Matthew 28:18-20, The Message
“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: ‘God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.’”
I recently took a class on Christian Education at Trinity School for Ministry. This was an insightful time of study for me. While I was away many people in our community helped volunteer to keep youth ministry going for a few weeks. Those who helped out contributed to my growth and discipleship and the growth and discipleship of our youth. I am so thankful to belong to a church community that is so supportive of my spiritual formation and the spiritual formation of our youth.
The time that I spent at Trinity School for Ministry studying Christian education was amazing. It is such a blessing to have such support and encouragement in my education and calling to minister to youth and families. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our church family. God has also renewed and inspired a continuing vision for youth and family ministry at our church, Church of the Epiphany, during my studies. I continue to think through and study discipleship, and God has only fueled that passion in me by studying a family based approach to Christian education, discipleship, and youth ministry at Trinity.
As part of studying Christian education and discipleship, we read God’s Grand Vision for the Home, by Dr. Rob Rienow; it is a great book on spiritual formation within families and in the home. The premise of this book is that we must be teaching our children and youth about Jesus within our families and within the home. God's grand vision is that we know and serve Jesus and that is not something we do just at church once or twice a week, it’s what we live daily by His Grace. Our faith in Jesus is our life. We must be studying God's word, we must be constantly teaching one another, and we must be worshiping and serving Jesus together as his family.As followers of Jesus, we are to fully integrate discipleship into every facet of our lives and consistently learn, teach, and practice the gospel together daily.
Dr. Rienow states in his book that the number one purpose of the family is to make disciples of Jesus. He says, “God created your family to be a discipleship center. God made your family so that you would help each other to love Him more. You are together so that you might help each other discover Christ, grow in Him together and together make a difference in the world for Him.” Discipleship is extremely important to God. He has crafted the communities that we are a part of, the church, the family of God, and our nuclear families, to make learners and students of Jesus.
This year in the youth ministries at our church we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with families to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This vision fits “hand in glove” with our churches mission statement, which is: “To stand for Jesus Christ, grow together as God’s family, and make Him known through the power of the Holy Spirit.” I am excited to bring back to my family, and to my church family, all that I have learned and to apply what I have learned about Christian education with young people and families. The youth ministry is looking forward to continuing to support and train families to make disciples of Jesus and to minister to and serve alongside of the family to help make mature followers of Jesus.
May we join into this challenge, blessing, and responsibility of making disciples of Jesus Christ together as His family!
In His Service,
Beckwith, Ivy. Postmodern Children’s Ministry: Ministry to Children in the 21st Century. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI. © 2004, p. 164.
Holmen, Mark A. Building Faith at Home: Why faith at Home Must Be Your Churches #1 Priority. Ventura, CA.: Regal Books, © 2007, p.
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Mt 28:18-2
Rienow, Dr. Rob. God’s Grand Vision for the Home. Awana Clubs International. Streamwood, IL. © 2007