Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission. “Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” (Matthew 28:19-20). This command is so crucial that it is repeated in various forms in the other gospels and at the beginning of the book of Acts. The Great Commission is not just for the “spiritual” people but is to infiltrate the priorities of all Christians.
As my expression of fulfilling the Great Commission, I felt called to leave the area I had grown up (Alabama) and stay in New England to help plant a church to reach this area with the gospel. With only 1-3% of the population in evangelical churches, it is one of the neediest parts of our country.
But along the way, God blessed me with a wife, and then blessed us with four children. And doing my part in fulfilling the Great Commission means that I bring the gospel to them also. They really must be my number one ministry. The Great Commission is a call to bring the gospel and obedience-oriented discipleship to the souls God has entrusted to us.
God could have created us so that, like the ants, one woman has all the babies, and the rest of us just help her out. But instead, God has created families, where each parent and grandparent have a finite number of souls to be concerned with.
Timothy is an example of a child who had been influenced by his family. Timothy had grown up with a believing mother and grandmother who had done a great job passing on the faith to him. We learn in 2 Timothy 1:5
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Although Scripture emphasizes the importance of fathers, Timothy grew up in a home where his mother was a believer but his father was not.
Acts 16:1-2 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
For family discipleship to happen, parents and grandparents must know and accept this God given responsibility to make disciples of their children and grandchildren. God does call us to invest in the lives of others outside our family, but he also calls us to target our own children and grandchildren.
So as we hear and think about obedience to the Great Commission, let us include our family in that thinking.