Tour Guides for Everlasting Joy!
“The places you take your children will influence them for the rest of their lives. You parents are their tour guides . . . I hope to encourage you to make your local church the center of your family’s schedule and priorities.”
This is how Scott Brown begins his book, The Family at Church: 20 Days to Transform Your Local Church Experience (p. 27). Our church family is reading this together during the month of October. At the end of each week (5 readings / chapters per week), I will offer some of the statements from each chapter that I found most personally edifying, challenging, and needed. I will do so with minimal commentary, so as to simply let readers continue to prayerfully soak up these principles and truths and exhortations, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God in Christ and the good of our families and church.
“Nothing a family does is more important than hearing the gospel and meeting with God in the local church” (p. 28).
“Good parents are not ‘hyper-Calvinists’ who leave everything up to God, not lifting a finger to evangelize their children” (p. 29).
I found this comment helpful, as an evangelical Calvinist (like the author, Scott Brown is himself). Orthodox Calvinism has always taught what the Bible teaches – that God is sovereign and man is responsible, and that God ordains both the end and the means to the end. May we parents use the means of grace God has revealed to us in His word as we raise our children for His glory.
“You need to live a lifestyle all week long which makes the church a central part of your life” (p. 30).
Churches that think like this, and have these expectations, we have found here at CBC, are often accused by American believers of being “cults” or “cultish.” But no matter, God’s Word is our authority. We need to stop wasting countless hours on activities that simply have no everlasting value or impact.
“I want to help you maximize the preaching of the gospel and the great deeds of God to your children through the gatherings of the local church” (p. 31).
“Shallow, insipid commitment to local churches is the root of much confusion, weakness, and many evils” (p. 33).
“You must grasp how important families are to the health of local churches” (p. 35).
“A family is like a feeder stream . . . God designed your home to be a kind of nursery for the church” (p. 36).
“The home is a picture of the church” (p. 37).
This is how the Puritans spoke of the family in its relationship to the church. Many years ago, I came to the realization as a pastor that almost nothing we do in ministry in the church will make much difference until we reclaim our homes and family lives for God’s glory. Biblically healthy families feed the health of churches. Sadly, the vice is also true. Broken, unbiblical, lukewarm, nominally Christian families cannot produce healthy churches. This doesn’t mean we shun those from brokenness. Rather, it does mean we must equip every member of the church to learn to do home and family God’s way.
Of the home and church, Brown says, “They cross-fertilize each other” (p. 41). Amen.
The church “should be the center of your lives” (p. 43).
This chapter answers the why? Why all the fuss about your local church?
“If you really want to know the value of the church, look at who loves it, what is sacrificed for it, how long it lasts and how far-reaching its impact is” (p. 44).
Brown lists four ways Christ loves His Church: 1) He gave Himself for her (Eph 5:24-30). 2) He personally identifies with her (Acts 9:1-5). 3) He builds her (Matt 16:18). 4) He has zeal for her (John 2:17).
“The church is the only eternal institution Jesus established” (p. 48, emphasis original).
“You actually need the conflicts” of a church (p. 48).
Yes! What a sanctifying thing it is to walk through hardship and conflict (corporate or inter-personal) together, with humility, confession, repentance, faith and grace.
“Show them the beauty” of the local church (p. 51).
“Your children are watching you” (p. 52).
“God has always gathered His people and He dwells with them when they meet” (p. 54).
“You dare not go to church without self-conscious, God-conscious intentionality” (p. 55).
Is this your view of church? Is Sunday the very priority of your week, week after week? Is the church gathering something you pray for with your family during the week, and plan for at least on Saturdays? Do you love what and whom Jesus loves? Do your children see that in you? Do you extol “the beauty” of the church? Or, are you too often grumbling about the church?
O God help us, as parents, grandparents, old and young, to get your heart for Your people, with whom we gather week after week, and often during the week. Give us a holy reverence for You and Your redeemed saints, warts and all, whom You are conforming to the image of Christ. Help us beautify the Church, by the power of Your Spirit, for the greater glory of Jesus.
by Keith McWhorter