|With Sally Clarkson at the morning tea. Can you tell I was happy?|
I had the privilege of attending a Mom Heart Conference in Irving, TX this past weekend. Mom Heart is part of Whole Heart Ministries, an organization run by the incredibly gifted Sally and Clay Clarkson and their family.
This was the fourth conference I have attended put on by Whole Heart Ministries, and it was just as inspiring as all the rest, if not more so. My mind and heart were overflowing as I left, and my rekindled passion for my life as a mother continues to feel strong and fresh today. I do encourage you to attend a Mom Heart conference if ever you are able.
For the past few days I have pondered how on earth I could possibly distill such a rich two days into one blog post. I have given up! You will be seeing quite a few posts from me that are the fruit of new ideas kindled or old ideas fanned into flame this past weekend.
Today I want to talk about discipleship. One of the things that I took away from the conference was the desire for a family ministry. Because we homeschool we are blessed to be able to cultivate the relationships within our family intensively each day. Yet even in a homeschool setting it is easy for each of us to be going our separate ways.
I have watched the Clarksons over the years, and how they have involved their children in their ministry. The children do a lot of the back-end work and each of the Clarkson children in attendance is expected to stand up and share something. Often they speak, sometimes they perform music. I strongly believe that part of the reason their family bond is so strong is the fact that Whole Heart Ministries is not just Sally and Clay's vision, it is a family vision. Most of their children are now adults, and yet they still continue to attend, to help and to enjoy one another.
Sally talked about how Jesus ministered intensively to his disciples, and how the disciples in turn went out into the world and ministered. Think about it... Jesus didn't sit down and write the gospels while He was on earth in bodily form. It is because of His disciples and people to whom they witnessed and ministered that we have the New Testament. And it is because of their faithfulness in writing that countless people over millennia have come to know Jesus Christ. This practice of disciples making disciples is God's good design!
Isn't this just what we as parents are called to? We minister to our children, to teach and strengthen them to go forth and minister to others. In the season of life with young ones under our roofs it really is the most pressing ministry we have!
There are many aspects to the how-to's of this, of course, but the one that is most on my heart right now is a family vision, a family ministry. What is our family's message to the world, and how can we live and share it together? There is so much need, and we have hearts for service... how much better for it to be service together!
I fervently believe that this will greatly equip our children to be warriors in a dark world. I don't believe God calls Christians to hide away from the world, but rather to be light-bearers... hope-bringers to hurting people.
Now, to be clear, there is a time for everything. Our littlest ones need shelter. Like chicks under a mama hen's wing they need nurturing and peace to grow strong foundations. But as they grow, it is our privilege and responsibility to prepare them for service in this world and increasingly expose them to it.
Sally reminded us that our youth are called to be as Daniel in Babylon. That they are in the world with a purpose and a calling. They are to influence the world, not be influenced by the world.
Does it sound scary? Are you afraid to allow your teen into the world? I completely understand; I struggle myself. A mother's tender heart wants to protect her child. Yet as Sally reminded us, if you only try to do what you can do yourself, you are living in works. Live by faith, not by fear!
The fact is, you can't protect your children from the evil in the world. So equip them! How much better it will be for them to face worldly challenges with your loving guidance as they grow, than to be sheltered until adulthood and thrust out into the world unprepared.
The Clarkson's youngest daughter, Joy, who is almost 16, shared a beautiful song she had written, as well as this message: Trust your teen.
Our children will face struggles and suffering no matter what. Deepening our relationships with them and speaking truth and hope into their lives is the model Jesus gave us for making disciples.
Through openness and humility with my children I seek to grow a relationship built on love and trust. I want them to know that for the rest of their lives, they can turn to me for love and encouragement. I want to always point them toward Jesus. Not only when they are small and think that I am the Queen of Everything (oh how I love those days!) but also when they are towering over me and struggling with the world.
I am not sure where God will lead us as we seek Him for a family vision and ministry. But I believe it will be an amazing journey. As Sally said, "God is only limited by our faith."
Do you have a family vision or ministry? I would love to hear how your family seeks to be Daniels in Babylon!