This month the Geneva network will be taking a look at the ministries that undergird our church planting ministries – marriages and families.
It's hard to underestimate how important these are as areas for service, opportunities for personal growth and symbols for God reaching out to His fallen world. The family has been referred to as the minister's first congregation – church planter Chris Ekins is fond of saying he's building his church one kid at a time! Experienced pastors will tell you they're also the furnace for purifying all of the virtues we often preach about. In fact marriage is the context in which Paul encourages husbands to take on the true sacrificial character of Christ. And when God calls on Israel and the rest of humanity to repent, he does so in the guise of a husband and a father. It's no wonder the apostle puts a faithful family life at the centre of an overseer's qualifications to serve:
“He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:4,5)
Yes, it's hard to underestimate how important our marriages and families are as we seek to plant new works for God – but we still manage it…
The need to bring the good news to perishing Australians is so overwhelming that it can overwhelm our commitment to those God has given us to serve and witness to first. We can regularly presume on their patience because, after all, what we're doing is the Lord's work. But, of course, we achieve nothing for the Kingdom if we speak with the tongues of angels and lack the love that characterises the Gospel.
So this month Geneva Push will be doing it's best to remind us all of the privilege marriages and families represent, and provide us with tools designed to ensure we build relationships that last for eternity:
- Fresh from Refresh15, Scott and Kim Parry-Jones share new ways to strengthen your marriage by taking stock of the friendships you surround yourselves with, the partnership you've entered into and the level of intimacy you enjoy in Cultivating the We and Partners and lovers
- And they're back! The Parry-Jones' provide radio announcer Dwayne Jeffries with the foundations for Building marriages that last in a throw-away world
- Andrew and Cathie Heard share how they've managed to balance decades of marriage and ministry as The church planting couple
- Ray Galea gives some sobering advice in his talk How to avoid committing adultery
- Steve and Nicole Covetz, church planters in Port Macquarie NSW, share with couples at Refesh15 Eight principles they try and hold to as they lead their family and church.
- Christine Jensen, Archbishop's wife and mother of five, shares her Ten tips for going to church with your family
- Church planting wife Cathy Tucker shares the conscious decisions she and husband Craig made in How to help teens own their own faith
- And following up from Cathy's points, listen to her discuss that difficult period with Al Stewart and her own son Luke in The perils of PKs
There's something here for whatever stage of marriage or family you find yourself – especially if you're looking to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. Start by choosing one thing to help you further your first ministry and see the practical advice God brings to bear on your life.