My husband asked me to guest blog for him this week. I asked him why and he told me that he wanted a woman’s perspective of the Independent Baptist movement. Since I grew up in this movement, and have been in the ministry my whole life (my dad was a pastor) then I guess I am qualified to give a woman’s perspective. Much of my thoughts have been in my head for many years, but as my children are getting older my thoughts have become much more serious to me. What am I teaching my children?
Jimmy and I have been burdened for some time with the rut that much of our movement seems to have settled into over the years. We see our generation leaving our movement and the preaching then says, “Well, that is what happens when this generation wants the things of the world and gets more liberal”. We argue that complacency and stubbornness to stick with tradition are just as wrong a heart as a heart that is leaving to find a more comfortable place to worship The Lord. We also argue that many of our generation are leaving BECAUSE of a hunger for righteousness…not in spite of it. If this is the case, and we believe that it is, then something drastic must happen in our movement if it is to be rescued.
I am a mother. I think of what we are passing on to our children. My questions are from deep within. What am I offering my children in this movement? A system? A religion? A list to check off in their lives to be accepted? Will they be raised in a church to grow up and leave it because it has disappointed them? Will we follow certain leaders so much that if they were to fall into sin my children would be disillusioned and doubt God? Am I feeding them a philosophy of works based sanctification that gives them the idea that if they can keep it they somehow will be a little more favored of God, for them to grow up and know it is impossible and then always feel that God is disappointed in them? These are questions that have processed in my soul.
There are many wonderful Independent Baptist churches still out there. But there are also many that are not. It is for these members that Jimmy writes. It is for these mothers that I write. It is for our children and the next generation. There has to be some shifting in the thoughts of many of our churches or our children, if they desire to know the Lord, may very well walk away. They already are. Jimmy and I see a shift in our movement. We still see a future and we don’t want to walk away (although we have been tempted). Instead, we want it to return to its roots. A movement that originally simply pulled away from a big brother system that tried to tell other people what they must believe and support as a whole even against what they personally believed. We have turned into the big brother system and we believe that God is working in a generation that is once again saying that we will not ignore our personal accountability before God. We feel we are part of a generation that is taking it back to what it once was, and what it should be again.
Here is my desire for my children and what I believe to be the heart of many of the mothers in our movement:
I am thankful for my goodly heritage, but a heritage is not what I want to pass down to my children. I want to give them Jesus.
I don’t want them to know about God. I want them to know God.
I don’t want to teach them to just ask Jesus into their hearts. I want them to learn to have His heart.
I don’t want them to live like Jesus. I want them to learn to get out of the way and let Jesus live through them.
I don’t want them to act friendly. I want them to be a true friend.
I don’t want them to work for God. I want God to work on them.
I don’t want them to be held captive by the law. I want them to be captivated by the love of Jesus.
I don’t want them to just preach the Gospel. I want them to live it.
I don’t want to teach them to influence people. I want to teach them to show others how to be influenced by Christ.
I don’t want them to walk an old path. I want them to walk with the Ancient of Days!
I don’t want them to have the old time religion. I want them to have a fresh relationship every single day with Jesus.
I don’t want them to just attend church. I want them to be a example of what being a part of the church…a living organism…should be to others.
I don’t want them to do the right kind of things. I want them to be the right kind of person.
I don’t want to groom them to be spiritual leaders. I want them to learn that the only way to be spiritual is to be a follower of Christ.
I don’t want them to ever think that they have arrived, or that their parents have arrived. I want them to know that we are all on a journey that constantly changes and we all have much to learn until the day we die.
I don’t want them to ever think they can earn Gods favor. I want them to know that none of us can, but He graciously bestows it on us because He loves us.
I don’t want them to think they can do right. It is not in our flesh to do right. I want them to learn that if God dwells in them, it is only His goodness that will come through us, and that is why we need Him so in our lives.
I have hope for my children! I pray that they will desire to be real with God and to seek His Word for their lives. I pray that they will first see that in my life! I pray that by the time they grow up, they will be a part of the generation that has gotten back to Gods Word as the guidance of their lives.
All articles in the series here.
Guest Blogger Alicia Reagan
Check out my wife’s wonderful blog where she simply writes her heart. She shares life as a wife, mother, pastor’s wife, and paraplegic. I love her! She is my partner in crime! Check out her articles to help the disabled too!