The McGowan's: Family Field Guide
I believe nothing in with the Lord is accidental. Or coincidental.
Even finding a cool family on Instagram. There's always purpose in it.
One of our goals here at Upstream Family is to share with our readers other families that we meet or know well who have an upstream walk. Those that are going after God in obedience, those who desire to unite families, and those who just are a bit upstream like us or in their own unique way.
I have no memory of how I discovered the McGowan family through their Instagram account @familyfieldguide. I went to their website after reading some of their content and I remember thinking that they had a similar vision and mission for their family as we did. I started following their sweet family and was inspired by all the content they posted for families on their account. Their newsletter is also full of encouragement and it's always something I click on immediately when I see it in my inbox.
When they offered a mini-course for families called, Define Your Family Culture, I knew it was something that I wanted Jason and I to take part in. The timing of participating in the course was perfect as we were in the months just prior to launching into travel life. The result of the course was writing out the very mission statement you see on the front of our website. Even more than that, it really got us thinking and talking about what we wanted for our family and being open to how God wanted to use us and how we wanted to experience God as a family more often.
From what I know about Aubrey and Jen, I think I can say that this is their heart. To help families experience God together. They love providing not only encouragement but also practical resources to help families discover the Lord's adventure for their family and to do it TOGETHER.
We recently had the pleasure of meeting this sweet family in person when passing through Tennessee and they graciously agreed to share a bit more about their family and mission in this space.
Tell us a little about your family.
We are a family of 6 going on 7 that loves to sing, dance, play music, read aloud and work together. We were married in 2004 and lived near North Dallas for the first 10 years of our marriage. In 2014, we moved back home to Middle Tennessee and are busy serving in our local church, homeschooling and working on all kinds of DIY projects.
What is the heart behind Family Field Guide? What was the inspiration behind its start and how do you hope to see it grow?
We had an awakening a few years ago of how important and beautiful a responsibility it is to lead our family along the path of God's unique adventure. God stirred in our hearts a passion to see others lead their kids intentionally and confidently toward the Lord too. Family Field Guide began with God putting a burden on our hearts for parents who want to teach their kids to follow Jesus, but aren't quite sure how to begin. We don't position ourselves or this ministry as if we are experts, but we are here to encourage and equip parents to be nearer to Jesus and take this leadership role seriously. And we're here to learn right beside others like you as we connect together.
You guys are both musicians. How do you use your love and talent of music currently?
Music has been a huge part of both of our lives since we were kids. So, when we had kids of our own, we wanted to make it a part of our family culture and rhythm. We've always enjoyed spontaneous dance parties together and creating great playlists, but now the kids are beginning to play instruments and sing as well. It is so much fun to see them discovering how to sing, play and create. During this past school year we worked on a Scripture Alphabet recording project where we wrote songs with scriptures that corresponded to each letter of the alphabet. It has been awesome to write and create together and at this point we are on letter "Y"! We're almost there! We made these songs available to all of our FFG subscribers so they can use them to memorize scripture together.
You are starting a new family event called "Venture" in your hometown. Tell us what Venture is all about and how someone who doesn't live in Tennessee can bring it to their church or community.
Venture is a whole family experience that is intended to inspire and equip families to begin an effective discipleship journey together in their homes. Our first Venture event just took place at our home church in Tennessee and it was amazing! 40+ families gathered for three nights to singing, laughing and learning together. There were times for everyone to be together and then times for kids and parents to separate for specific teaching geared toward them. At the end of each night, families had the opportunity to put into practice the practical tools they had learned each night. We also had the chance to spoil them with awesome Venture gear! We hope to do this again in another church or community in the near future.
I mentioned the course we took with you, Define Your Family Culture. Are you still offering this course and how can someone find it?
We do not have enrollment open right now, but we plan to make it available in the future. Right now we are preparing to welcome our new baby girl into the world and we have our hands full! Our passion is still strong to see families defining their family culture and living according to God's design. We look forward to launching it again as things settle a little. If anyone wants to be the first to know when the course will launch again, they can subscribe to our Family Field Guide newsletter.
What else would you like to share with us?
We would love to encourage every parent reading this that you are called by God and uniquely equipped to lead your family toward the Lord. His hand is on you. He is with you! Don't be intimidated by the overwhelming work of preparing your kids to live for the Lord in an ever-changing world. Just confidently invest every day in small ways. Take small risks of praying, reading and talking with your kids about God. Consistent small investments over time result in a great reward!
Don't shrink back, but pursue this calling with passion and priority energy! We are in this with you!
If you'd like to receive encouragement from Aubrey and Jen (just like you found above!), you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and their website. When you subscribe to their newsletter, you can also download their free guide called, "A Legacy of Scripture: Passing Down a Bible Journal to Your Child" as well as access to their Scripture Alphabet Songs mentioned above.