The heresy of the evangelical order
A divine order has become almost sacrosanct in evangelical subculture; placing a pseudo-theological ordering on our priorities. God First Family Second Career Third Church Fourth At first glance, this seems like a worthy order. But this not only poses a logistical conundrum but also a conflict with a truly Divine rendering of priorities: “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:34-40 So the first part sounds good but Jesus finished the conversation with a second priority. Love others as you love yourselves. And the list ends. When a person keeps God as first priority, he begins to see others equal to himself. This then becomes the supernatural filter for every decision in his life. So a godly leader leads his family by submission. He pays close attention to the Father and spends energy differently in different seasons. The blessing that flows down from this ordering is a gift of grace.
When a person keeps God as first priority, he begins to see others equal to himself. This then becomes the supernatural filter for every decision in his life.
The idol of family
In our clamoring to conform to the ‘evangelical code’, we can often turn our families into idols. Its number one status can be easily seen in the price we pay to show our allegiance. We have bought into a manic culture in the vain hope of assembling the perfect family. In the end, the whole of family life revolves around our children. They become the non-negotiable dots on the calendar when there’s a scheduling conflict. We can’t serve others because there is no slack in the system. Everything else plays second fiddle. We are not serving them, but worshipping them.
Protect or share my family?
The notion of our families being ‘shared’ with the brokenness that exist around us seems radical, and unwise. That is why we insulate and isolate. The imagery of salt, light and yeast are far from our imaginations. “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’”Matthew 11:19
I wonder if being a follower of Jesus means our family has friendships with sinners?
Have you considered Jesus’ contemptuous title, “friend of sinners?” Public opinion thought Jesus should have more wholesome friends. I wonder if being a follower of Jesus means our family has friendships with sinners? By involving your family in significant friendships with those outside the family of faith, discipling happens in a natural way. Children can see both the painful consequences of sin as well as the redemptive mission of Christ. Miracles are never witnessed within the safety of our sacred bubble wrap.
A transparent journey
Church planters often stress over the spiritual trajectory of their children. The fear that their children might grow up and want nothing to do with Jesus usually comes from watching other pastor’s kids rebel. The difference between your journey and the journey of the average pastor is that you get to do this as a family. Long established churches often have a more defined role for the pastor. Their children tend to see pastoring as ‘dad’s job.’ The scenario is different for church planting families. Starting a movement is impossible without the hand of God. As you encounter obstacles, it is imperative that you include your family in the journey. Let them hear you pray and ask your Father for his provision. Let them experience the ‘befores’ and ‘afters’. These memories will stay etched in their memories for their lifetime and they will be blessed as they walk with you on this kingdom-expanding journey.
The difference between your journey and the journey of the average pastor is that you get to do this as a family.
Marriage and the art of husbandry
Scripture is clear on the role of a husband. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”Ephesians 5:25 The English word ‘husband’ comes from an old fourteenth century English term, ‘husbandman,’ which means, ‘farmer.’ A husbandman’s livelihood was to ensure his fields were thriving, and healthy.
By loving your wife the way Christ loves the Church, you will give one of the greatest gifts to your church plant.
‘Husbandry’ is an assignment given to all who have pledged themselves to a bride. My job as a husband is to know my wife and care for her, so that she thrives as a woman of God. By loving your wife the way Christ loves the Church, you will give one of the greatest gifts to your church plant.
Published January 5, 2016