Are you a tourist? How about your kids? Today AMBrewster shows Christian parents how to know if their families are merely tourist in the church, and what to do about it if they are.
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I’d like to take a minute to do something that may seem strange. I just want to tell you how much I love you.
I created Truth.Love.Parent. for only two reasons: The first is that I love God desperately, and I believed He would be glorified by TLP.
The second reason is that I love you and your families. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t take the time to communicate this Truth. I’d be out doing something selfish like . . . I don’t know . . . watching movies all the time.
Seriously, I hope you understand that TLP is a labor of love. I want for TruthLoveParent.com to become a premier hub for all things Ambassador Parenting.
To that end, I created a free parenting course called “25 Days to Becoming a Premeditated Parent.” You can sign up for that at TruthLoveParent.com. And there’s a link right to it in the description.
And I’m trying to finalize an eBook called “Quit: God’s cure for family strife.” I say, “trying” because I haven’t been able to pull together the funds to get it done just yet, but when I do, I’m going to put it out there for free for every parent who wants it.
Sure, eventually — Lord willing — TLP will be able to create curriculum that we can sell, but right now it’s about meeting you in your need.
And today may be your first episode with us. Welcome. I’m serious when I say I love you. I know we may have never met, but you’re precious to God, and I want the best for your family.
Some of our listeners have broken families that are hurting. There are a lot of terrorist kids out there. And some of our families seem to have everything going smoothly at the moment. We also have a lot of new families who aren’t sure where they stand just yet. And we have families whose children are out of the house who are investing in other families.
And TeamTLP and I are committed to meeting you where you are and showing you what God’s Word has to say about it.
kewtdg recently gave us a 5-star review and said this, “A few months ago I prayed for wisdom in parenting my teens. As a relatively new believer, I did not feel equipped to raise my kids based on the Bible since I have done it so long based on the world. I know God heard me and led me to these podcasts. They are packed with truth and love. I feel so empowered when I finish listening to one. Thank you Lord for TLP and thank you TLP for equipping us to parent with God’s love and truth. Philippians 2:13.”
So, I’m glad that you’re along for the journey.
Alright, today’s episode is not part 6 of the series we just finished. That series was called “Your Family Needs to Go to Church.” But this episode does piggy-back well off of it.
I think I’m remembering this correctly. Honestly, I’m not sure anymore, but I think I read an article a while ago that asked whether or not you’re a tourist or a member.
I wish I could remember where I saw it so I could give the person credit, but the question was a great one, and I jotted down the idea to pose the question here concerning our families. I guess I should have left myself a note so I could cite the author.
Anyway, here’s the question we want to answer today: Is your family a tourist or a member when it comes to church.
Let’s say that you’ve taken the admonishment of the last series, and you’ve started attending church. Great! Maybe your kids can’t remember a time they weren’t in church. Awesome.
Are you a member of the body of Christ, or are you like the lucky person on the tenth space in a game of Monopoly — you’re just visiting?
What’s the difference?
Well, the members are the only people who can receive the God-ordained benefits of Church, but the tourists can’t.
In order to answer this question for your family, we’re going to have to combine some of our previous observations and then mix them with a few new points.
But let me start with a reminder . . . just because you were voted into the membership of a local church and attended it your whole life doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the kind of member about which we’re talking today.
So, let’s get started.
What’s a church tourist? What do they do?
“Well, that sounds an awful lot like what it means to go to church,” you say.
You’re kind of right. But here’s the problem, a tourist can do all of those even though they’re not true members of the body of Christ.
Why is that?
Because anyone can do those things. You don’t have to like church to do most of those. And you don’t even have to be a Christian to do any of those.
I’ve known professing atheists who did many of those things far better than you or I.
So, let’s look at the opposite side of the coin. Those were the things tourists can do, but let’s change our tactics and focus in on the root issues.
1. You, your spouse, and/or your kids are tourists if you’re not born again.
This is the big one. This is what literally makes it impossible to do anything more than be a tourist.
Consider it this way. I love you and your kids, but your kids are not my children. They may visit my house and play with my kids and eat meals with us. In fact, they may attend Victory Academy for boys and live in my family for nine months, but technically . . . they’re not my kids.
They weren’t born to me. They weren’t adopted by me.
They’re not my family.
Well, the same goes for the family of God.
Unless we have been born again, by water and the Spirit, we cannot be called the children of God and we aren’t a member of the church.
In John 3:5, Jesus said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
There’s a clear difference, and unless you have been born again, Sunday tourism is the only option you have.
Now, likely, if you’re listening to this podcast, you may already be born again. That’s fantastic. But that doesn’t mean your spouse or kids are. Your kids don’t get a pass just because you are a follower of Christ.
Lord willing, my children will have kids and they will be part of my family whether they want to or not. But God doesn’t have any grandchildren. He doesn’t have any nieces or nephews. Everyone must make the choice to follow Christ by submitting to His Truth and believing His promises if they want to be born again.
Later in the same passage in John, Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
We did a whole series on why your children believe what they believe. If you’ve never heard it, you’re seriously missing out on one of the most important truths that will revolutionize your parenting.
The series starts in episode 95 and is called “The Merest Christianity.”
Belief in God’s Word is absolutely key.
Then and only then can anyone be part of the body of Christ.
Now, I still have two points left, but let me clarify.
