Friday, August 28, 2009

This Changes Everything

I've long been a fan of pastor/evangelist/apologist Voddie Baucham. Having heard him preach at several conferences has been a great blessing, and his ability to clearly communicate the truths of the gospel is extraordinary. For many, however, Baucham is a polarizing figure due to his support for family-integrated church ministry. Baucham is a firm believer that the modern church's methodology of breaking down people into age-divided groups (children's ministry, youth ministry) is unhelpful, counter-productive, and without biblical warrant. A couple years ago, I attended a seminar where he explained and argued for the family-integrated approach. My pastor and I came out of the seminar convinced and struck by what he had to say, but wondering how on earth such an approach could be implemented in our modern church culture. I quickly filed it away as a novel but impractical approach and that was that.

Fast forward a couple years. Seeking to find a book that Heather and I could read together as we sought to raise our daughter to know and love God, I picked up Baucham's Family Driven Faith. I can now say that the book has flipped our world upside down. Over the course of the book, Baucham makes the case that Scripture calls parents to be the primary disciplers of their children (which few Christians would dispute) and looks at how that principle affects life at home and how it should impact the ministry of the local church. As he makes the case that the family is the most fundamental, basic, and vital means of discipleship, the conclusion of the final two chapters comes with striking impact - if that is the case, then our modern way of organizing the church is about the most counter-productive way possible to achieve family unity and discipleship.

Hearing an seminar on the idea was one thing, but reading his case fleshed out in the context of the entirety of the Christian life was a game-changer for us. I've spent the past 4 years of my life as a youth pastor, and while I certainly wouldn't say the time was fruitless or wasted, I've begun to seriously reconsider what the most effective way is to reach our communities - both kids and adults - with the gospel message. I don't have the space here to fully flesh out Baucham's case (this article serves as a decent introduction), but I cannot recommend this book to you strongly enough. It has been the single most impactful book for my marriage, family, and minstry in years. Accept or reject them, Baucham's ideas are things that deserve to be considered and thought through. I'm incredibly glad we did.


Darius said...

I'm going to look up that book, sounds good. I've always had some discomfort with the way modern churches separate families.

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