Spiritual Family…

This is a phrase that is becoming more popular among evangelicals in America. It is something that we, as individuals, and as an organization have been fascinated with and explored for a couple of years now. How do we promote the DNA of healthy disciple-making/church planting movements while fostering a sense of strong spiritual family? For the first couple of years we fell to an extreme side that neglected seeing healthy “spiritual families” fostered while attempting to see new churches multiplied – this is simply not possible. We are now moving into a season where our language is changing, and taking on more of a “familial” feel & practice…

Anymore, we try to focus much more on the well-being of the individual disciple, & health of the “spiritual family” that disciple is a part of (or has birthed) than we do “how many new churches have been planted”/how “sustainable” this or that “church” is. Families are made up of both genders, and reproduce quite naturally. It has been in God’s plan from day one in the garden. We now view “churches” more like families in our own lives, and in how we equip & release lay-people to live out their faith. It is only natural for an existing family to send out it’s kids to start new families. If a new family is birthed and remains healthy it will contain a culture that empowers and releases the “family members” to birth new families. They are sent out to start new communities of faith! Of course, the relationships with the extended family are still there, and have frequent “family reunions”! The key is that the new family is no longer dependent upon their “parents” anymore. This is a good thing. This SHOULD happen. Any “spiritual family” (church) that is not birthing new “families” (churches) must examine itself to see what has grown unhealthy in their DNA.

We have learned a lot about Spiritual Family from our friends, The Orme’s, in San Diego. Brian, and his family are who we partnered with this past summer to host Student CPx in SD. They equip students at UCSD to make disciples and start new simple churches on campus. At the same time, they place a HUGE value on healthy “Spiritual Family”. Check out the below video they recently posted about how they view this type of family in San Diego…

What are you learning about “Spiritual Family” in your current context? How important do you feel it is? Is it necessary to foster this sense of family in the context of Church Planting and “movements”?

3 thoughts on “Spiritual Family…

  1. Thanks Aaron and Amen! Spiritual family is a NT way of looking at church too! I have found it really helpful in shifting my own paradigms to allow for grassroots “ecclesiogenesis”.

    Very relevant to ideas of “sustainability” for micro-churches. After all who would look at a family of five people and say “That’s just not sustainable. If one of you leaves you’ll be down to four!” ??

    Relevant also to patterns of group life. A family doesn’t think in terms of formal meetings, but it might well be concerned with how often the family eats together, or whether the father gets to play sport with the boys, or how the kids are getting on with their friends.

    There’s a bit in my book BE THOU MY BREASTPLATE which talks about the ‘work’ of family. “Surely the work of a family is to make its members secure with a feeling of acceptance and belonging – the experience the Apostle Paul describes as ‘being rooted and grounded in love’. It is to give its members both a warm shelter from the world and the courage to enter and engage with the world…to enable each one to grow…so that each member is also prepared and ready to take responsibility for the jobs of work that life in this world requires.”

    In a family there is a belonging together that transcends age, location, occupation, and temperament. God chooses us for each other to love another, stretch each other and knock the corners off each other. You could go for ages on the amazing truths in this metaphor. But then it’s more than a metaphor isn’t it!

    Check out Molong Nacua’s blog – you can find it via my website http://www.paulwallis.net if you click on the “Barkadas for Jesus” tab, and you’ll find a pattern of mission in Cebu, the Philippines, entirely modelled on family. Wonderful!

    • Woah! Paul this is SO good. I had a hunch that you had a few thoughts/ideas around this idea of “spiritual family” =) I did check out Molong’s blog last week and loved it. I would love to meet him sometime and see what God is doing there in the Philippines. Hope the Wallis’s down under are doing well!

  2. Pingback: Food For Thought: Thirty Days To Greater Fruitfulness Week 2 « Pursuing Glory

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