Families and Relational Networks in Discipling the Nations
Families and relational networks play a significant role in the movement of the Gospel, the expansion of the Kingdom of God and disciplining the nations.
In Mark 5:1, we are told that the disciples and Jesus crossed the lake to the region of the Gerasenes where they met a man in extreme need. Jesus cast out the demons that had bound him hounding him from family and friends and banishing him to the tombs. The man was set free. He was overjoyed and wanted very much to go with Jesus. But Jesus said to him, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you”(Mark 5:19).
Jesus models for us the priority of immediate family, friends, and relatives that he placed on this man. The New Testament has many incidences where we see the good news coming to an individual and his family. One primary example of this is of Cornelius, his relatives, and close friends as mentioned in Acts 10:24.
The common practice when I came to Christ was to remove a new convert from their family and relational networks to disciple them. Jesus models that it is best to do this in their own context, where they can reach their own family members, relatives, friends and work colleagues.
Could our desire to move a young believer out of these relational networks be the greatest hindrance to the Gospel moving in and through our families and relational networks?
As Navigators, we value discipling those God sends our way through the family and relational networks He has put us in. Our friends are well placed to share the Gospel with our family members and us with theirs. When we live out the Gospel in the context our families and relational networks, stories like that of Cornelius will become common.
Would you prayerfully consider adopting your family and its network of relationships as your first mission field?
– Chris Amulo