The role of the family in evangelism & discipleship

As I mentioned last week, the Great Commission & Commandment are directly connected to the Covenant set up with Adam, Abraham, Noah and so on…The overarching Story of God seems to set up a direct link to the home and family.  Check these verses out:

  • Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
  • Psalm 78:5-7 “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.”
  • Proverbs 1:8 “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
  • Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

These and many more point to a profound and possibly startling conclusion: God’s primary plan for evangelism and discipleship of the entire world (in both the Old & New Testament) is through the committed, Gospel-centered family.  Now, you may say “But didn’t Jesus set up the Church to take over that role?” Well, Jesus did set up the Church, as did His Disciples and Paul; but that was still done with the basic building block of the family left intact and central to the formation of the early churches:

  • Churches were established IN homes
  • Fathers and other men were established as Elders / Overseers
  • Mothers and other women were called to be keepers of their homes and train the younger women
  • Age separated programming didn’t come along until much later
  • When a father believed in Jesus as Messiah, his whole family came to believe and was baptized.
  • Jesus utilized children as a main object of how adults are supposed to live the Christian life.

So, why is this important?  Well, if we realize and follow this link of the church and home – and if we see how central the family is to reaching the world with the gospel – this should drastically change how we do church in America!  Our missions, evangelism and discipleship efforts seem to insist on separating the family, when in reality we should strive to do everything in our power to 1) keep the family together, 2) insist that fathers and mothers take up the mantel of discipling their children and 3) re-center our church efforts to line up with the Biblical model.

Well, it’s your turn to weigh in.  Spread the world about this article.  What do you think?  Are there examples that would discredit this line of thinking?  Give us your thoughts?

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  • TheChrjs

    I hope what this article intended was to undermine what God is doing with the church today? Acts tell a very different story than what seems to be implied here as the glorification if small church settings. Also, we should keep in mind that there weren’t adolescents back then, there were children and adults. So, perhaps it is the church’s way of coping with a new age group as defined by the world, rather than be a poor dorm of programming.

    • TheChrjs

      *not intended

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=652733743 Dean Butterfield

      Since when do we need to have “a new age group”?  Maybe that’s part of the problem!?  I love the Church, but I think most of the institutional churches have it wrong today.