The Kingdom of God advances through families on a mission. While the very presence of family at an abortion mill speaks life to a woman who is considering abortion, the mission field in front of an abortion mill is also the perfect training ground for the next generation.
All Christ-followers are called to the mission field! We are called to be salt and light; to be in the world and not of it. Parents are to be teaching their children why they are not of this world, how and why to spiritually combat that which is of this world, and how and why to put feet on their Biblical beliefs.
In the homes where the culture is being engaged through active Gospel-centered ministry, Scripture is found to be being lived out harmoniously. These parents on this domestic mission field allow their children to live out Matthew 5:13-16, being salt and light to a dying world, while the parents obey the command given to them in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, perpetually instructing our children of the ways of God. They are engaging this culture as FAMILIES ON A MISSION! But why?
THE PROBLEM: LACK OF CREDIBILITY
We have a problem in the Church today. Most leaders today recognize that it is the lack of strong families behind it all. They see the lack of evangelism and discipleship within most professing Christian homes. They see the product, namely children, who walk away from the faith of their parents as older teens and young adults. The Barna Institute has pegged the number at about 87%. That means that only 13% of our children become adults with a biblical worldview, able to defend their faith, and able to effectively change the world for Christ.
We are so blind and fearful of judging parents that we pour heaps of money into youth programs, better, more qualified youth Pastors, facilities, big events, etc. We are convinced that if we can just develop a vibrant youth ministry that we will change the outcome. We have become the blind guides that Jesus rebuked in Matthew 23!
Parents are the key to evangelizing their children, and fathers especially hold the key! Malachi 2:15, Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 1:17, and Eph. 6:4 are but a few key verses that point this out. Ask any teenager or young adult raised in a Christian home why they no longer hold a biblical worldview. Their answer will center on their parents hypocrisy, and credibility. Yes, credibility! Fathers lose their credibility when they tell their children that the Bible has all the answers for life and then fail to open it and teach them in their homes. They will tell their children that God created the world and then send their young, impressionable minds into Godless educational institutions whose chief goal is to espouse humanism. We watch as their hearts are drawn away to their peer groups, harmful relationships, and the world’s pleasures. We do nothing to repair the breach in the wall (think Nehemiah!) that we, as fathers, are charged with keeping. We become the proverbial “city without walls.” We will listen to sermons on defending the fatherless and the widow, binding up the broken, giving the hungry bread, etc. and then go home and spend their hours drinking in Godless entertainment. Is it any wonder we produce Godless children?! We have no credibility as fathers in the church! Our children never see us stand for Christ, give of ourselves, and give up our comfort to serve others. We lose their hearts. They lose their faith.
THE SOLUTION: FAMILY MINISTRY
First off, we must commit to train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Start with a thorough understanding of what the word “train” means.
Training in the Hebrew culture had simple methods. First, you teach it. Next, you do it while the student watches you. Then, you do it together. After that, you have them perform the task while you watch, assess and give guidance. Finally, you send them out to do it themselves, bringing them back in to debrief. The result is a trained child thoroughly equipped to complete a task to your expectation.
Practically, this means that we teach them God’s Word, and let them see us living it out in ministry to others. Once they have seen us in ministry, we have our children engage in that same ministry with us. Let them see you sacrificing your comfort, treasures, etc. as you serve others. Next, you have them minister as you watch, guiding and encouraging along the way.
Put them in positions where they must defend their faith (with you next to them). Let them see the real result of sin lived out in broken lives. Let them “bind up the broken”, give of themselves, and share the Gospel. When completely trained, you will have produced Godly arrows (Psalm 127:3-5) who are ready to advance the cause of Christ in a world that loves what God hates and hates what he loves. Produce anything less than a trained arrow and the god of this world will sift them like wheat!
Ministry with your children at an abortion mill is an effective way to build credibility and to Biblically train your children. They will have ample opportunities to defend their faith, share the Gospel, and bind up the broken.
Not only that, but they will see sin in the proper framework. That is, they will be exposed to sin in such a way that it will inoculate them from its seduction and its fleeting pleasures. What do I mean? Think about how most children are exposed to sin. They see it glamorized in television and movies. They get seduced into sin to gain acceptance from their peers. Too often, they are like the young man without discretion in Proverbs 7:7. Like lambs to the slaughter, they are enticed into sinfulness, never knowing what it will cost them. Camp out with your children on the first 7 chapters of proverbs and meditate on every verse!
My children heard their first curse words, vile music, saw immodest dress, etc. at an abortion center. They had their mother and father beside them, actively engaged in ministry. Instead of being enticed by this sin, they were repulsed. Why? It has everything to do with the context or framework in which they were exposed to it. They get to see sin first hand, see lives broken and destroyed by it, listen to the stories of women and men lamenting the havoc their sin has caused, and see those who continue to harden their hearts against the Gospel. That is real life and I will not keep my children ignorant of this to their own detriment.
Many parents believe that keeping the children completely ignorant of sin and the ugliness of the world will guard their purity. They cloister up within their homes, vigilant to protect against outside influences, never realizing that it is what comes from within that defiles a man! Sin is in us and no amount of sheltering can keep it at bay.
Wisdom is the answer and the Word of God and the fear of God is the beginning of it. Our children need to be exposed to sin in the proper context, understand the lies of the devil, recognize that sin destroys and separates us from our Savior and be able to verbalize the solution to all of that on the spot. Rather than fear their exposure to sin, we should control the context within which they are exposed, teaching and training with God’s Word along the way, supplying them with the tools and the weapons they will need to face a world that hates God, like the warriors God intends them to be.
A family that has come to realize the problem in the Church and who is living out the solution to that problem is a FAMILY on a MISSION to advance the Kingdom of God not just presently, but for generations to come. Are you a FAMILY ON A MISSION?
Mark and Lisa Metzger