Missions Begins at Home

Generational faithfulness is vital to the growth of the church.

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4 ESV) 

The Lord will build his church (Matthew 16:18), and no human or demonic opposition can thwart that work. The assured success, however, does not excuse us from our responsibility to faithfully engage in the task that God has assigned us. On the contrary, it means we should be all the more diligent in that pursuit, knowing that the result of our labors will be glorious. God ordinarily works through his people to accomplish his ends. 

In Psalm 145:3, David identifies the way in which the preservation and advancement of the church often takes place: through communicating the works of the Lord from one generation to another. This does not exclusively apply to parents training their children, but that is a significant aspect of what David has in view. Joseph Engles, in his preface to The Catechism for Young Children, provides a weighty, yet hopeful challenge in this regard. 

You have an awfully responsible office in being entrusted with the training of immortal souls for the service of God on earth and for glory in heaven. The temporal welfare and eternal salvation, not only for your own children, but of future generations, may depend on your faithfulness in the discharge of this duty. The prosperity, and even the continuance of the church of God on earth are connected with the religious education of the rising generation. 

Missions is about church planting, and one primary means of church planting is through the family, as David described in this psalm. While there will always be first-generation converts from outside the people of God who are incorporated into the body (e.g. Rahab and Ruth), and we are commanded to carry the good news of salvation both locally and globally, the first mission field is always one’s own home. The family is a mission field which carries a particular command and blessing from the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:20-25). 

Evangelizing your children is rarely glorious. It is exhausting, frustrating, and often yields little observable fruit when the children are young, but God promises that there is virtually nothing we can do in his service that is more significant. A generation of unfaithfulness can yield catastrophic consequences for the health and witness of the body of Christ. 

Worshipping, praising, and following God should be visible aspects of a Christian family’s identity. In our world, family identity manifests itself in many ways. Some proudly show where their family allegiance lies with a newborn-sized sports jersey, or through great-grandmother’s recipes that unify the family on holidays. Maybe you are a Toyota family or a Ford family. Maybe you identify your family bloodline by the colors of your alma mater. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these, above all, your family line should bear the mark of the cross. 

There is no greater blessing than faithfully telling the next generation about the wondrous works of the Lord, and no greater danger than abdicating that responsibility. If there is one thing your children or grandchildren remember you for, let it be that you told them about Jesus Christ and made him beautiful to them. As we have received the gospel from those who came before us, let us faithfully carry the torch of the gospel to those who come after us, that the name of Christ may be exalted in our homes, our local churches, and among the nations. 

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, 
You promise to bless families who faithfully commend your works to the next generation. May we not condemn future generations of your people to reap the consequences of our failure to do so. May your name be praised in our homes and churches as you build your church around the world. 
In your Son’s name and for his sake, amen. 

Prayer Requests: 

  • Pray that your life will be transformed by the gospel in a way that is evident to future generations, and ask God to help you be faithful in evangelizing the next generation of your own family. 
  • Pray for encouragement and wisdom for parents who are burdened by the unbelief of their children. 
  • Pray for the Choose Life Center in Ukraine as they assist families in crisis, many of whom have been displaced by ongoing war, through gospel-centered pregnancy counseling and training in parenting and marriage.