BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR FAMILY EVANGELISM
Isn’t evangelism the church’s responsibility? If you saw your child slipping off a cliff into a black hole, would you wait for the guide to grab him? Help is one thing. Leaving our children’s eternity in the hands of “strangers” or even friends in the church is out of the question, don’t you think?
This is the kind of reasoning that is leading to abandonment of Sunday School programs, mentoring relationships between the generations, or other church programs designed to specifically call children to faith in Christ Jesus and a life pleasing to Him. The result is a swing from “leaving it all to the church” to placing the entire burden of evangelism on the family. This burden is hard to bear alone. Many families respond with a shrug of their shoulders at yet another load to bear and fall into sitting together once a week (or month!) and attending traditional holiday services together. Morality and tradition that fits into the prevailing culture results. This is a far cry from true evangelism where Christ Jesus is exalted in the home and each family member lives for Christ.
Both approaches are out of balance and a departure from biblical orthodoxy. Paul tells Timothy that the church is a household, is God’s, and is a pillar and buttress of the truth (I Timothy 3:14-15). It is supposed to support and defend the gospel–to constantly remind everyone that God sovereignly changes lives, calling each person in the family to turn from their own sins and rely on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the One who was promised from the very beginning. The church, not the family, is the one chiefly responsible for the guarding of the gospel.
“If the proper order is observed within the confinement of a true Bible congregation, the family will be sufficiently augmented with grounded principles, precepts and patterns of spiritual growth and life.” (Roger Hargrave, GraceWorx Ministries, Summer, 2010). italics mine.
It takes two for effective evangelism within the family. The biblical balance is both the church and the family working together to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Principle 1: Don’t go it alone. Raise your children in active participation within a local church functioning as close to the New Testament description as possible.