Family to Family by Pipes and Lee is a book that explores God’s intended purpose for the family. The authors’ main intention in this book is to help families make decisions that would help them fulfill this purpose. Though short, Family to Family is broken into six effective chapters with each chapter addressing crucial topics concerning family evangelism. The authors begin chapter one by exposing the unhealthy lifestyle lived by most American families and use statistics to prove the point. In part, the statistics point out that only 34% of families in America eat at least one meal together daily while 12% of families find time to pray together. According to Pipes and Lee, lifestyle is not healthy for Christian families. The authors devoted their book to help American families realize the importance of overall spiritual health.
First, the authors admonish each family to develop a mission statement to “serve as a centerline and guardrails to the family on the road through life”. They then proceed to discuss how parents can teach their own children for Christ. According to Pipe and Lee, winning children to Christ and mentoring them is a responsibility that parents must not leave to the church alone; rather, parents should take it. The authors suggest that the family should organize itself and reach out with God’s word to people around them. How families can reach out to the lost may include but are not limited to ministry evangelism and servant evangelism. This book is also useful when it comes to the ways the church can partner with families to evangelize to the neighborhoods and win souls for Christ. The authors conclude the book in chapter six by capturing the basics of evangelism including knowing how to evangelize to the lost, recognizing the Holy Spirit’s role in evangelism, and understanding the importance of prayer.
Pipes and Lee expose a worrying trend of Christian children falling away from faith following their parents’ failure to reach out to them. I agree with the authors, more so in their assertion that parents should take the responsibility of reaching out to their children. Paul seems to underscore the importance of such responsibilities while acknowledging the role of Timothy’s grandmother and mother in the young man’s life (2 Timothy 1:5). He further urges Timothy to pay attention to all scriptures that he has known from childhood (2 Timothy 3:15-16). Currently, my church organizes outreach programs every month, and on the last occasion, we were ministering in the neighborhood. In one of the homesteads I visited, I met a boy in his last year at high school. During ministration, I realized that he was the son of an Assistant pastor in one of the local churches. However, to the question of whether he had received Christ, he replied that he had been “going to church from birth” given that he “was born in a Christian family”. His parents could have assumed that the boy will automatically receive salvation because they ensure that he goes to church every Sunday. However, it is necessary to note that children born in Christian and non-Christian families need to be ministered to alike with regards to receiving Jesus Christ. Something which struck my mind was the fact that the father, being a pastor, could have led so many children to Christ while his own son was only going to church as a family routine. Although it is important to have children adopt the family culture, it must be done to help them relate with Christ on an individual basis and build their faith.
Family to Family has lessons that are very relevant and applicable to fathers, mothers, and even children. In essence, the information found herein is important in reviving families as well as personal lives. Nevertheless, Pipes and Lee fail to prove the relevance of this book to different kinds of family set-ups about spiritual matters. In some families, for instance, children may come to know Christ before their parents do; even in such situations, the need to have the family become spiritually healthy persists. Conversely, the role of navigating the family to attain a healthy state becomes the role of the child or children who have accepted Christ but not the parents. Although Family to Family offers ideas that can help such children reach out to their parents and the entire family, the directions are not very clear. Family to Family tends to be parents-centered, father-centered to be specific. Unmarried men and women may, for example, be tempted to skip the first chapters which are devoted to reviving Christian families, and pay attention to the more general information. Otherwise, this book is relevant for both the married and unmarried, the young and the old. It helps them realize the importance of healthy Christian families.
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Reading Family to Family has enabled me to develop a three-step action plan that would help my family become spiritually healthy and utilize any available opportunity to live our faith in full view of our neighbors, friends, and the community. This book has actually given me additional insight into the need of spending quality and quantity time as a family. Although I have grown up in a God-fearing family, it appears that the family of five (my parents, my younger brother, my sister, and I) is not spending quality and quantity time together. I have decided to review how I spend my time and try to influence my family to spend more time together, more so by reviving our family devotion time. Occasionally, we come together as a family for devotion just before we retire to bed. However, the family’s commitment towards this important occasion has ever been dwindling. Sometimes we fail to pray together only because the family or part of us are watching a favorite program. However, I do understand that this may not be an easy task given that the rest of the family members are yet to read Family to Family. Thus, it remains my duty to explain the need to serve God together as a family.
Three weeks ago, I resolved to reach out to the lost through servant evangelism. However, reading Family to Family has challenged me to take this initiative more seriously by involving the whole family in this program. In the first instance, I ministered to Mr. And Mrs. Francis after helping them with lawn mowing. The family did not receive Christ then but did so when they attended our local church service last Sunday. Nevertheless, the job is still great as they are young in salvation and have several challenges at home. Their two sons have resorted to alcoholism, and the family is going through much financial strain. On sharing this with the members of my family, they showed much willingness to join in showing love to Francis’ family. My sister has agreed to join me on the follow-up visit that is set for next Saturday. She will probably assist Mrs. Francis with household chores as I perform the lawn mowing. Our family has decided to help the couple to grow in faith and overcome all challenges to become spiritually healthy. As we trust God for an opportunity to evangelize to Mr. Francis’s sons, it is also clear that they need some counseling. However, I am glad my parents have agreed to pay for any expense that may be incurred in the process. I do believe this is an indication that we will be able to partner as a family to reach out to more people.
Family evangelism is not very easy, and we may not be able to attain much only by reaching out to the lost. Family to Family has enabled me to understand the importance of prayer in evangelism. Coupled with the authors’ assertion that the church should partner with families in reaching out to the lost, I have decided to join the church intercessory team that meets regularly to pray for the evangelism program among other activities that the church is involved in. During these sessions, the team has been praying that God will give constituent families within the church the burden to reach out to the lost. Moreover, the team has been praying for stability in various families as this is crucial to the spiritual growth of the church. As noted earlier, I normally attend outreach programs organized by the church. However, my parents and other siblings have not embraced the same. I trust that they will value the programs and join our church in this noble undertaking.
Family to Family is indeed a great book that teaches Christians how they can pass a worthwhile legacy to their children and the coming generations. Although it was written more than a decade ago, this book has never been as relevant to Christian families as it is today when most of these families are unhealthy because parents devote much of their time to their jobs and businesses. Parents who take the content of this book seriously would realize that it is not appropriate to let their children be mentored by churches, schools, television programs without their input.