Most parents of grown, married children are just plain antsy for grandbabies. As they look back on how they parented, their only hope is that they have raised their children to make and raise more children.
Because everyone loves babies.
But very few children, left to their own devices, grow up to be good parents. Because so much of parenting is imitation of (or rebellion towards) what you experienced, kids need to be parented well in order to become good parents.
The ultimate goal of parenting
In a perfect world, the ultimate goal of parenting is to see your kids become parents themselves. Such is the fabric upon which our planet’s population is sustained and the image of God is multiplied (Genesis 1:28).
Only, now we are witnessing the erosion that occurs in the family when the ultimate goal of parenting is only to make happy kids. The side effects of which, is fewer parents.
Likewise, the Father built the Church to be a family where disciples, trained and instructed, make disciples. Coincidentally (or not), God decided to liken one’s passage into Church with words like adoption (Galatians 4:7) and birth (John 3:3).
Given that language, disciples (who make disciples) are something of parental figures in the family of God.
The Apostle Paul echoes this logic in his letter to the Corinthian church when he tells them, “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15).
Or in his letter to Timothy, he writes, “[treat] older men like fathers…older women like mothers” (1 Timothy 3:1).
And to the Ephesian church he explains what these parental figures do in the family of God. It is “to equip the saints for the work of the ministry” that the Father gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to the Church, “so that we may no longer be children…we are to grow up in every way into [Christ]” (4:11-14).
It is not a stretch to make the jump from this that in churches where older men and women (our leaders and otherwise) are absent in their duty, new believers are functionally orphaned by the church.
Left to their own devices, they just won’t be making any disciples. How could they? They’re just imitating their “parents”.
Church is not daycare
Programs and lasers, buildings and bands — putting all of our efforts into fun, we have spoiled our churches rotten.
Turns out, daycare is expensive and ineffective for carrying on the family line. Kids (and churches) begin feeling entitled to more and better stuff.
Perhaps, like many parents, it’s simply time to trim the family budget and start parenting again.
That means leaders in the family of God are to love, instruct, and train disciples with the goal of seeing new disciples born and adopted into the family of God.
- How do you do this?
- Has your church made changes in order to take hold of this familial paradigm?
- Do you need to get back to parenting your disciples?