In this post, I put in writing my personal aim in ministry.
With the help of my wife, to pass on the gospel to my children
This ‘PS’ to the original post is to mention a couple of indirectly-relevant matters. They would have over-lengthened the original piece.
Is this aim too result-driven?
Specifically, does it depend upon each of my children becoming model Christians? I’m sure you’ve met fine Christians whose children have chosen not to trust Christ. Does that mean they failed in ministry? And if a parent has believing children, do we simply say, ‘They must be good at ministry – see their kids’?
I definitely do not want to inflexibly bind children’s response to the parents’ ministry
For a start, my aim is to pass on the message. To pass on a gift is different from receiving the gift. I avoided saying ‘to make my children believe’, for example.
And yet, there is some connection between parent and children. It’s not a 1:1 ratio, it’s not inflexible. Consider Titus 1:5-6
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination
I think that the words in bold would be better translated ‘his children are faithful’. Meaning, ‘faithful to him’ and therefore not rebellious against his right authority. Hence, they’re not to be uncontrolled (debauched) or anti-authority (insubordinate).
In any case, it’s clear that Paul says: when appointing an elder, include a look at his relationship to his kids.
Is this an excuse to neglect other church people?
In other words, can I now use my ministry aim as a crafty excuse not to visit the new-comer, or to prepare well for Bible study?
May it never be!
To truly pass on the gospel of Jesus, I have to show that the kids are not ‘gods’, or idols. I need to show where they are in the world: created, God’s image, amongst many neighbours whom God loves, fallen, urged to repent, called to serve, etc.
Doing this makes it necessary to say, ‘I can’t read that book now, because I need to do regular preparation/respond to this urgent call.’ It makes it necessary to show what it is to be generous and give, to even bear a cost in following Jesus. It means I want to help the whole church grow in Christ, with them blessed by being part of it.
So, no, I don’t believe this ministry aim provides excuses for poor care for the church.