I am preparing to teach a breakout session today during our annual Hoffmantown missions conference. I am excited to be able to teach from II Timothy, a book that we have been studying for most of this year in the children’s department. We are going to learn how to do missions as a family.
If you look into the Bible, you will quickly notice that God is in the business of connecting with people, training and equipping them, send them out as missionaries. Here is a short list of missionaries in the Bible. It is not exhaustive.
I. Be diligent in the Word
In order to be able to serve as missionaries together as a family, you need to be prepared. The best and only way to be prepared is to do as II Timothy 2:15 teaches, and that is to be a diligent student of the Word of God. Are you studying the Scriptures daily so that you can learn to disciples your own children and use what you learn to disciple others? Why is it so important that we begin by being diligent in the Word of God? As II Timothy 3:16 teaches us, the Word of God is profitable to us by:
- teaching us
- showing us where we are wrong
- correcting us
- training us to walk with God
Diligently studying the Word of God is like taking a daily bath for your soul. Without physical baths, we begin to stink. The same is true without spiritual baths. We need them daily and God challenges us to “bathe” daily in His Word. As God works in you, He begins to prepare you to invest in others. You become an example. Are you an example for your children?
II. Be an example
We need living examples to follow. God created us to be visual and we need to see how to do things so that we can mimic. This is why when you buy something that requires assembly, the package comes with a book of written and visual instructions. We need to see in order to mimic what is there. This is what Paul is talking about in II Timothy 1:5 when he mentions sincere faith in Timothy’s grandmother and mother. The word “sincere” comes to English from Latin. It literally means “without wax”. When buying pottery in the market place, the Greeks and Romans would hold up the piece of pottery to sunlight to see if there were any wax filling up and covering cracked places. The only way to tell if there were wax there or not was to hold the piece up to the sun’s light. If it were “waxless” then they would say “sincere”. This is the kind of faith that we must have. We are not trying to cover up anything. What you see is what you get, it is who we are if we are genuine followers of Christ. Lois and Eunice were genuine followers and they set a great example for Timothy. It is easy to wear a mask at church but much more difficult to maintain that mask with those who live in your home. They see who you really are. As you are diligent in the Word of God, He will melt away the masks that you like to wear to purify you so that you can be an example of sincerity for your children.
III. Teach about being born again
Many times, I have noticed that children who grow up in “Christian” homes seem to think that they are believers either by birth or by proximity. Neither of these are Biblical. The Bible teaches us that God does not have any grandchildren. All of us have to be adopted into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. God only has adopted children who have been born again into His family. When we are born again, we become new creatures. All the old passes away and new things come. This happened to Timothy. Paul writes about it in II Timothy 1:6-7 when he mentions that Timothy had a spiritual gift. The only way that we receive spiritual gifts is by receiving the Holy Spirit at the time that we accept Christ as Lord and Savior and are born again. The proof that we are born again is seen in our transformed lives. Timothy went from a person full of fear and timidity to a person full of the Holy Spirit, filled with power, love, and discipline. His life and lifestyle were completely changed, even though he grew up in a “Christian” home. Are you teaching your children the importance of being born again so that they can be transformed by God and become missionaries with you?
IV. Serve together as a family
As you study and disciple your kids, you must motivate them to serve with you in the ministry. God connects with us so that we can know Him and walk with Him. He then motivates us to love and serve the people around us so that we can connect with them and help them connect with God. In II Timothy 2:2, we see that we are to be out and about in the community, searching for people to disciple and according to II Timothy 4:2, the way that we find them is by preaching the Word. As they begin to respond to the Word of God, we entrust the Word to them so that the Word can work in them as It has worked in us. Do you serve the Lord with your children or just bring them to church? God wants us to come to church to be trained so that we can go out and attack the darkness by investing the Word in the lives of others. If you are just bringing your kids to church but not serving with them then you are missing the point. They will grow up thinking that church is all about coming and being a spectator instead of coming to be trained and to go out and make disciples of all nations (an active servant instead of a passive spectator). As II Corinthians 5 teaches us, once we have been reconciled with God, He entrusts us with the ministry of reconciliation. We connect with the people around us so that we can teach them the Word of God so that they can connect with God too.
May the Lord help us apply the principles and be amazed at what He does in us and through us!