Families Serving Together In Missions
One of the foundational values that YWAM recognizes is the value of the family. YWAM's commitment to the family is expressed in the document entitled, "Foundational Values of Youth With A Mission." Value number 15 in that document reads as follows:
"YWAM affirms the importance of families serving God together in missions, not just the father and/or mother. We encourage the development of strong and healthy family units, with each member sharing the call to missions and contributing their gifts in unique and complementary ways."
We recognize that entire families need to be mobilized to participate actively in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Matthew: 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
We affirm that the biblical model of family life is expressed through the Godhead. To answer the question, "What is a family?" we must first answer the question, "What is the nature and character of the God that created the family?"
The Bible begins with the following statement in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created…” God must be the starting point for us as we seek to gain understanding about marriage and family life. God created the first family, and Adam and Eve were created to reflect the nature and character of God. Their relationship was to be an earthly demonstration of the heavenly relationships in the Trinity. Therefore to understand God’s original design for the family we need to understand how the three persons in the Trinity relate to one another. Their relationship is the model for what God wants multiplied on the earth through human families.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (NIV)
We recognize there are timeless family values and principles that must not be attached or limited to a particular culture or historical time period.
God is calling us to raise up a standard for the family, to fight for the family and to restore the family to its biblical destiny. In order to fulfill this calling, however, we first need to have a clear understanding of what we are fighting for and what the biblical standard really is. Almost everyone agrees that the family is under attack these days and that families are breaking down at an alarming rate. There is a deep desire in the hearts of many people to restore broken families, but there is sometimes a lack of clarity as to what families should be restored to.
Some people want to restore the family back to the way it was in a previous historical period. They long for the “good old days” when family life was more stable and predictable. They think the answer lies in recapturing something that was lost from our past. God’s model of family life, however, is not attached to a previous time period in human history. His plan for the family is not restricted by time and is valid for all time, including the past, the present and the future.
Neither is His plan for the family attached to a certain culture. His Kingdom rises above culture. So when we talk of restoring the family, we are not seeking to elevate a particular cultural model. We do not want to create a Jewish model for the family, a Western model, an Eastern model an African model or a Chinese model. Instead we are seeking to restore a model that is an expression of the Kingdom of God and that is relevant in any culture.
All of us tend to look at marriage and family from the perspective of our own cultures and our own families. Our greatest challenge in family ministry is to break out of those perspectives to be able to look at family life from God’s perspective. We must look past our prejudices and our cultural perspectives in order to discover His original intention and design for the family. Each of us is vulnerable to interpret biblical teachings about marriage and family based on our own traditions and experiences. Traditions are good when they are biblically-based, but when they are contrary to biblical truth, they must be adjusted by the Word of God or else they become bondages and create distorted understandings about marriage and family life.
Psalm 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.” (NIV)
Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change.” NIV)
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV)
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)
We affirm the family as a primary place for discipleship, training, and character development.
Family is God’s idea and not man’s. God formed the first family when He created Adam and Eve and initiated the first marriage. Ever since the creation of Adam and Eve, families have played a key role in forming our values and our outlook on life. We develop our sense of identity from our family and life’s most basic questions are answered in our family. Questions such as, Who am I? Where did I come from? What am I doing here? Our family is also the place where we first experience loving relationships and it is the place where we learn to express love to others.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord or God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses an on your gates.” (NIV)
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (NIV)
Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen him, (Abraham) so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just…” (NIV)
We recognize the family as a major key to reaching a culture or people group.
We recognize that the strength of a nation is related to the integrity of the family.
The family is the cornerstone of a society. Strong families produce healthy societies. Weak families produce weak societies. Families form our values, teach us language, and help us define the various roles men and women have in a society. We learn from our families what it means to be a father, husband, wife, mother, son, daughter, bother and sister. The family prepares us to be a functioning member in the greater society around us. Thus, when family life breaks down in a culture, the entire culture is weakened.
Malachi 4:6 “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (NIV)
Acts 16:31 “They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved-you and your household.’” (NIV)
We affirm the family as a proving ground for ministry and church leadership.
Families play a critical role in the life of the church. Strong families produce strong churches. Weak families produce weak churches. The family is a place for leadership development as I Timothy 3:5 tells us, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” Good leadership begins in the home. If we can’t lead our own children and care for our spouses, we have little hope of being a successful leader in the church.
The husband/wife relationship is portrayed in Ephesians chapter 5 as a picture of Christ’s relationship with the Church. A husband’s love for his wife is to be an example of how Christ loves and cares for the church. A wife’s respect for her husband is to be an example of how the church respects and responds to the Lord. So, as we can see, marriage and family play a key role in God’s plan for the church and for the nations of the world.
I Timothy 3: 4 “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” (NIV)
We affirm the biblical ideal of marriage being a life-long covenant between a man and a woman.
God originally never intended any marriage to break up. He never wanted any child to go through the trauma and pain of seeing his or her parents divorce one another. His heart is broken and grieved when people divorce each other. Divorce is contrary to the original design of the Creator. The marriage union was intended to be an irrevocable union. It cannot be broken without serious and damaging consequences. When couples go their separate ways, they never fully recover what they put into their marriage. They leave part of themselves with their partner and they take part of their partner with them.
Broken marriages and families are the consequences of living in a fallen world. Couples and families going through this painful and destructive process need all the love and assistance that the Church can give them. They are experiencing the death of a relationship that God originally designed to last for the life of the individuals involved.
Genesis. 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (NIV)
Matthew 19:4-6 “Haven’t you read” he (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one, Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (NIV)