriage partner. So, we think that’s a—
Greg: Yes. Really, I believe one of best training grounds for marriage is the sibling relationship. What other relationship will we ever be in where we have to share the same bathroom, the same kitchen with a person that’s not always kind, not always loving, and not always mature? Well, the only other relationship we’ll ever be in, other than a sibling relationship, is in marriage.
So, based upon the way I treated my siblings, growing up, I was not being trained in marriage. I was being trained in divorce, and psychological warfare, and hurting my siblings. Literally, I drove my siblings outside the family to get their needs met. Thus, peer pressure became almost insurmountable for them because they—I wouldn’t let them be on my team. I would not accept them, and build them up, and speak into them and over them.
Like you said, someone is going to tell your children who they are. It’s going to be their friends, or the world, or it’s going to be their family. So, I really believe that this is a very powerful tool for us to train up the next generation.
Bob: So, you have a married daughter, now, and a five-year-old grandchild?
Bob: Does your son-in-law and daughter—do they have a family mission statement?
Dennis: Well, she’s first-born. She has to! [Laughter]
Greg: That’s true.
Bob: They probably had her do it before they got permission to get married.
Dennis: There you go.
Greg: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.
Dennis: If he fired employees for not having the goals—
Bob: —the goals. [Laughter]
Dennis: —you know that no young man is getting his daughter without a mission statement.
Bob: What’s your daughter’s family mission statement? Do you remember? Do you know hers?
Greg: No, I don’t. I don’t know it off the top of my head.
Bob: But she does; right?
Greg: She does; yes, absolutely.
Bob: And that’s really what matters—
Bob: —that they’ve gone through the discipline and they’re keeping it at the front. I don’t know if they have it emblazoned somewhere in the home or cast in iron; but it’s that kind of discipline that really does help you think, “What should our priorities be?”
Dennis: Yes. When we first got married—I don’t know who shared this thought with me—but somewhere along the line, someone explained, “Marriage is like a bicycle built for two.” When you’ve got two people on a bicycle, you don’t balance it by sitting still. You balance it by heading in a direction, creating momentum. That energizes the balance that takes place. I hadn’t thought of it before; but really, family is like a bicycle built for nine—in the Gunn family; you know?
Picture that—nine human beings—seven kids, obviously, headed in a direction. You’re trying to create the balance that sustains that unit. That’s a challenge. That’s not an easy matter; but if you have a mission, a vision, a direction, a family-iD—and that’s what you’ve written about it your book—and it’s really a great idea.
I wish Bob, Barbara and I had had this when—
Dennis: —we got away for our retreat about 35 years ago. [Laughter]
Bob: Greg was much too young to have written this book back then, but it is available now. The book is called Family-iD. That stands for “IntentionalDirection”—having a vision, a goal, a purpose for your marriage and your family. We’ve got copies of the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about Greg’s book, Family-iD; or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY.
This book will take you through the whole process of developing what Greg and Rhonda developed and what their kids have gone on to do, as well.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com—and by the way, Greg is in the Stepping Up® video series. I think most of our listeners know that, coming up on the Saturday before the big game, we are in touch with hundreds of churches, around the country—hundreds of locations where guys are going to be going through the Stepping Up one-day Super Saturday event. It’s a video event that guys can go through on a Saturday as kind of a kick-off event—a launch event for the spring. Then, we’re hoping that a lot of those guys will get together with other guys and go through the 10-week Stepping Up video series that we’ve put together. There’s information about both the Super Saturday video event, Saturday, February 2nd, and about the 10-week series that follows.
When you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and click on the link for “STEPPING UP,” it’ll take you right to where you need to go to find out how you could host one of these events or where one is being hosted already in your community; and you can find out how, this week, you can order both the video event kit and the 10-week video series. By getting them together, our team has put them together at a special price, for this week only, for those of you who would like to jump in and host one of these events on February 2nd and, then, take a group of guys through the video series afterwards.
Again, get more details when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com—that’s the website, FamilyLifeToday.com; or call, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY and plan to join us for this event for guys. We’re excited about the hundreds of churches and locations where this event’s going to be taking place, here in just a couple of weeks.
You know, I have the opportunity from time to time to talk with listeners as I’m in different cities around the country. It’s always fun to hear from folks who are tuned into FamilyLife Today. Some of you have been listening for a long time. In fact, I talked to some folks recently who have been listening pretty much the entire 20 years that we’ve been on the air. Then, I’ve talked to others who are relatively new listeners to FamilyLife Today but who also commented on how God is using this program to help strengthen their marriage and their family.
That’s our goal here—we want FamilyLife Today to effectively develop godly families—the kinds of families who change the world, one home at a time. We do that in partnership with listeners, like you, who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with donations. In fact, this week, if you make a donation to help support the ministry, we’d like to send you, as a thank-you gift, the CD of an interview we featured last week with Elyse Fitzpatrick, where we talked about food, and diet, and eating, and idolatry, and all of that kind of stuff. She’s written a book called Love to Eat, Hate to Eat. We had a good conversation with her. The CD of that conversation is available as a gift to you when you support FamilyLife Today, this week, with a donation.
Donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. You can make a donation over the phone. Ask for the CD, Love to Eat, Hate to Eat, when you get in touch with us. And we just want you to know how much we appreciate your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today—great to be in partnership with you. Thanks for standing with us in this important work.
And we hope you can be back with us again tomorrow when we’re going to hear from Gregg Harris and his sons: Joshua, and Alex, and Brett, and Joel, and James. The Harris boys talk about what their dad and what their mom did to raise young men who stepped up early and are really seeking to have an impact on the world for Christ. We’ll hear from them tomorrow. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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