Friday, July 21, 2017

The Most Important Mission Field

There is a mission field that is more important than any other and it is often neglected in Christianity today. If you thought I was going to tell you all about a distant land in need of missionaries or remind us to tell our friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the gospel, you might be a little surprised. Our children are our first mission field. Those of us who have children have a number one mission from God to train and disciple our children in the ways of the Lord. We should prioritize them over every other mission field. Both men and women alike should focus on family first because our children are specifically given to us by God for training in the Christian faith. If we lose them, we have not only failed to win them as converts, but have been poor stewards of the souls God gave into our charge.

The Bible speaks of those who gain the whole world and lose their own soul. Their priorities were wrong and they lost that which was most valuable. Something similar is true of those who gain converts out there in the world but lose their own children.

This need to teach and train our own children first is evidenced in many places in scripture. In the OT, God's people were instructed to train their children at home, when they went out, and everywhere they go and in everything they do (Deut. 6). This requires not only a lot of time and effort, but it means parents have to be with their children in order to train them in the things of God. This has always been God's model for how children are to be raised by those who follow Him.

The New Testament includes the parable of the unfaithful steward (Luke 12) who did not properly care for the things entrusted to him and also speaks in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25) about the servant who did not invest what was given to him, but hid it and did nothing to bring an increase for his master. In these and other cases, the clear teaching of the Bible is that we are most responsible for those things which have been specifically entrusted to us. Of all the precious things entrusted to our care, the greatest is our children, who are specifically said in scripture to be gifts from God. If we fail in that stewardship, other gains we may have will pale in comparison. Yes, we should save the lost out there, but only after we save the ones God gave to us to train.

The need to train one's own children is also implicitly assumed in the qualifications for church leaders, who must be men with a reputation and record of not only remaining married and being self-controlled, but raising their children correctly so that they remain in the faith and are obedient to it (I Tim. 3). How can a man lead the church if he cannot lead his own wife and children properly? The clear indication is that he can't, which tells us not only that this is important, but of primary importance. The church leader must prioritize his own family so that they are properly led, before he can lead the church. And if even the church leader must prioritize his own family over the other work of the church, how much more the ordinary church member. We are all called to make our children our first mission field, with every other mission field secondary.

On top of that, women are specifically called to make their home and family their primary mission, even more so than men. Men must ensure that their children are in submission to their authority and being trained properly, but their wives are the ones who put most of the actual time and effort involved in this mission, because women are the ones called to be in the home caring for the children.

One of the major problems we have today is that too few have their family properly prioritized and they spend their time and effort everywhere but on their family. What we need is more Christian people who are teaching and training their children and building their marriages so that they can make a difference from a place of strength - a strong family that works together for God - and also be good stewards of what God has given them. This is not just about saving individual souls, though that is important, but about the intended purpose of the family to create, equip, and send out new soldiers to change the world for God. We can literally multiply our efforts to make a difference for Christ through properly trained children who continue the mission beyond us, in generations to come.


  1. The Forgotten Principle for Building the Kingdom of God

    Genesis 1:28, 9:1 “Be fruitful and multiply…”

    Today’s Church is looking for ways to grow the Body of Christ. There is an array of resources to help Christians to engage their culture with the local church and assimilate people into the fellowship. Programs are so numerous and plans claim overwhelming success in reaching the “unchurched” with the relevant gospel that is appealing to a biblically illiterate generation. Some churches seem to be swelling with great numbers of new “converts” who are looking for a new direction for their lives in a world that seems rather meaningless. Other churches seem to be drying up and closing for lack of fresh converts as the old faithful ones are dying off.

    In this environment, I seem to see a lost and forgotten principle of church growth that needs to be resurrected. There is always a push to “pack the pews” on special Sundays but there is an obvious way to fill the church regularly without even looking outside your own home. Church growth can begin within the home. It begins in Genesis. God commanded Adam and then Noah to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. Take control of the earth. Rule the earth with godly seed. In fact, there is one instance where God judged harshly a man who spilled his seed on the ground. Onan withheld having children for selfish reasons.
    And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also. Gen 38:9-10

    Psalm 127:3 says that children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord. Shall we determine how and when God shall bless and gift us with children? Do we tell God when and how to bless and gift us with other things? We ask God for blessings but we do not tell him when and how to do it. I don’t remember ever telling Him NOT to bless or gift me. I want God to bless me and my family and I desire every gift He has planned for me to have.

    So what does this have to do with Church growth? I believe the most effective way to grow the Kingdom of God is by having children and bringing them up in the nurture of the Lord within the Body of Christ. Raise godly seed that go on to produce more godly seed. Build a Christian legacy. Outproduce the ungodly. Send out godly arrows into the world to be witnesses to the Gospel of Christ to be reproduced in our biblically illiterate world.

    I have 7 children. All are saved. Four are married to godly spouses and are raising godly seed. 10 grands. I have been teased for having so many children.
    “Don’t you have a TV?”
    “Don’t you know what causes that?”
    “How are you going to pay for their college education?”
    I truly believe the growth of the Kingdom of God begins in the home. It doesn’t end there. We are to go into ALL the world and preach the gospel. I am trying to do my part by proclaiming the Gospel in the county jail. But I hope my greatest contribution is the fact that my family CHRISTIAN heritage will be carried on by my children and my children’s children and so on.

    Proverbs 22:6
    Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    This is a principle that if you will invest in your children and pour into them the Gospel then they will tend not to stray in their later years. So children are not so much a possession but an investment. We have to put something into them to see a return later on. And the more children you have invested in the more returns you will see later on. Our churches would be much healthier if we saw more multigenerational churches. Churches where children continued in the faith of their parents and teach their children as well.

  2. One last thing.
    Please don’t think I am saying that only large families demonstrate the blessings of God. I know of a couple who seriously could not have children for a very long time and they were convinced that they would be childless. BUT God granted them one son. And they were thankful for that child. He was a gift from God. Some couples cannot have children and that can be so very hurtful. It does not mean that God is angry with you.

    What I am saying is that God wants to use the very natural way to grow His Church through biological growth. Christian families producing godly seed. Accepting God’s plan and not substituting our own plan in its place. I would just challenge Christian couples to trust God with the blessings and gifts He wants to give you in the future. Can you at least pray about it and surrender to God’s will whatever that is?