Two weeks ago, Jen and I baptized Ethan and Olivia.
I think the devil attacks the church by deceiving people toward modeling ministry in ways that value “ministry” over family. In God’s order, they are never in competition.
Five years ago, I was staying with my kids in a rented dormitory. I was starting my first Student CPx training school to equip student church planters. Months of preparation had led to this key moment – I was equipping the first generation of student church planters.
On the third day, my kids kept interrupting one of the meetings. They weren’t being disrespectful. They were just being kids. At first I was frustrated.
“Shouldn’t we have child care?”
“Erik, you are the child care.”
“But I’m teaching here.”
“Exactly. That’s the point. What you model is what you really teach.”
A decision I made that day would change my ministry.
Whatever I needed to change, I decided I would try to teach through modeling as much as (or more than) I taught by presenting information.
I began including my children in ministry any way I could. Sometimes this meant six week road trips in the minivan – all six of us together traveling to be with students and friends in different regions of the U.S. Sometimes this looked like me taking one or two of my kids with me on trips. Jen and I didn’t always do this perfectly. There were certainly times I needed to do things without my kids. But including our children as much as possible became a value that changed my life.
I noticed something “shifted” in our ministry. Whenever I prioritized being a father, the nature of the church planting movements I started shifted toward having a spirit of family. Rather than presenting disciple making and church growth as a “power pursuit” or mechanistic implementation of principles, these kingdom pursuits became simply a way to grow spiritual families who love Jesus, love each other, and love those who aren’t yet part of God’s family.
Our family was stronger and the churches we planted were healthier.
Since that time, Jen and I have made investments toward including our children whenever possible in the work of planting churches, traveling, and equipping new movements. The joy and the reward of these investments are priceless. Somehow, God always provides the means. My work was usually more effective and fulfilling when my kids were involved.
This Sunday, Ethan (my oldest son) and I will be leaving for Europe. We’ll spend ten days in Norway and Scotland.
I’m looking forward to meaningful time in Norway with Sam and Hanne Lovell, a precious couple that I mentor. They are doing an incredible work at the University of Stavanger.
They are seeing Muslims encounter the love and mercy of Jesus, atheists coming to faith in Christ, baptizing students, and forming simple church communities. Here are some recent pictures of some of their baptisms:
After a few days with them, I will be leading at the Stammefeiring conference, a gathering of various networks of house churches who are making disciples throughout Norway.
After Norway, Ethan and I will spend a day in Edinburgh, Scotland. We’ll deepen relationships with a group who are planning Student CPX for universities in Scotland. I hope for Edinburgh to become a SCPX Hub in the next few years. (A Hub is a place where simple churches on campuses become networks of churches that multiply throughout a region beyond college campuses.)
- For powerful father/son time on this trip
- For Ethan to have special encounters with God through this experience
- For protection over Jen and the kids while we’re away
- For powerful Holy Spirit impartation to those we are working with in Europe
- Pray for our upcoming move. We will be relocating this summer. We are searching for the right geographical placement for our family to base.
- Please pray for my wrists – I’ve been doing a good deal of writing over the last year, publishing Disciple and working on a second book. I have been having complications with my wrists as a result.
What “investments” can you make in relationships that are most important to you?
Pursuing movements of the gospel on and beyond every university in the world,
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