Many things come to mind with the word surrender. Jesus and one of His most effective laborers, the apostle Paul, placed a noticeable emphasis on the surrender of both children and the family. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,” Jesus demands, and then he makes a declaration that undoubtedly shocked those around him, “for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:14). Surely this statement shocked the disciples when they heard it. They had been living with Jesus for months, hanging on every living word that came from His mouth. How can these little children be as qualified as them? Simple surrender. The disciples were qualified the moment they made up their minds to step out of the boat, and the children were eligible the moment they began to approach Jesus.
Later on in Scripture, when Paul is explaining qualifications for the Elders, he places a clear emphasis on the nuclear family. Paul demands that elders “manage their children and their own households well” (1 Timothy 3:12). Why was this so important? Because they would be more effective as a cohesive unit. For an Elder of the Church, ensuring that your family had a healthy spiritual life was an expected responsibility within Paul’s command. The Elder may have held a high-ranking position, but if the he ceased to nurture and encourage the spiritual atmosphere of his family, a culture of spiritual indifference would spread infectiously throughout the Church body. Juxtaposition of these two passages in scripture reveals a mutual worthiness of both parents and their children to receive and spread the gospel.
When Jesus said “the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these”, he meant that the mysteries of Christ are approachable to people of all ages, even the young. If, then, we are not laboring to equip and raise up future generations we are, so to speak, presenting a kind of hindrance to the gospel. The laborers are few, so why not take advantage of the ripe and willing minds God has given to us within our own household? We must apply the Paul’s charge to familial responsibility with the same amount of attention we would devote on the front lines of the mission field. Paul, in Romans 10:13-15, says that “’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”. Although Paul’s audience was the persecuted church in Rome and his intended purpose was to mobilize this church body, the lesson is nonetheless applicable in family mobilization as well.
If children are eligible to receive the mysteries of the Kingdom of God and therefore are also seen in the eyes of the Lord as beautiful and capable communicators of the gospel, there is then a God-given responsibility placed on the parents to nurture, mobilize, and therefore multiply this potential so that their children will do the same in their families, and so forth. The urgency in making disciples of your children then begins to take on its intended weight.
Take Derrick, for example, a native to Zambia and a trainer with Weave. Upon being exposed to Weave’s Big Story Training in 2015, Derrick went home and shared what he had learned with his wife. They were then able to go and train twenty others in Zambia, and those twenty others were then equipped to go and multiply exponentially within their families. “I feel like we’ve got the potential to be a Christian nation, we’ve got the potential to mobilize the church, to mobilize leaders, children, and family… There’s such a need for people to go out… so that the unreached may be advantaged to hear the word of God.” Derrick realizes that it is essential for believers in Africa, young and old, to be strategically encouraged into complete surrender to Jesus so that He will be known to those around them that are unreached. Derrick’s exposure to Weave and the Big Story Training equipped him with the tools to mobilize his family, and therefore the knowledge to mobilize not just his future children, but other families as well so that the gospel might be both known and proclaimed by the generations to come.