Family to Family is a book written by the author Dr. Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee. Dr. Pipes is a leader with the North American Mission Board. He travels around the world speaking to audiences through various conferences and workshops, training and equipping many in how to change lives for Christ. He is an accomplished author, husband and father. Victor Lee is from Knoxville, Tennessee. He attends the First Baptist Concord Church, where he serves as the Young Adults Minister. For over twenty-two years he has become an accomplished author of several books, and an editor of a variety of Christian publications. He acts as a Sports Evangelism Consultant for the North American Mission Board. Victor Lee is an accomplished, author, husband and father. The book starts out by stating very clearly that, “This book was written for families who desire to have meaningful family time, true significance and desire to pass on the legacy of their faith in Christ on to their children.”1 This book by Pipes and Lee was written to help the family with tools and resources to find their God given purpose.
It is designed to inspire parents to grow Christ centered families through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Throughout the first few chapters Pipes and Lee provide the readers with engaging questions, and activities to transform and grow the family. The author help parent to find and understand their mission given by God as parents. Through the use of scriptures and many great stories the authors help to foster changes within the lives of today’s busy families. Pipe and Lee demonstrate through this book that as Christian parent, their mission and their responsibility is to witness or disciple to their children to Jesus Christ and to teach or demonstrate for them how to live out a Christ centered lifestyle.
The authors concluding chapters teach the readers about ministry evangelism through witnessing to their neighbors, community and friends. “Healthy families spend quantity and quality time around God’s purposes. If we truly want to our children to except the gospel, then our commitment to Christ should spill over to those around us who do not know Christ.”2 The authors point out that we as parent have o be willing to intentionally share the gospel with others. Piper and Lee conclude the book with stressing the importance of daily prayer in our lives in our quest to follow Christ.
This book reminded me of how my parents have and continued to walk talk and demonstrate Jesus Christ in my life. Just as it is stated in the Bible in the book of Joshua 24:15, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”3 My mother made it a mission to have us learn about Jesus Christ. She may not have called it a mission by title but, it was important for her and my father to equip us as their children and a Saints of God. This was their goal. At a point in my life when I wanted to except Christ I and remember my mother sitting down with me just as the author outlines in chapter three: Passing the Baton. She asked me some specific questions to be reassured that I was ready to except Christ for myself. I can remember her talking about how God loves me so much, and Jesus God’s son, who He was and how Jesus died for me. Yet as I cried from hearing about Jesus dying on the cross for me and everyone else she and my father comforted me.
The best part of her story to me was that the story didn’t end when He died, and as I lit up again, she shared how Jesus Christ rose again on the third day. I can remember desperately wanting to make sure I carried Jesus with me in my heart daily. I can only imagine the joy my parents felt for me that day. This same process was done with each of my siblings as we accepted Christ. Our family intentionally devoted time to spend with Jesus Christ. We prayed together, shared our testimonies with each other and others. We shared our trials and our praise reports. As our parents went out witnessing, we went along, learned and participated as well.
We were taught to pray for others and for the lost. My husband and I have incorporated these same principles in our household. I too know and have felt that same joy my parents felt with each of our six children. Pipes and Lee said it best, “That is what this book is about: raising your family to follow Christ.”4 This is what the Word of God tells us as believers as well, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”5
Although I truly enjoyed reading Family to Family by authors Pipes and Lee, I find that this book was really focused on those parents who already know and have a relationship with Jesus Christ and want or need to build a better Christ centered family life. In reading this book I feel that today, there are so many non-believers who could benefit from the teaching principles in this book. We are all so busy these days. We are like ships passing in the wind, always coming and going. We as parents have to be willing to stop and stand for something within our families. Otherwise what are we really passing on to our children and their children? We must be mission driven within our families just as we are in the business world. The authors Pipes and Lee do a great job in pointing this fact out. I would have liked to see more information to help the reader the parent and future parents to understand the why this is important.
The authors might have used more relevant or popular facts pertaining to society today. They could have used statistical examples of grandparents raising their grandchildren. More importantly, I would have like to see more information at the beginning of the book to ensure that the parents understand their relationship with Christ and the direct affect in relation to their children. After all this is where this process begins. As a parent my relationship and my walk with Christ must be in tact in order to lead my children and others to Christ. This book is clearly written for those who desire to pass on the legacy of Christianity in their family.
I see this book as a great workbook for our church families. After concluding my reading of this book, I decided to meet with my Pastor again. We had discussed in our last session incorporating intentional evangelism as part of our new membership class. We decided to not only share the book but actually take our new families through the process of understanding God plan for the family. First we explained God’s plan for parents through reading and studying of scripture. We used Proverbs 22:6 as a basis for this class, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”6 The authors remind us that, “We are to structure our families in a healthy fashion—a fashion prescribed by God—and applying its proper significance—the significance applied to it by God.”7 This would help each family do an examination of their family. Second, after determining or defining where each family sees themselves, we would start by teaching what a healthy family is according to God’s word, found in Deuteronomy chapter six. The family is a social unit of our society, charged with the purpose of carrying God’s word and His message of love for one another.
We would have some discussion over some key questions that should cause each member to reflect on their situation: 1) Do we spend quality time together? 2) Are we committed to each other as well as te whole family? 3) Does the mom and dad share in the involvement and raising of the children? 4) Does each family member understand their significance in Christ? 5) Are the parents actively working the gospel to share the gospel with the children? 6) Is the healthy time spent together centered on God’s purposes? These questions will help to assess where a family currently resides in relation to being a healthy family. Third, would be to do a family application study. Here the class would have each of the family members write down all of their activities for a week. Then, allow the parents and the children to analyze the number of activities that they do as a family and try to eliminate at least one activity that is done individually from each family member’s list. As extra time becomes available find another family activity to be done together. Fourth, we would have the families develop a mission statement to include things like; who the family is and what they stand for.
Each mission statement should include the family’s purpose, their goals, and their mission in life as a family according to God’s word. We would stress the importance of every member of the family supporting this family mission. The next step would be to equip the parents to share the gospel with their children. Teaching the parents to evangelize at home first is an assured start to build a comfort level for evangelizing to others. We all desire for our loved one to be saved. Parents would be taught to ask the specific questions to ensure their children are ready to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Sixth study for the class would be to share how parents can mentor their children. Mentoring is key to building spiritual maturity in our children. They would study different types of mentoring they should perform; i.e. modeling, being accessible, provide affirmation of their children’s awards and accomplishments, pray with children as well as pray for them, being transparent, empowering children, and making God’s word the center to all that is done.
The family will then do an activity together of making bracelets. The bracelets can be a reflection of their love for God and can also be a means of evangelizing to others as they see the bracelets and ask about them. Lastly, this class would engage the family to be a part of the churches out reach/evangelism ministry, where they go out two Saturdays of the month as a family and church family and meet the needs of other and evangelism to those who are lost. The parents could allow the children to pray and witness to others with them. What better way to leave a legacy than by teaching, mentoring, encouraging and praying for our families as well as the families of others. What this will accomplish is creating an avenue for our church families to find true significance in our lives and the lives of our children.
1. Fay, William. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: B and H Publishing Group, 1999 2. The Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright – 2011