This post digresses from my book-writing to highlight an article that reminds us how important it is that we keep our own children and family at the heart of our church expressions and spiritual life. The simple, Biblical model is that our church gatherings, as well as our whole walk with God, embrace the family naturally and experientially.
Rob Rienow writes in Mission Frontiers:
Evangelism and discipleship are in dire crisis, and it is a generational crisis. We’re losing more of our own children to the world than we are winning adult converts to faith in Christ. As a result, the percentage of Bible-believing Christians in the United States is in steady decline.
Rob backs this up with some sobering facts about the decline, generationally, of those who trust in Christ alone for salvation. This is a sharp cry for the body of Christ in the U.S. to wake up!
But even more poignant is Rob's diagnosis of the problem:
Slowly but surely, we abandoned the biblical model of family discipleship and delegated the spiritual training of our children to “professionals” at church. I led this model at a large church for over a decade. One of the unintended consequences of my ministry approach which systematically separated children from their parents was that parents were free to remain spiritually passive at home. After all, they were making sure that their son or daughter was involved in a “great youth group.”
Just changing our church gatherings to simple/organic expressions will not solve this, but it can be a step in the direction of putting the family, as a whole, back in the center of our life with God. I pray that we will continue to take many more steps until we see again that God is working powerfully through 'households' rather than simply individuals.
Read Rob's full article here.