Today, the Biblical Family is under fierce attack. Many try to insulate their children from mainstream influences, but our secular world somehow still finds a way to seep in through the cracks. Sometimes, as parents, we are not as engaged with our family the way we ought to be when it comes to proactively discipling our kids. The reason why there is such a fierce attack on the family is because of your family’s connection to the great commission.
Every Christian should be engaged in family centered discipleship and here is why.
- God Designed Your Role.
In Genesis 18, God visits Abraham and Sarah and during their conversation we are given an inside account of a conversation God has with himself. He reveals his plan was to use families as the primary centers for discipleship and evangelism. God designed Families to be Discipleship Centers. Most churches that have caught the vision for discipleship often use 1 of 3 phrases; 1) Do life together, 2) Ministry happens in the context of relationships, 3) Authentic Community. These phrases encapsulate the importance of relationships in the context of discipleship, but, where do all three of these things happen the best, in the family! In the New Testament, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment, Jesus restates Deut. 6:5-6. Immediately following this “greatest commandment” God gives his intended mission He has for his people, followed by a very practical examples of how to obey the mission. Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children (mission), and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (examples)
Why? Because God designed your family to be a discipleship center. God designed your home in such a way as to advance the spiritual formation of the next generation.
- Your Mission is Critical.
Today, we must face the reality of where we are if we are to be motivated to engage in the spiritual formation of our children. According to a study done in 2021, Christians parents who self-identified as having attended worship and strongly agree their faith is important, only a staggering 51% of them were “very concerned” about their children’s spiritual development. A decade ago, a book entitled You Lost Me by Barna research president David Kinnaman shocked the Christian world by reporting that 59% of young adults who had Christian upbringing had dropped out of church by their 20s. Eight years following, in 2019 the percentage had increased from 59% to 64%, suggesting that now nearly 2/3rds of young people will statistically withdraw from the church by their 20s. While the reality of where we are as a nation can paint the canvass of the future as bleak, it also informs us of the 1/3 of young people, coined in this book as “Resilient Disciples” dare to stand against the tide in their generation. Recent studies have shown that those that stand against the tide do so when at least one, loving parent impresses the truth of God’s Word on their hearts. God designed families to impress the hearts and minds of children to love God. The purpose of parenting is to mold and impress kids’ hearts and mind to love God. Which is the ultimate reason why God hates divorce. (Mal 2:16) God’s design for the family and for parents is to raise a “godly seed” who will love God and worship Him. God hates divorce because it defaces his image and disrupts his plan to pass faith to the next generation. This is why the instruction to fathers in Eph 6:4 is so clear, a Godly Father (and by extension a Godly parent) needs to be making disciples of their children if they are to fulfil the Great Commission of Jesus in their lifetime.
- Your Family is being Targeted.
In Genesis 18, we are also introduced to the reality of the world around the Abrahamic discipleship center. There is probably no two cities more well known in the Old Testament than the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The names which are now still today synonymous with their associated sin and wickedness. What we see in today is that the ruler of this world, Satan, has not changed the script. We are entering into a time when the world around us is increasing seeing Biblically-based Christianity as intolerable, discriminatory, and hateful. Satan’s goal is the same as it has been from the beginning – to destroy a Godly families growth in order to destroy the growth of the family of God. God designed families as the engine that will fill the earth with worship. Malachi 4 is the final word from the Lord in the Old Testament, then there is silence for 400 years. God chooses an interesting way to close out the entire Old Testament revelation! He could have spoken about any subject, but God chooses to talk about the family relationship. Fast forward 400 years to the New Testament and God speaks by sending an angel to a priest named Zachariah who repeats the promise of Malachi 4 which the announcement of a new discipleship center starting. Why? What is the significance of this intertestamental link? You see, when a parent’s heart is toward their children and a children’s heart is turned to their parents, everyone is ready for Jesus!
Raising kids is all about the great commission. When we disciple our kids that evangelism isn’t some superior threshold and we demonstrate that as we raise them, they catch a vision of evangelizing the world. You should be engaged in family centered discipleship and help others to engage their own families. The church must partner with families (not replace them) and help catalyze their congregations to realize their potential in raising a Godly generation who take seriously the final words of Christ to go and make disciples.