The first steps into family ministry are filled with excitement. You’ve caught the vision to equip parents to take the lead in passing faith to their children. Your team is putting together creative resources for parents to use at home and you are beginning to shift your church calendar toward keeping families together for spiritual training.
Prepare for Battle
In the midst of the excitement, we need to face a sobering reality. Seeking to practice a biblical family ministry model in your church will accelerate spiritual warfare against the families in your congregation. Are you prepared for battle?
Here are the kinds of spiritual battles we are seeing across our country today.
- A mom has a teenage daughter who is struggling with promiscuity. She attends your church’s “Parenting Teens” seminar. It’s a great class with practical help for her. However, what no one knows is that she had a secret affair on her husband five years ago, and her secret sin is now paralyzing her both as a wife and mother.
- A young couple has two children in your preschool ministry, and they enthusiastically volunteer on Sunday mornings. You are considering asking them to help be a part of your new family ministry leadership team. What you don’t know is that this young dad drinks himself to sleep every night and outside of their happy faces on Sunday, their marriage and family is in shambles.
- Another mom seems to be getting excited about growing as a Christian parent! But she is alone. She is married, but alone. Her husband attends church and treats the family well, but he is focused on work and does not seem interested in spiritually leading the family.
If you want the light of Christ to shine brightly in the homes of your congregation, be prepared for that light to reveal a lot of pain. Is your church prepared to hold high the Word of God and lovingly lead these families through repentance and healing? Are you prepared to enter into spiritual battle not only for the survival of their family today but their spiritual legacy for generations to come?
The Turnaround Generation
One of the marks of spiritual revival in a church is when the Holy Spirit awakens “the turnaround generation.” The grace of God works in the lives of men, women, and children convicting them of sin, healing their deepest wounds, freeing them from bondage, and calling them to pour out their lives for the blessing of future generations.
One of the most dramatic family legacy transformations is found in 2 Chronicles 33. King Manasseh was 12 years old when he became King. As king of Judah he worshipped idols and told the people of Israel to do the same. He brought idols into the temple of God and practiced witchcraft. As hard as this is to believe, he sacrificed his own sons to his demonic “gods.”
Eventually, God brought great judgment against Manasseh, and he was taken prisoner in Assyria. His life came crashing down around him. Then the Bible records a great miracle!
“When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).
Manasseh repented! For the last five years of his life, he was a man on a mission. He tore down all the pagan altars he had built. He called the people to repent just as he had done and to serve the Lord.
A Godly Grandson
It’s possible that the person most dramatically affected by Manasseh’s repentance and radical pursuit of pleasing God was his grandson, Josiah. Josiah was only one year old when his grandfather turned from sin. From ages one to six Josiah saw his grandfather worshipping God, tearing down places of idol worship, and pleading with the people to follow God and God alone. Josiah needed that example from Manasseh, because he would become king at the tender age of eight. Manasseh’s repentance blessed his grandson Josiah, and Josiah continued his grandfather’s mission to call the people of Israel back to God. Josiah became one of the most godly and important kings in the history of Israel—and he was launched into that incredible life of serving God through the spiritual leadership of his grandfather!
The Great Grace of God
This is the message the families in your church need to hear! They need to know that no matter what they have done in the past, Jesus’ death was a sufficient payment for them. This includes the adultery, addictions, abortions, and abuses! They need to know that freedom can be found through repentance. They need to know that God is powerful enough to use them as the turnaround generation for their entire family tree … just like He used grandfather Manasseh.
Make no mistake, family ministry is not about new resources and program shifts. Family ministry is engaging in the front line battle for healing, transformation, forgiveness, and the advance of the Kingdom of our Lord for the generations to come!
Dr. Rob Rienow’s most important ministry is loving his wife and leading their seven children to love God. He is a pastor, author, and founder of Visionary Family Ministries (VisionaryFam.com). Check out his latest book on family ministry, Limited Church: Unlimited Kingdom.