WE ARE A FATHERING GENERATION
[God woke me up through my daughters crying, can’t go back to sleep, God suddenly spoke about me that this year is more on about fathering the next generation.]
Making Disciples is all about fathering those who you make them. At this stage I am fathering 42 people. They have become my children in the Lord, and some have became my parents in the Lord simply because of their old age. Parenting in making disciples doesn’t mean only bearing spiritual children but it is about creating a family around Jesus. Just as a normal family has parents and children so as Jesus family. We can even have ‘hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters’ as Christians has no ‘neighbors’ and ‘friends’ co’z we have all become one family.
A Generation of Spiritual Orphans
I don’t need to make a survey to find out but honestly I have met enough Christians who are ‘orphans’ when it comes to having spiritual parents in the Lord. Christians in modern churches have been transfering to different labels of Christianity looking someone to belong not in institution but to a family, not looking for some sort of hierchies to ‘command and obey’ because they have to but obey because they know that they are their parents in the Lord that love them unconditionally. Our Christianity today are full of spiritual orphans, they have pastors simply because they have been a member to many churches. One of my friend have became Jesus disciples, as I made her I began to explained that I have become her ‘father in the Lord’ and she has become my ‘daugther in the Lord’ just as Paul ‘have become a father’ in the Corinthian believers and a father to Timothy, 1 Cor. 4:14-17, and John the beloved begot many ‘children in the Lord’ in his letters she was shock suddenly realizing how all make sense now to her whenever she reads those greetings in the episles. She has been reading the Bible for years and have been joining different churches yet unable to see the kind of relationship the Father is longing for His children.
One of the many reasons that fathering is not mentioned nor practice in most churches is because the concept of family is absent. Because it cannnot be found inside the church buildings it is my pressumption that is not found as well within family circles. “He who manage his own family can manage the household of God” simply because church is a family, nothing more; nothing less. If it is more than that then it has become an institution that is run by presidents and founders who are nearly have become good fathers with their families. A healthy functional family is not run by hierchies but by parents and children with relationship and love with each other, and so as the church ought to be. A child is not protected because of some rules that you set out in your home, he is protected because you love him. He is even unconditionally loved by his parents not by what he does but because of who he is. Every parents knows that if your child is trying to do something to please you something is wrong with him. It’s the same thing in trying to do things to please Father, you can’t please Him anymore than what His Son Jesus did simply because He is God, an all-sufficient One. Suppose to be church leaders should act more like fathers expressing and reflecting our Father in heaven. They are not to be called ‘fathers’ for we have only one Father in heaven, but that they ‘have become fathers’ to us and treated us more like their own children instead of ‘projects’ of their organizations. Paul is an apostle but never confere himself as one with God’s people but as always a co-equal brother in the Lord, or father in the faith. He could have said to them, “you have thousands of teachers but lack apostle, and I have become an apostle unto you” for he is indeed one but not to me or you but to Jesus “an apostle of Jesus Christ.”
It takes a mind shift of the whole thinking about church to understand this concept. The essense of a family was lost in the church, it has only become a statement in their church signage on top of their church building, “We are a family church. Come and join us.” How can you ‘attend’ a family if you’re a part of it? How can you ‘attend’ Christ? If church is a family, is what we do in a ‘Sunday Morning Worship Service’ normally how a family behaves?
A Fatherless Generation
One Australian woman named Bessie who I meet in India, after conversing with her about how we make disciples I ask her to be one of my ‘mother in the Lord’ and told her the reason why my generation have to asked for it simply because not only that my generation is a fatherless generation but also those ahead of us doesn’t know how to father simply because nobody is fathering them.
I know a person who becomes my friend and I respected him as a ‘man of God’ and treated him as my mentor. I just suddenly stunned when I knew that he falls into adultery with his secretary in the church. I was feeling sad about the incident for he was my friend. Months passed I met the sister of his wife and found out the cause. It might not be the real issue but there is some truth about it. I am astound to know that this man has no ‘father in the Lord.’ “Because no one is fathering him” the sister in law says. “How important is fathering is then to a person?” I ask myself. How can this be with him having no ‘spiritual father in the Lord’ yet pastoring a church? What impact can this be to a person who continue serving in the church, roaming around between brothers and sisters yet no father? Does this happen as a result of being a rebellious son? As anyone can remember, he was grown up and trained by a pastor. I know his pastor by name but how come ‘fathering’ becomes as issue? Is ‘pastoring’ different than ‘fathering?’ I believe so, a big difference between a ‘pastor-member’ relationship and a ‘father-son- relationships. One takes care of his organization, the latter takes care of his family.
Church Is Family
A house-church is a ‘household of faith,’ that is, a family in nature. When Jesus said that ‘He who leaves father and mothers…shall have hundreds of them.” And, “He who does not hate his father and mother is not worthy of Me.” He is not trying to destroy families here, He is only redefining what a ‘household’ of God look and act like. Unlike churches today, they act and think and behave like orphans. This story illustrates what I mean. A couple who cannot bear children decided to adopt a child who lives in the street. One day, as they ate around the table with so much food, the boy after eating grab a plastic bag in his pocket and gatehr the leftovers, he does this when his new parents is not around. When his parents goes to work the child grabs some things around the house and keeps them in his room. Not for long his parents found out and called up the boy, “You are our son,” the father said, “everything that is ours is yours. You don’t have to hide food nor toys.” In the same way, this behavior still can be found in most Christians today in churches and their daily lives.
