God Calls The Whole Family

Noahs_Ark

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26, NIV)

The God of Noah calls the whole family—not just dad and not just mom. Not just the smart kid and not just the gifted kid—nope, He calls the whole crazy bunch. Though everyone’s responsibilities undoubtedly all looked very different throughout that fateful ark assembly project, Noah and his wife, their three sons and their respective daughters-in-law—eight in total—were all an integral part of building what God was building in their generation.

And it’s no different today in our 21st century generation. Ministry looks different these days, but God is not different. Mankind has progressed technologically, but the unchanging God has never had to progress, because nothing can be added to perfection.

When God’s grace and calling find a modern Noah-like visionary leader in our day and age of vocational or marketplace ministry, the whole family is included in that grace and calling. In the case of the real Noah, he was the one who received the divine warning from God, but he also knew intuitively that the mission included everyone. Yes, it’s worth repeating, God’s heart is for the whole family! And when each member of the bunch bears some form of meaningful and age-appropriate responsibility in that specific family calling, they feel included and significant, as they should.

I believe one of the worst things a Noah-like ministry leader can do is fail to engage the rest of the family in real and tangible ways. When ministry is a dad thing or a mom thing, but not a family thing, it’s not what God fully intended. On a personal level, I bring my kiddos to many prayer meetings each week at the house of prayer ministry I lead. They pray on the microphone, practice on instruments, hand out my teaching notes, run the camera, and on and on. My wife leads during prayer meetings, speaks during our services, creates teaching documents, engages visitors, and on and on.

Otherwise, how could I expect other whole families to jump on board if my whole family doesn’t? It’s not only unwise to presume only one member or small part of the family is called—I think it’s actually unbiblical. Again, the roles will certainly be different, and definitely shift over time, but even the littlest lamb in the fold is to be included and trained up in the family gig.

No matter what you’re calling looks like right now, pray for God’s perspective and ask for the wisdom to include everyone in some way, shape or form. In doing so, you’re not only sharing the load, developing meaningful bonds and creating healthy ministry experiences, you’re also giving witness to God’s design of ministry, which is to do things in loving unity instead of isolated separation. Among other things, you’re also setting in motion a leadership succession process involving the most trusted of individuals whom you’ve invested in more than any other—your own children.

That’s not to say that every child is supposed to walk in dad’s or mom’s footsteps, but for those who are, they’ve been given specific hands-on training their whole life and are set up wonderfully to excel when God calls them to their special purpose in His time. And for those little ones who are eventually called to do something entirely different have lost nothing and gained everything. The sovereign God chose that season of their youth as the training grounds for them to succeed in their life calling and He always chooses the right training grounds.

So much more could be said on this topic, but for the sake of time and space let’s simply remember that we who follow Jesus also serve the God of Noah, the God who calls the whole family. As challenging as it may be at first, let’s find a way to do things together with our spouse and children. Let’s trust that as we do, the spirit of unity between spouse and kiddos will give honor to our heavenly Father and give witness to other members of His extended family—our brothers and sisters in Christ—of the great and mighty things that are possible when we do ministry together in love.

 

Image of “Noah’s Ark” (1846) by American folk painter Edward Hicks used with permission per Wikipedia’s terms of use.

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