“Be fruitful and multiply” was God’s command to Adam and Eve in the beginning and is still God’s command today. It was a command to reproduce others like themselves, who would reflect the image of God in the world. What is true of the physical reproduction of children being like their parents is true when we think of God’s mission for us as followers of Christ.
It is fulfilled ultimately in the church, when Jesus commissions the church: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go make disciples of all nations (people groups), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20.
We are to be reproducing new followers of Christ. “As you go, make disciples…” The Holy Spirit working through us, our families, and our church by the Word of God will beget new believers. These new babes in Christ will need a family that will nourish them, feed them, encourage, instruct and discipline so they grow up to be like our Heavenly Father. Just as children imitate their earthly parents, so will new babes in Christ imitate us. If they follow us, they should look more like Christ. Paul said the same thing, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
What is true in the physical realm of having babies and helping them grow is true of our mission as a church body to reproduce new believers.
Our fifth core value is all about this mission. God has given us new life. We are new creatures in Christ. In other words, we have been reborn into life and not death. We are reborn in peace and not condemnation. Even the phrases to describe one on this process are growing from “spiritual babes” to “maturity,” or “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor. 13:11).
And with this grace that we have been given, this new life, we are to reproduce life.
What does this look like?
- Teach your children the gospel over and over again. I have a resource that I like to give families of children is called “Helping Children to Understand the Gospel” from Children Desiring God. Your first mission is your own child. Model Christlikeness, and forgiveness, and repentance, and dependence on Christ.
- Lead your family to be witnesses wherever you go. You don’t have to go out of your way. As you go about your daily life and routines from school to the ball field to music lessons to the grocery store, ask God to give you opportunity to be salt and light. Be intentional. Let your children see you share the gospel. Teach them by your words and example to always look for ways to expose the gospel to people.
- Let your children invite their friends to come with them to church. Children love to introduce their friends at church. I cannot think of a time when a child didn’t come to me as soon as they arrived to introduce their friend. They are so excited! Use a child’s natural child-likeness to be missions minded.
- Pray for the lost with your family. Name names to God in front of your children. Let them tell you about their friends at school, and pray for their salvation. And pray for their families. Let it hit home that there are so many people who need the saving grace of Christ.
- Pray for the lost around the world. Operation World and Joshua Project are great resources that can be used on a regular basis to look and learn about people groups in the world who have little to no witness of the gospel.
- Pray for missionaries by name. Talk about what they do and why they do. Contact them through email or set up a video chat with them. Your children will love it, but it will also be a huge encouragement to those on the field. It can get very lonely on the field.
Through the Church:
- Invite families to church with you. I guarantee you they will hear the gospel through BFG’s, kids worship, student bible study, Awana. These events are geared to reach children and students.
- We have open gym night on Thursday nights. We are have 30-35 students from the neighborhood coming on a consistent basis. This is an opportunity for you to be involved, build relationships, and share Christ. We have some who will sit in our Wednesday night service so they will be able to play afterwards.
- When we meet together, let’s make sure our prayer requests are peppered with our needs but the needs of the lost and prayers for boldness and passion poured on.
- Be involved in ongoing mission partnerships in our city and county. We are engaging two elementary schools, Desoto Grace, Heartland Hands, YMOT, and many others. Many of these mission opportunities do not take a lot of your time, but it does mean putting it on your schedule. We as a church must be involved in our city and county, neighborhoods, meeting both physical and spiritual needs. God has called us to be salt and light.
- Be involved in international missions. We have ongoing partnerships in India, Honduras, Canada, and England. Save up and go on a mission trip. Take as many of your family as you can. I believe everyone should go. If you are not able, then support those who do through your prayers and finances.
- Encourage one another to share Christ. Share your stories of times you have shared the gospel. The Fishing Team that developed out of the Way of the Master class emails each other of times they have shared Christ, and it is so encouraging to read. It really provokes you to share more!
These lists are obviously not exhaustive. The point is this: we are to be fruitful and multiply through the sharing of the gospel. God chooses to work through you and me to bring about the salvation of all people groups. We must continually look outward, and ask ourselves, “How can we get the gospel to them?”
Paul says to us: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)
We are children and student ministry that is sent to reach families; we are a church sent to reach people of all groups. You and I are sent.
What is one thing you will do to grow in your sending and reaching?