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EvangelismFamily Discipleship

Family Discipleship – For What Purpose?

This blog and my writing focus on passing the gospel to our children. Rightly we are concerned about the number who grow up in a Christian home but seem to reject the faith.

But we must not make this the ultimate purpose of our lives or even our children’s lives. We should ask the deeper question of, “To what end?”

If we want our own hearts and our family’s hearts to reflect God’s heart, then what does that look like? What vision do I hope to inculcate in them?

My Country Only?
As the American culture disintegrates around us, it can be tempting to seek to raise our children to be salt and light. If they will just hang on to the faith we will be satisfied.

But what if God’s heart was bigger than the U.S. and included…the world?

I believe one objective we should have with our children is to give them a view of the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, the rich diversity of the world-wide church, and the great need of the nations.

The rich diversity of the world’s cultures reminds me that kings will bring in their splendor to lay before Christ (Rev 21:24) perhaps in a scene similar to the opening of the Olympics. Though marred by sin, mankind is richly diverse with beauty and creativity in every culture. God is already at work there. My perspective is enhanced by becoming familiar with and appreciative of other cultures.

The rich diversity of the world-wide church reminds me that God is at work around the world. While I struggle here in Northeastern US and see secular apathy, the church is exploding in China, South America and Africa. These are my brothers and sisters. What can the American church learn from them? As I think about the worldwide church, I am also reminded of the sacrifice that some are making standing for their faith. Their real persecution encourages me to make more of a stand. I am a debtor to both sets of brothers and sisters. It pulls me out of my natural ethnocentricity.

The great need of the nations reminds me that the work is still not finished. It is too small a thing to only be concerned with Jacob and Israel (Is 49:5-6). While the Christian world makes up 33% of the population, it has 91% of the vocational workers. The unreached 1.7 billion people who make up 25% of the world have 3% of the workers.

What Can I Do?
There are a number of things your family can do from small to large. Here are just a few to start.
1. Find and support a church planting worker to an unreached area. Pray for them as a family. Read their prayer updates at family devotions.

2. Have international students into your house. If there are international Christians in your church reach out to them. If not, ask the university near you. The nations are coming to us.

3. Increase your knowledge of the world. When our children were young we would use these placemats at dinner. It made meal time fun.

4. Increase your knowledge of the world through Operation World or an unreached people email. Operation World gives you 365 prayer points for the 195 countries in the world. I love the app for the smart phone and use it. The Joshua Project also sends out an email to focus on unreached people. Voice of the Martyrs is also helpful. Use these for family devotions.

5. As cheap as flights are, go and visit a missionary. Serve their family in some way. Just make sure that you are helping, not distracting. As the recipient of short term missions to New England, I have seen teams that are a help and a distraction.

What else could you add?

Like Abram, we are blessed to be a blessing. All peoples will be blessed through his descendants. Our family can take a part of that!  Use world knowledge to keep from being self-focused.