do you as a parent view the church as a PARTNER or as a PRIMARY?

Do you view the local church family of which you are a part in a PARTNER role or a PRIMARY role when it comes to your kids? I don’t know many parents who would ever say they view the church in the primary role of raising their kids, but too often when it comes to disciple-making, this is the default thought and the unstated view.

As parents, how much focused attention and creative energy and quantity time are you giving into these areas of development for your children?

  • their awareness of the BIG story of GOD and how their stories are defined and secured and purposed by Him
  • their ability to not only articulate the Gospel but also to translate its gracious and loving and securing and compelling aspects into their daily lives
  • their understanding of how to read and study and apply the many rich and complex and beautiful stories found in the books of the Bible
  • their focus on more than just what they want to do and want to be but also on how they are giving into what others are doing and want to become
  • their propensity toward confession and contriteness
  • their willingness to listen well and learn much
  • their growing gratefulness for the gracious, merciful, loving Gospel of Jesus

And just to clarify, here is this guy’s short, petty, lacking, but hopefully close-to-adequate summary of that grand, gracious Gospel:

the Gospel _ that news that God, even before He made us, knew we couldn’t get this life right or our behavior better or our insecurities secured or our loneliness overcome. So, even before we were sinners, He had already planned to come in skin right near to us to assure us of His undeserved love, to forgive us for wanting to know more than the life He offered, to remind us of His desire to be with us, to demonstrate His faithfulness to keep a promise even though we couldn’t, and to invite us along with Him to continue to announce and declare and embody this same good news to all who are ashamed and hopeless and insecure and alone and have lost their way.

The Gospel is more than worth spending our entire lives discovering its impact on our identity, learning the wisdom of how Jesus secures us, living to love because of how the Spirit compels us, and growing in gratefulness for how God has restored us.

The question for us as parents – WILL WE ASK JESUS TO WRECK US AND RESTORE US WITH THIS GOSPEL SO MUCH SO THAT WE CAN’T HELP BUT WANT TO GIVE OUR  FOCUSED ATTENTION AND CREATIVE ENERGY AND QUANTITY TIME INTO LEARNING AND LIVING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS WITH OUR KIDS?

We need a church family to partner with us together in this. We don’t need to view the church as the primary disciple-maker of our kids. We have dropped them off for church activity long enough. May we be the church together with our kids and together as respective families, encouraging and praying for and equipping one another as parents to grow our kids with grace and send our kids with gospel.

Thoughts???

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Check out this free guide full of great resources on Being a Missional Family from the Verge Network…

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Check out this free guide full of great resources on Being a Missional Family from the Verge Network. Grateful for Stew and the gang with Verge for providing such awesome resources for moms and dads and church leaders.
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From Verge _

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Part 3 of three essentials of disciple making that should characterize how we are making disciples, even at home.

Today, this week’s theme of “essentials of disciple making” continues with part two of three from a chapter in the book Live Sent on disciple making. Thought it might be helpful as we pray for the Lord to sharpen us as parents to make disciples who make disciples as SENT kids. Hope it encourages you!
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The third essential of making disciples I would suggest is release. I believe it is safe to say that for the most part, church culture has made discipleship more about retention than release. People are encouraged to stay in discipleship programs rather than being released to actually make disciples. Church gurus stress our need to grow the church, and what they mean is more people in gathering and in small groups.

I would suggest that Jesus wants to grow His church out there among the harvest, not in here among those already harvested. The disciple of Jesus grows most making disciples of Jesus with others, both already believers as well as not yet believing. The church grows through the harvest out there. . .

Discipling is more than some class once a week that we market and hope for high attendance. It is learning and living all week. It is eating together. It is praying together. It is having fun together. It is doing things of interest together. It is serving together. It is doing life together.

That is the model of discipling that we were given by Jesus, but to make it easier on ourselves, we boiled it down to a formula and program and said, “Go through this class, and you will be disciples.” That is about as rational as saying, “Take Quantum Physics and you can build a time machine.”

It’s not that classes aren’t important. It’s not that gathering together in classes or for collective worship is not important. It’s not that we don’t need to have Bible study together. These are important, but these can’t be the extent of our discipling. They are merely encouraging and equipping support.

