Pipes, Jerry & Lee, Victor. Family to Family. North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999.
Dr. Jerry Pipes the Team Leader of Spiritual Awakening and Mass Evangelism at the North American Mission Board and is President of Jerry Pipes Productions. Jerry served as part of the former Bush Administration’s President’s War on Drugs in the early 1990’s and has been speaking to groups of students and parents around the world for more than 30 years. Dr. Pipes authored several books relating to the issues of personal growth and the family. He has authored Becoming Complete, Family to Family, and Building a Successful Family. Dr. Pipes completed his B.S. at Texas A & M University, his M.A. at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his D. Min. at Luther Rice Seminary.
Victor Lee is the Minister of Single Adults & Evangelism at First Baptist Concord, Knoxville, TN. He is a veteran journalist and minister with a focus on discipleship, sports evangelism, singles ministry, purposeful family living, and evangelism strategy. A former newspaper reporter, Lee has written several hundred articles for Christian web sites and magazines.
Family to Family is a book about discovering God’s purpose for the family. The introduction points to seeing the link (p.3)between being on missions and passing you faith down to your children. This book helps families adjust everyday life so that they can fulfill the purpose found in God’s Word. The authors specify that this book is not a quick fix, rather it is a starting point to get the family focused/or back on track to discovering God’s plan for the family. Family to Family; Leaving a Lasting Legacy is divided into six chapters which I will briefly expound on. The great thing about this book is that the authors not only write about family, they provide application steps/questions at the end of each chapter.
In chapter one, Family to Family describes what a healthy family is. This chapter begins with an examination of what makes up an unhealthy family and provides insight on what makes a healthy family. We see that hurrying and rushing of our schedules is getting passed down to our children. The make-up of a healthy family has gotten skewed by trying to achieve the American Dream. Thus creating unhealthy families focused on the wrong thing. The authors give a definition of family as being, God’s original plan pointing to the union between a man and a woman being married and multiplying (p. 8). This original family structure is the conductor for Christianity. Deuteronomy chapter six points to the passing down of the law, words of God, to our children as we come and go being the outline for family discipleship.
In Chapter two the authors share the how to of developing a mission statement for the family. This chapter focuses on making Christ’s priorities the family’s priority (p. 25). Families need to have purpose, a stated goal, and mission; this can be achieved through a family mission statement. If a family treads through life without such a statement, goal or purpose, the family may end up headed in many different directions with no real tangible purpose or desired outcomes. The authors point to Christ’ example of commissioning/sending out with a purpose of making disciples. The family mission statement describes a lifestyle – one that is centered on God’s purpose and plan. The authors also provide insight on developing a family mission statement in a four-step process.
Passing the Baton is the title for chapter three. In this chapter the authors again point to Deuteronomy 6:4-7 as evidence for parents being the main disciple of children over the church. The authors help the reader learn how to present the Gospel message clearly and concisely, and gives five recommended scripture passages that should be included in any Gospel presentation. This section is helpful for knowing how to prepare parents to walk children through accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. The authors provide six principles to help parents effectively communicate the Gospel. The authors also provide seven elements to mentoring your children (p. 52) ranging from modeling following Christ, to, being transparent with your children allowing them to see that you are real and in the same boat.
In chapter four the authors focuses on being a family devoted to the Gospel sharing with the lost around us this includes outside of our homes. This makes for a great opportunity for a Christian family to live out their faith in full view of their friends, neighbors, and community. He then shares tips for family evangelism. The authors use Blackaby’s statement of finding out where God is and what He is doing and for families to join Him. Concentric Circles are used to show, not only the number of people around us, but the flow of sharing our faith with others. This serves as a reminder that there are opportunities for evangelism in every circle of a believer’s life. The authors go on to provided insight on how to evangelize the different peoples in our life.
In chapter five the authors focus on linking church and culture in our attempts as a family to do the work of the ministry. The following are suggestions from the authors on how to link church and family; block parties, mission trips and the Jesus video.
In the final chapter, chapter six, Out of the information that was provided by the authors I felt as though this chapter focuses on providing power to family mission. Prayer, is the power to our purposes. The author uses Richard Leach’s HEART model for praying for the lost people in our lives. H-for hearts to be receptive of the gospel, E-for spiritual eyes and ears to be opened, A-for attitude of sin to match God’s, R-for God to release the lost to believe, T-after trusting Christ, to live a transformed life (p. 105).
First, as a new pastor I believe that family ministry is the key to healthy and growing churches. I have been in youth ministry and have found that today’s culture has become a “drop-off” culture. Meaning families today are content to drop-off their children and allow day-care, school, church to teach their children instead of getting involved out of a fear of not knowing enough. Deuteronomy 6 gives us insight on God’s mandate to the family. I think the authors are point to the right path for families to disciple and model the Christian faith for their children. The mission statement/goals for the family is another focal point for me the authors are dead on when provided steps for families to create a purpose. My family has adopted The Great Commission and the Great Commandment as our purposes – A Family Committed to making disciples, loving God and loving People along the way. Again, as a pastor, this book provides a study guide/outline for a great resource for a lay ministry, corporate study and a sermon series on family discipleship/evangelism.