God is building His church with the modern family.
All in the Family
by Paul Collins
Before Christians can effectively challenge the modern trends that endanger the Christian family and home, we must first understand that God began human existence by instituting marriage and the family unit. The first community God established was the home. His first relationship with humanity existed in the context of the family long before the “church” was established. The Israelites had no formal place of worship until God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle. Prior to this, worship took place in the home where it was directed by the husband and father, the spiritual head of the home (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
Families and the home have changed dramatically. Today, we minister to families of all shapes and sizes, with a wide range of members. In the church I pastor, few families include both a biological mother and father living under the same roof. Most families have been affected by divorce, and one of the parents is a step-parent. I would like to share some stories about the different kinds of families in our home missions church here in Virginia:
The Traditional Family
The Bolins (dad, mom, two small children)
This is the family every church tries to target—a young working couple with two small children who love the Lord and serve as teachers and youth leaders. God sent this family, along with the dad’s grandmother, parents, and brother to us from Springdale, Arkansas, as a result of an article written about our church in ONE Magazine. They were transferred to Harrisonburg and visited in our congregation. This family has changed our church by leading our young people to compete in the National Youth Conference events at district, state, and national levels. They are gifts from God, and we are thankful.
The Blended Family
The Thompsons (dad, mom, her children, his child, their son)
This family packs the pew one Sunday but may only have three people the next week because of various requirements of the family members. They are new to our church, and we are excited about their potential to help us in many areas. They are willing and able to work anywhere. Also, a daughter-in-law is coming with them and is likely be the mother of the first new baby in our new nursery. His, hers, and ours has become the norm in a society without norms. God has already used them to excite our church and will continue to work miracles in and through them as they become more involved. This family is gift-wrapped by God in a blended package. We are thankful for them.
The Extended Family
The Wheelers (widowed mom and her adult daughter)
God tells us to care for this type of family in James 1:27—a mother caring for her adult daughter who, due to chemical and emotional issues, needs a strong support system and a church to be their rock, their friend, and their extended family. This youthful widow is a woman of God, a preschool Sunday School teacher, a pillar of strength, and an example to others of how to depend on the God who has promised to meet our needs. She ministers to us in many ways and allows God to use the miracle of her life and her positive outlook to encourage us. This family is God’s gift and we are thankful.
The Single-Parent Family
The Rigglemans (dad, adult son, and toddler daughter)
This family is broken and needs our ministry so much. The dad was saved out of severe drug and alcohol abuse. He has a three-year-old daughter whose mother is in prison. He has an adult daughter who resents him and an adult son he has helped bring to Jesus. He is now fighting for custody of his toddler daughter because she was taken from him last year after he slipped and consumed alcohol while on probation.
This August, he will try to convince a judge that he has been changed by the grace of God and has been faithful to work in our church, in addition to receiving counseling and being involved in Alcoholics Anonymous. This single dad has helped our church as a soul winner, reaching others who need help and care. He has used his occupation to save our church thousands of dollars by providing concrete work for our new church building. Please pray for his family and him. They are God’s gift and we are thankful.
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Your family may not be perfect, but you can be used by God to help build His church. You cannot change your past, but with God’s grace and forgiveness, He can change your present and your future. You are God’s precious gift to His Church. We are thankful for all the families God has given to us and the ones He is still going to send our way. Remember, God still uses families to build His Church. We are all His family when we ask Him to forgive us and come into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior. Welcome to the family.
About the Author: Paul Collins and his family are planting the Harrisonburg FWB Church in Virginia. Learn more at www.homemissions.net.