Monday, November 17, 2014

With the future in mind...

For the past three months, our family pastoral staff here at NBC has been leading a group of parents through a class entitled, Gospel-Driven Parenting. We will be concluding our 12-week study this Sunday. In brief summary, our time together has pointed us to the fact that the gospel is the very lens for which we must see each and every facet of our lives. Our wins and defeats, our jobs, our hobbies, our service and worship, and our parenting, are all areas that must be seen in light of what Christ has accomplished for us through the cross. Opposed to our tendencies of reacting in fear and parenting from our individual deficit, our efforts should spring from our personal experience of God’s incredible love; we must cling to the promised hope that we find through the precious blood of Jesus.

We spent many hours in research – reading, writing, and hashing through the various ideas that accompany this topic. One of the resources we have utilized is TPJ’s Family Ministry Field Guide. As a church that is striving to equip parents in being the primary disciple-makers of their children, we have gained tremendous insight from Dr. Jones, a leading mind in the world of family ministry. It is fair to say that he has greatly impacted our ministry strategies in recent years. In his field guide, Jones notes that parenting with this kind of Christ-centered purpose and clarity will challenge us to rethink our approach as we begin to look far beyond ourselves.

“This story is bigger because it calls parents to see their children in light of God’s great story line of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. It is better because the goal is not simply healthier families for the church, bigger events for the community, or better ethics for the world. The goal is Jesus, the center is the gospel, and the family is a means for revealing the gospel now and for passing the gospel from one generation to the next.”[1]
A pic from last Saturday morning - our 3 with Uncle Jo Jo & Aunt Adena

Contrary to what many of us have experienced in our own raising or the inferior goals that we’ve set for ourselves, the gospel calls us to faithfully parent today, entrusting our children and the future generations to the One who is mighty to save. As difficult as it is to imagine, we may not be so privileged as to see the fruit of our labor. However, that’s just fine, for “God has called (us) to become ministers to generations yet unborn, equippers who make disciples with the future in mind.”[2]

How might things be changed if you adopted such a perspective? If God is all-knowing, completely perfect and powerful, sufficient to save and sustain, what does that mean for us? For you and I as individuals? For the church abroad? If Christ has proven faithful thus far, should He not be trusted with our own, as well as the generations yet born? Might we parent in the power of the Spirit, ever motivated by the cross, and bring glory to God through our families both now and in the ages to come.

Matt Fowler - Family Pastor of HS

P.S. - We will wrap-up our teaching series by hosting a Q & A panel discussion session @11am this Sunday in the Chapel.

[1]Timothy P. Jones, Family Ministry Field Guide : How Your Church Can Equip Parents to Make Disciples (Indianapolis, Ind.: Wesleyan Pub. House, 2011), 191.

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