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Lifegiving Family Project — Building a Family Alive with Christ


We tell the story in The Lifegiving Parent. The concept of lifegiving as a biblical priority has always been part of our parenting vocabulary. However, it wasn’t until that book that we realized why. It was only then, when digging through boxes unopened for years, that we discovered our very first workshop notebook. That’s when we understood that before there was a WholeHearted anything, there was “The Lifegiving Parent Workshop.” What we thought was a fresh and unused book title went back to the womb of our ministry. There’s nothing new under the sun.

Giving life is the heart of our purpose as God's followers. John starts out his gospel with a lifegiving declaration about Jesus: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (1:4). Later, he records Jesus saying, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (10:10), and also “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (11:25). Our highest purpose in this world—the one that “God so loved”—is to offer the life that we have found in Christ to others so that, in the words of our Savior, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God wants us to be lifegivers.

But lifegiving begins at home. You know immediately when you walk into a home if the life of God is within its walls. Your spirit senses the presence of the Spirit of God in the parents and children who live there—the grace, peace, joy, faith, hope, and love of God is alive there. Becoming a “lifegiving family” is about bringing the life of God into the life of your home for the life of your children, allowing them to live into that life so they find the reality of God in the everyday. And it is that life that overflows into the world to give life to others. Lifegiving Family Project is about helping families become lifegivers in every sense of the word.

The essence of home, you see, is not necessarily a structure. What makes a home is the life shared there, wherever that may be. And cultivating the life of home requires intentionality, planning, and design. There must be some one (or several someones) to craft the life, the beauty, the love, and the inspiration that overflows from that place. —Sally Clarkson (The Lifegiving Home)


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Clay and Sally Clarkson started their parenting journey with the shared vision of building a lifegiving family. They had not yet fully fleshed out what that would mean, but they knew they wanted their family to be marked by the life of God—that when others encountered their marriage, children, and home they would also encounter in some way the life of God within them. When the children were all grown and out of the house, Clay and Sally began to discuss and write about the principles of lifegiving that had shaped their home and parenting, and shaped each child’s faith and life. Sally and Sarah, then 32, wrote first. The Lifegiving Home would describe the legacies, traditions, and rhythms that shaped the life of the Clarkson home, from both parental and first child’s perspectives. Then Sally wrote The Lifegiving Table to show how what happened around her meals, food, and tables that powerfully influenced the life of our home. Finally, Clay wrote The Lifegiving Parent to show how we purposefully brought the life of God into the life of our home through eight spiritual commitments. Lifegiving Family Project is about promoting lifegiving as a necessary part of any biblical model of Christian parenting.

At its core, lifegiving parenting is less about what you do and more about who you are—a child of the living God who is connected with Him and is ready to share that life with your children so that they may know Him too. … You can learn to bring the life of God into your home, to give His life to your children, and find even more of His life for yourself in the process. —Clay Clarkson (The Lifegiving Parent)

lifegiving family books

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The Lifegiving Home
by Sally Clarkson & Sarah Clarkson (Tyndale, 2016)
The Lifegiving Home Experience
by Sally Clarkson & Joel Clarkson (Tyndale, 2016)Sally and Sarah write

Sally and Sarah write about "Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming" to encourage mothers how to bring the life of God in all its expressions into their homes. The book is a summary of what Sally learned and lived, and what Sarah experienced, for over thirty years in the fifteen (15!) Clarkson homes. Sally also wrote The Lifegiving Home Experience companion discussion and study guide with Joel. Visit the Lifegiving Home Project page for more tips, ideas, resources, and links for creating your own lifegiving home.

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The Lifegiving Table
by Sally Clarkson (Tyndale, 2017)
The Lifegiving Table Experience
by Joel Clarkson & Joy Clarkson (Tyndale, 2017)

Sally writes about "Nurturing Faith through Feasting One Meal at a Time," the power of food and the table in the faith life of children. She shares both spiritual and practical insights drawn from over thirty years of parenting and ministry, and lifegiving stories from around the many tables of the Clarkson home. She also wrote The Lifegiving Table Experience discussion and study guide with Joel and Joy.

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The Lifegiving Parent
by Clay Clarkson (with Sally Clarkson) (Tydale, 2018)
The Lifegiving Parent Experience

by Clay Clarkson (Tyndale, 2018)

Clay, with Sally's input, writes about "Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ." This book is, in many ways, a summary of the core parenting messages they had taught for over twenty-five years. Lifegiving parenting is about more than simply giving your children a "Christian life," but about giving them the life of Christ. Clay also wrote The Lifegiving Parent Experience discussion and study guide.

What is my vision for my lifegiving table? I picture that I am nourishing souls and spirits with both physical food and the everlasting food of the Word of God. I am providing grace and peace through gently accepting whoever joins us at the table. I am speaking hope forward by articulating my confidence in God’s love, faithfulness, and kindness for each person. I am establishing a spirit of graciousness by welcoming all who come as guests of the loving Hose who serves all and makes us all whole. —Sally Clarkson (The Lifegiving Table)

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