On the first night our church family gathered as a core group, we shared four statements with those who gathered. One of them was this—we will not busy you with church activities, but rather we will equip and release you to be the church within your daily and weekly activities. This is a must if we hope for followers of Jesus to actually engage culture and see others begin to follow Jesus. . . .

Let’s surrender our programs and enter into this relational releasing process known as discipling and see what happens. Let’s live sent daily and be discipling. If we will, then we will be intentionally delivering a message, learning and living the ways of the Author, and giving other people the opportunity to see the Author in our ways. Then, they will learn and begin to live His ways too. And make disciples as they go. Then, those who believe will make disciples as they go. And so on.

That is making disciples.

[ and that should be the hope of our parenting. May we make disciples even among our kids and send them to do the same. ]

SPECIAL THURSDAY POST – get the new ebook “Say No to Discipleship?!?” free.

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So grateful for the Exponential leadership team and the ebooks they have so generously offered over the last year. So grateful they would include one that I have written entitled Say No to Discipleship?!?

You can get your free copy by clicking here and choosing one of three sharing options.

It is worth connecting with the Exponential email blast that goes out. Such great equipping tools they share week to week. Hopefully the new ebook will be worth leaving them an email or posting on Facebook or tweeting out. 🙂

Much love.
-jason

Parenting for “church members” versus parenting for “disciple makers” (a few extra thoughts on this week’s suggestion).

Keeping in line with this week’s suggestion for parenting SENT kids (you can read Monday’s post by clicking here), here is an important question to consider:

Are you parenting your children to be church members or disciple makers?

Is there a difference in simply being a “church member” versus actually being a disciple maker? I would suggest there is. When “finding a church” is the goal, too often personal development and preferential appeasement result. Another result tends to be close friendships with people who are only like us – other church members. This inhibits and sometimes prohibits the making of disciples, mainly because it inhibits and too often prohibits family-like relationships with those who have yet to believe in the One who was sent (Jesus).

[ SIDE NOTE _ in order to best understand where I am writing from here, let’s define terms. “Discipleship” is typically defined as curriculum and classes that help Christians learn more about God and development their personal holiness. Church members are very often involved in discipleship. “Making disciples” is learning and living the ways of Jesus in ongoing relationships with a few other followers of Jesus but also with people who have yet to follow Him. Disciple makers tend to learn about God and grow in His holiness while they are also making other disciples. Like Jesus did. ]

This last week during Exponential, my friend Larry McCrary and I led a breakout entitled “Don’t Plant a Church, Send One.” The premise was that if you plant a church, you won’t always make disciples of Jesus. However, if you make disciples of Jesus, you will end up with a church emerging from those disciples. Why? Because that is who the church is – sent ones sent TOGETHER by the Sent One.

In the breakout, I offered a few contrasts between simply being a church that makes members rather than a church that makes disciples:

:: Members tend to only live FOR God, while disciple makers live WITH God.

:: Members are often only taught the Gospel in a crowd, while disciple makers learn the Gospel in community.

:: Members are described in a good way or a bad way depending upon whether they are IN CHURCH, while disciple makers are described whether a good day or a bad day as IN CHRIST.

:: Members commonly grow toward being moralists, while disciple makers grow toward making more disciples.

:: Members typically are encouraged to make Gospel presentations, while disciple makers typically share the Gospel in the midst of relational presence.

:: Local churches that make members almost always teach what matters to Jesus, while local churches that make disciples almost always emphasize what matters to Jesus in all they teach AND all they do.

:: Members gather to have a worship experience, while disciple makers gather to encourage one another and be equipped and leave to live sent.

:: Members tend to invite friends TO church events, while disciple makers tend to invite friends ALONG with them to learn Jesus.

:: Members are prone to spend time only with other members extracting themselves out of their community and culture into a very busy schedule of church activities with little margin for friendship with the lost, while disciple makers are prone to spend purposeful and intentional time with other disciple makers engaging together their community and culture in family-like relationship that welcomes the lost like they are already family, too.

So, for which one are you parenting? Which one are you modeling?

May we cultivate into our kids that they may become disciple makers. It is who a follower of Jesus is. And just in case you wonder whether this is my opinion only or a scripturally-supported notion:

“Follow Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”
-Jesus, Mark 1:17