Rite of passage parenting: Not your grandfather’s paper
I’m part of an incredible family called The Baptist Messenger. Each week, this dedicated, God-fearing, people-loving group tries to bring you the latest information that will both inform and equip you as a disciple of Christ.
The Messenger has changed dramatically since I began contributing to it. I know most of you think a denominational (there goes the yawn) publication is just that: denominational. And in most cases, I would agree. Reading the religious newspapers of most states is about as exciting as studying the ingredients on the back of a can of Spam. Now, I do read some of these denominational newspapers late at night because they help me overcome my insomnia.
The Baptist Messenger is different, though. It has one goal in mind: Jesus ministry. When I was growing up, people asked me what kind of ministry I felt led to do: educational ministry, pastoral ministry, recreational ministry or youth ministry. My answer? None of them. I felt called to do Jesus ministry. I might do it through education or music or youth or in a factory setting. But as the body of Christ, we have all been called to do His ministry. As a body, we must get up and go to work. That work is Jesus ministry.
Jesus came to do two things: to seek and save those who are lost (Evangelism, Luke 19:10) and to make disciples (Discipleship, Matt. 28:18-29). Let’s call Jesus ministry E/D for short. Outside of these two things, nothing else matters. And as I look through the Baptist Messenger, I find almost every article fits into one of these two categories.
People often ask me which article in the Baptist Messenger I read first, and I always reply, “Anthony Jordan’s.” When they ask why, I answer with a smile, “Because I’ve already read what I wrote.” But Dr. Jordan’s articles always end in either Evangelism (where he discusses the wonderful gift of salvation) or Discipleship (where he discusses a biblical principle). Dr. Jordan uses his article to do Jesus ministry. And even the poorest writer in the Baptist Messenger (I won’t mention his name) writes with the intention of doing Jesus ministry, too.
Every once in a while, a denominational something or other slips in, but even that serves the purpose of making us better-informed followers of Christ. And the staff that makes up the Baptist Messenger has a heart to bring you the best that Jesus ministry has to offer.
In recent months, the Messenger has gone electronic. The staff realizes that in a modern-day world, many of the younger generation are allergic to paper and ink. They all want a new-fangled “iPut” or whatever they call those fancy things. It won’t be long before our children will have to go to the Smithsonian Institution to see an old-fashioned newspaper.
Embracing Jesus ministry in an electronic generation means that the Baptist Messenger has gone digital. They can even send this publication to your phone (especially for those who don’t need bifocals to read it).
And now the Baptist Messenger has its own Facebook page, too. I encourage you to be a part of it (find it under “The Baptist Messenger”). There, you’ll find so many wonderful, personal-interest items about people and places that aren’t covered anywhere else. When I head to the mission field with Calvary, Inola soon, I’ll post pictures and stories there of this group doing Jesus ministry.
Let me sum it up. The Baptist Messenger is not for mere reading, but for personal engagement. Every week, sit down with your children, read one of the missionary stories you find there and lead them in a discussion time. Ask questions like, “Where is Zimbabwe? How do you think this missionary felt led to do Jesus ministry there? What can we do to help him?” This could lead into a time to pray together for this missionary’s work and/or send him an email.
You can also discuss social problems addressed in the Baptist Messenger. Ask your children to bring a report on one of the stories. In fact, there is a plethora of ways you can use this publication to engage your children (they can even look up the word plethora).
The Baptist Messenger makes a great tool for building a spiritual bridge between you and your children. Use it in your Sunday School classes, and if you need something to put you to sleep, read the Pastoral Changes.
Since 2012 is a political year, I must include this: My name is Walker Moore and I approve this message. Paid for by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I do not live, but Christ lives in me so that I may do all things through Him Who strengthens me . . . for Jesus ministry.