You are a member of the church if you’re saved. Okay? But, members often like to act like tourists. When that happens, the members don’t receive the God-ordained benefits of church. They end up being functional tourists who cannot receive the benefits of church.
Look at it this way.
Your family goes on vacation. You get a hotel, you see the sights, and you go home.
Now, imagine that your spouse — or one of your kids — maintained the vacation mentality.
They make a mess in their room and expect you to clean it up and make their bed. They eat all of your food, dump their plates, and expect you to clean them. They see all the sights, but they never do the work of the family.
Now, you may be thinking . . . that’s my daily experience. If so, please know that there’s a problem. Family life should not work that way. There are any number of issues involved in that situation, but I would definitely point you to episode 154. It’s all about laying a biblical foundation for family chores.
But — anyway — so one of the family members continues acting like they’re on vacation once they get home. It shouldn’t take too much of that before they’re not receiving all of the benefits of family life.
You can also listen to our Rock, Bread, and Donut series which starts in episode 106 and deals with why we give out kids the things we give them.
Well, the same thing happens in church. Some genuinely born again members of the assembly of God go to church but act like a tourist. And when that happens, they won’t receive the true benefits.
So, that’s why I have two more points.
2. You, your spouse, and/or your kids are tourists if you’re not involved in evangelism.
Two episodes ago we talked about the supreme privilege and joy it is to lead another soul to Christ.
Now, I’m not saying that if people don’t drop to their knees and beg God to forgive them every time you share the Romans Road that you’re a tourist in the church.
You have no control over anyone other than yourself. And the same goes for your kids.
The question is not how many people are being saved because of your testimony, the question is how faithful are you being to share your testimony?
When people are around you for any length of time, do they walk away knowing that you desperately love God?
Do you share your faith and the Truths of Scripture with people . . . regardless of how they respond.
If you don’t do that. If that practice is lost on you or your kids, you’re acting like a tourist.
Honestly, a tourist can selfishly share the Gospel, and the Lord may bless the veracity of His own Word and in the other’s person heart.
But the true joy of introducing another to God will be lost on them. Any joy they receive — and happy emotions they feel — will be wrapped up in the self-satisfaction they experience from being a part of the process.
The true joy of the Lord cannot be experienced by a tourist.
By way of review, your family members are tourist is they are not born again, and they’re at least acting like tourists and missing out on being a member of the body of Christ if they’re not actively involved in sharing the Gospel.
Now, I hope to have a Special Guest on the show who can give you tips and pointers for sharing the Gospel with people. We’ve talked about it on this show a number of times as it relates to Evangelism Parenting, and many of those points work with others as well.
Unfortunately, we can’t take the time to do it now because that’s not the focus of today’s discussion. But I will throw out this little help: just start with your own introduction to the promises of God. You can easily start by communicating your own love for the Lord, belief in His Word, and dependence on His promises.
It never hurts to share how you became a follower of Christ.
Alright, number three . . .
3. You, your spouse, and/or your kids are tourists if you’re not involved in corporate sanctification.
Again, this is a review point from previous episodes.
You cannot experience the benefits of being part of the church unless you’re actively and genuinely involved in the one-anothers. That means you must not merely be doing the right things in the right way . . . you need to be doing them for the right reasons.
Then — and only then — will the Lord empower you and the people with whom you’re one-anothering to grow and mature into the likeness of Christ.
So, our you a tourist or a member?
How about your spouse?
What about your kids?
Being a tourist is only fun for a while. Tourists eventually leave the church. They’re the focus of all those millennial studies showing that kids who grew up in the church are leaving by the droves.
Tourists aren’t in it for the long haul because they work and work without ever truly experiencing the benefits of being a genuine child of God — a true member of the church.
Our families can’t afford to be tourists. Maybe — up until now — you have been. Maybe you thought you were members, but now you realize that you’re not really participating in the church the way God intended.
There is hope. And I’ll point you to that hope right after this.
Feel free to access our free episode notes from TruthLoveParent.com. You will find them linked below.
And please share this episode on social media. Your shares are an integral part of how we are introduced to new families.
I also want to say, “Thank you,” to Johanna. She and her business, far away, support TLP every month. Our Patrons enable us to continue creating all of these free resources for Christian parents. And you can participate in that. Even if it’s only a dollar a month, your faithful gift can help us glorify God by equipping moms and dads all over the world to be intentional, premeditated, disciple-making parents.
And part of that mission is our next episode entitled, “The All-Bible Family.” In celebration of National Family Day on August 1st, we’ll be talking briefly about what it means to be an all-bible family.
Okay, so you’ve realized that individuals in your family have been tourists all the years. What do you do? Where’s the hope?
It always starts with submission to Christ. Nothing is more important that knowing that you and your kids are born again believers.
We have so many episodes dedicated to this topic, but I want to direct you specifically to episode 45, “The Second Most Important Question You Need to Ask Your Kids.” Whether you think your kids are born again or not, that episode will be invaluable.
Beyond that, you simply need to get involved. Dedicate yourself to assemble with the church as often as possible and actively participate in evangelism and one-anothering for no other reason than you love God and He’s worth it.
Then, and only then, will you be an active member of the body of Christ, fulfilling His purpose for the church, and receiving the supernatural benefits of membership.
I’ll see you next time
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