Jesus wanted His disciples with him â€“ in close proximity â€“ so that they could learn to live their lives the same way as He did.
As I processed this comment, I was faced again with a frustration I have experienced occasionally throughout my adult life. I presented my frustration to Matt in the form of a question, hoping he could provide some insight. I wrote:
As a follow-up, what advice would you offer [to me as a Dad] regarding discipling . . . others in such a significant way without sacrificing my family? It seems difficult to show value to my [wife and] children uniquely while investing that amount of time in others.
If you hear my question and think, “Yes! How can this happen?”, then I pray that Matt’s response to me will be as helpful for you as I believe it will be for me. He replied:
My wife and I have been wrestling with this question and what it looks like for us with the Forge students that we work with and we have come up with this basic philosophy: instead of trying to outline the countless number of times and areas where my disciples canâ€™t follow me (so that my family isnâ€™t sacrificed), weâ€™ve decided to pursue the lesser number of opportunities when my disciples can follow me. Instead of focusing on the boundaries, we focus on the opportunities. We regularly ask ourselves, â€œCan we bring a student with us? Do we want to?â€ Also, for the times when I know I have to travel with the students, we are now starting to ask the question, â€œCan one of our children go along? How about the whole family?â€ Instead of fighting to keep the two worlds separate, we look for opportunities where they can integrate. Weâ€™re finding that there are places where they fit together quite nicely and neither my family nor my disciples feel like they are being left out.
What questions do you have about doing ministry in a world where your interests are divided (1 Cor. 7:32-34)? What philosophy has worked well in your home?