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Family Ministry Moments - June 2024

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Discipleship is an important topic, especially in conjunction with raising our children. Recently we finished our AWANA year on May 15th.  AWANA is our children’s discipleship program where we teach children the Word of God.  It is a great program, but it has its limitations.  AWANA is only successful if the church and parents take the mandate to disciple children seriously. Discipleship only happens when loving parents and caring adults teach God’s Word to children so their lives can be changed by it.  As parents, and as a church, we must make discipleship a priority. I recently read a Family Life article and thought I would share some of the insights from it (https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/parenting/foundations/spiritual-development/4-reasons-you-should-intentionally-disciple-your-children/).

4 Reasons We Should Prioritize Discipleship in Our Homes and Church?

1. We are Commanded to Disciple Our Children
There is no better example of this than in Mark 10. People were bringing their children to Jesus and the disciples thought it was a waste of Jesus' time, but He rebuked them and said, “Let the children come to me.” (Mark 10:14-15) Discipleship helps provide an avenue for children to experience Jesus.  We are helping to bring the children to Jesus when we show them God’s Word and we share the gospel with them. Paul takes it one step further in Ephesians 6:4, “...bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We are commanded to bring our children up in the instruction of the Lord.  Where will they learn it if not from us?  We must be vigilant in teaching them the truth from God’s Word.

2. Your Child will be Discipled by Someone
The reality is someone will disciple your child.  It will either be by you or the world. Culture backed by Satan has no qualms about teaching your children to think and do what they deem as right. Much of what the world wants to teach your child is contrary to God’s Word, especially in the moral arena. We must realize that our children are vessels that will be filled with something.  As a Christian, I want to fill my children with God’s Word. We must take this call seriously.  At our church we use AWANA, it is a tool to help aid in discipleship. The system or program doesn’t really matter so long as it points to God’s Word and seeks to instill that Word in the children. Considering the way the world is going they will need it; there is no sign of our culture letting up any time soon.  However, discipleship is not just for our children, we need it as well.

3. You Need to Grow in Your Faith as Well
Discipleship is not easy.  When my son and I sit down and do the weekly AWANA study together, sometimes he doesn’t want to do it, and sometimes neither do I, but we do it and through that process we both grow. Discipleship can be mundane sometimes, just like working out.  You don’t go to the gym because you see immediate results but over time you build muscle and get stronger.  The same is true in your faith. Sometimes it seems like nothing is happening, but if you persevere and keep trusting the Lord you will grow in your faith. This is true for our children, but it is also true for us – we adults need to grow in our faith as well.  If we commit ourselves to learning and implementing God’s Word in our lives, we will all grow. This is the only way to grow, and it is the only way to fulfill the Great Commission.

4. We Need True Christ Followers to Fulfill the Great Commission
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gave His followers their mission.  They are to go all over the world and make disciples. We need families and churches to rally around this calling.  We need to be making disciples and it starts with our families. Remember this world is not getting any better, we need people who will stand up for the truth of God’s Word in every facet of life. We need Christians in every job, every place, and every country committed to the Great Commission. Children are meant to be trained up in the Lord and shot into the world to make an impact for the Kingdom (Psalm 127:3-4).  This is our calling as parents and as a church; to raise our children in the Lord to make disciples so they can make a difference in this world.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Family Ministry Moments - May 2024

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A More Excellent Way

In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, we discover the church in Corinth had been ranking Christians based on their spiritual gifts.  Spiritual gifts such as the gift of tongues and healing were thought to be better than other gifts.  People were separating themselves in a pseudo-class system based on the gifts they displayed.  Paul rebukes the church and reminds them that all these gifts come from the Holy Spirit.  Even though they are displayed differently each gift is an expression of the one Spirit.  Paul uses our physical bodies as an illustration.  Each body part is different, however all of them are important and useful.  The same is true for the distinct spiritual gifts.  The church needs all of them to function properly,  no one gift is better than another.

As you read through the passages you might notice there is a break in his discussion of this topic.  At the end of chapter 12, Paul tells the church that he will show them still a more excellent way.  There is something even greater than spiritual gifts, a way to more fully experience the Lord and express Him to those around us. That way is LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13 is thought of as the love chapter.  Often this passage is used in weddings to express the type of love we want to bestow on our mate, however this passage is not just good for weddings.  Paul was not thinking about marital love when he wrote this.  He was thinking about the love that Christians should have for one another.  Remember, Jesus spoke often about how we should love each other.  John 13:34-35; John 15:9-17; Matthew 5:43-48; and Matthew 22:37-39 are a few places where Jesus speaks about love.  He commands us to love everyone: fellow believers, neighbors, and even our enemies.  I cannot help but think that Paul had some of these words in mind as he wrote 1 Corinthians 13.  It is a great expression of how we are to love others.

First Paul says that we can do all kinds of works for the Lord but if we do not have love then we have nothing, this is a strong statement. Paul puts everyone on notice that how we do ministry is as important as the ministry we do.  He tells us that we can even give our life for Jesus but if our motivation is not love then we do it in vain.  This tracks with many other scriptures from Paul and the other apostles (1 John 2-4; 1 Peter 4:8; Colossians 3:14; Romans 13:8). They all make it clear that love is the primary attitude when it comes to living out our Christian faith.

Paul then shows us what love looks like.  The list in verses 4-7 are very convicting.  I can recall very vividly where I have failed to love people in this way.  I am extremely thankful that sanctification is an ongoing process.  Learning to love others in a Christlike way does not come to us naturally.  We must rely on the transformative power of the gospel.  Love is a fruit of the spirit so only those that are saved and submitting to the spirit will be able to live this way.

The challenge for our modern church is the same as it was for the church in Corinth– to stop looking for ways to puff ourselves up and make ourselves important.  Our charge is to love everyone as Christ has loved us.  Paul helps us by putting it on the “bottom shelf” so that we can understand what love looks like.  As a Christian, loving others with
Christlike love is the most important thing we can do.  None of what we do means anything unless we do it with love.  This is the more excellent way– the way of Christ.

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