One visit to Dumaguete, one of our islands here. In the middle of this fathering and mothering discussion a 20 year old woman caught our attention as she cried. Her parents are both separated, making her as elligitimate child without brothers and sisters. She is looking for family. I told them that a situation like this needed an intentional way of affirming her saying, “I have become your father or mother in the Lord.” Young people are longing for family who can love them, accepted them for who they are.
Last verse of the Old Testament is about family, broken family. ‘I will send the prophet Elijah….to turn the hearts of the father to the children and the children to their fathers.” And the last word of the Old Testament is ‘curse.’ It’s obvious that this curse is upon families! Four-hundred and thirty years have passed, John the baptist came with a ‘fathering’ message, “THe spirit of Elijah is upon me,…to turn the hearts of the father to the children and the children to their fathers.” And for what purpose? “To make ready a people for the Lord.” To what? To prepare God’s people for His coming! If you want to help clean up the road of where Jesus can walk and visit, help reconcile broken relationships of husbands and wives, restore relationships of rebellious children. In Luke 10 Jesus sends the twelve to the village and find ‘a man of peace.’ Find the house, whatever that family offers you, receive it. Verse two says that Jesus ‘send them ahead of Him.” Wow, in other words, He said, “If you want to prepare my way, go find a house and if they accept you leave your peace there, reconcile, restore broken relationships. Let the father ask for forgiveness to their children and in turn their children would ask for forgiveness to their fathers.” If there could be a place where revival should need to begin, not in our churches but in our families. It is only mere hypocrisy when we have a revived church with unrevived homes. It must begin in our homes simply because that is where sin begins.
The focus on making disciples, fathering the next generations is relationships. Church is all about it: Love God and your neighbors. Through what? Through relationships. Fathering is about building some good, healthy and devoted relationships to your children in the Lord. To raise a son needs relationships, not discipleship materials.
Ministry is Life
Your life is ministry. Often people ask me, “How was your ministry?” Trying to separate my life with it. This question is a church-based relationship not family-based relationship. Family-based is, “How are you? How was your life? How was your family? How was your life?” But church-based relationship questionaire are: “How was your ministry? What church did you go to? Whois your pastor?” Questions are based on church stuffs which is no relationships at all to you of whatsoever.
What Have We Been Doing Then?
We make disciples, this is our sole purpose. The those who we make disciples becomes a fmaily to us, our ‘children in the Lord’ and we became their ‘parents in the Lord.’ In a practical way, those who we make disciples knows who made them a disciples and knows who their ‘spiritual parents’ are. Because we do them ‘intentionally.’ “Mentoring’ ‘couching’ ‘trainor’ ‘leader’ ‘pastor’ falls short whenit comes to fathering. Fathering is intimate, intentional and relational. You don’t use a manual to raise a son, you use your time and resources, your presence, not your ‘present,’ your relationship to raise him or her up in the Lord.
We don’t disciple people, we only ‘make’ them a disciple. There’s a difference. They are not our disciple so we don’t disciple them. They are Jesus disciples so the Holy Spirit who lives in them is their discipler, that is hearing His voice, being spirit led. What could be the purpose of the Holy Spirit living in you 24/7? Our job is to make disciples to the quickest way, the easiet way, fastest way to reach the growing population. Fourty-two families have become ‘household of faith’s’ an extended family to me in 15 months.
How to maintain?
We don’t maintain our relationships through having ‘meetings’ week after week. You don’t maintain your brother in that way. Your relationship is enough for both of you to be family. Families have no meetings, they have spontaneous gatherings, Heb.10:24-25. We don’t do Bible studies, but reading and discussing Bible stuff is everywhere. We don’t do prayer meetings, but prayers happen every time, at any place.
Orphans and Widows
True enough that true religion takes care of the ‘orphans and the widows’ in their need. We took care and support widows in the surrounding area. We give them food and shelter and money when able to help their need. We are in prayers of getting 2 widows and house them close to where we live. We continue hearing the Lord’s voice in this. Widows are so left behind in churches today, they have children’s thing but not taking care of widows. When I was single, I took care of my friend who is a widow, she said crying telling me that the Bible says, “You, young men should take good care of the widows.” Pray with us as we go nto this journey of treating widows in the Lord.
We house 7 people in my house, I mean rented them a house on their own living close to us. We do things together like eating together, walking together, praying together, walking together to the market, reading books together and other ‘one-anothering’ in the Bible. We help send them to school, 2 is going to college, 2 is in elementary and 3 is in high school. My wife and I is parenting these kids, we treated them as our own children, and we ‘become’ their parents, 1 Cor.4:14.
Helping them to get to school is only a part of parenting. If you wish to help through your giving do so with an attitude of serving your next generation. I don’t ‘sponsor’ a brother, I help a brother. Though receipts are approriate only when relationships is weak, trust really is built on relationships, not receipts.
Push the paypal button on the side, class enrollment is on soon…….help us send this kids to school.
Wish this article change the way you think about church.
Molong and Lisa