How blessed we are at Kahului Baptist Church that we’re in a season where we are not failing in the command of God to be fruitful and multiply. Because of this boom in baby numbers in our church, my role, as given by the elders, is to come alongside and serve families, the children under their care, and our church as we serve one another. We will be using different means to communicate what that might look like at KBC. One of those means is this blog. And this post will be the first in a series on what the frame-work of a church-shaped, family-equipping ministry will look like at KBC.
However, I want to acknowledge in this post that “family” can look different in different seasons of life. I will not exhaust every season of family life or give us a complete theology of the family. Everything brought up in this post is worthy of entire books to be written about. I want to just say a little bit and point you to the Bible to show you there is much encouragement for all of us in every season. Because I believe God’s Word is sufficient for life and godliness; because I believe that he has “granted to us his precious and very great promises”, I desire to give you many “very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). To save space, I will not write out all the scripture verses referenced. You will be served if you look up each scripture reference found below as you read through this post.
Can we just take a few moments to marvel at the kind providence of God to give us an earthly picture of family to comprehend what he is like? He relates to himself within the Godhead as Father and Son (Matthew 17:5; John 17:1-5). He relates to his people as his children and Bride (Galatians 4:4-7; 1 John 3:1a; Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 21:2). We relate to one another as brothers, sisters, and spiritual children (James 1:2, 16,19; 1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; 1 John 2:1). Let us not allow familiarity with these terms and phrases to cause our hearts to not burst in praise over God’s providence in giving us family relationships to understand who he is and who we are. Praise him!
The Bible has much encouragement and instruction for parents with children under their care. Parents are called by God to be the primary discipler and spiritual trainer for their kids, not churches, family ministries, or children ministries. Even if you are single with children, you are called to be the primary discipler to your children. But parents and single parents are not called to do this alone. In Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul is giving children and parents instructions, following his instruction to married couples. But the main thrust of these verses “to submit and obey” one another is kicked off by Ephesians 5:19-21, where we are called in the Body of Christ to address “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 6:1-4; Deuteronomy 6:4-7; 2 Timothy 1:5; Proverbs (the whole thing)
Your work is not done. If God has blessed you with grandchildren and even great grandchildren, that means you have even more work to do. You are commanded and have the blessed privilege to proclaim the gospel to these children to see to it that faith, sincere faith, dwells in them. 2 Timothy 1:5, Deuteronomy 4:9
Perhaps you’re married, but haven’t had kids yet. Maybe your kids are grown, off to college, or moved out. Maybe you’re unable to have children, or your child has died. Whatever the reason is, God has much encouragement and instruction for your family. In Acts 18, we meet a couple, Priscilla and Aquilla. By all accounts, they seem to have no children, but are active in serving and discipling. Paul stays with them for a little while in verses 1-3. Then Paul brings them on his mission trip to Ephesus, leaving them there to plant a church. And while they were in Ephesus, they took a young preacher, Apollos, and discipled him in Acts 18:26. They were such a precious couple to Paul, that he mentions them by name at the end of Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 2 Timothy.
You may not have children of your own, but you can have children in the truest meaning of the word. I say “truest meaning” because Paul calls both Timothy and Titus his “true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4). John the apostle, in his first letter, calls his readers his “children” 9 times. Your capacity and availability has the potential to reach far more children than even families with children. God can use you mightily. Acts 18:1-3, 26-28; 1 Timothy 1:2 & Titus 1:4; 1 John 2:1
Brother, sister, please hear this: marriage or having children in this lifetime is not the epitome of the human experience. Marriage to the Lamb of God is! Just because you are not married or do not have children, it doesn’t mean that you do not have a family. We are not individually called the Bride of Christ. His Church is the Bride of Christ! And you have a family in the body of Christ. You have true children in the faith, true fathers and mothers in the faith within the Body.
Everything that I’ve said above applies to you and even more. We know Paul the apostle wasn’t married. In fact, he even goes so far as to say that those who are not married are more free of worldly anxieties and more free to concern themselves with the things of the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
There is a very interesting account recorded by Luke in Acts 21. Luke and Paul were in Caesarea and stayed at the house of an evangelist named Philip. In verse 9, it says that “he had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.” Now, whatever you believe about the gift of prophecy, we can agree that God went out of his way to mention that these women were unmarried and that they prophesied. These single women, probably looked down upon by that culture because they were unmarried, were used by God to speak his word. Whether you are single or a widow or widower, God can use you in your singleness. Revelation 19:6-8; 1 John 2:1; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Acts 21:8-9
As we can see, “family” can look very differently for different people in different seasons of life. So much more can and will be said about each season of life. While I have been tasked by our elders to serve families with children for this season in our church, we have all been tasked by God to serve and care for and come alongside all of our families at KBC, whether they are families with children, without children, grand parents, singles, widows, or orphans. Pastor Randy’s current blog series can give you practical ways to care for everyone at KBC. The role of our elders is not to do the work of the ministry, but “to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12.
Let us all do the work of family ministry, teaching the Word of God to our children (both physical and in the faith), “that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God.” Psalm 78:5-7