JEFFERSON CITY – Revival in Christian homes can transform a society filled with family trees that have been uprooted by sin, said Dan Jarvisof Michigan-based Life Action Ministries during a family conference at Concord Baptist Church here, May 11-14.
“Increasingly, healthy family trees are disappearing from the American landscape,” Jarvis said. Statistics support Jarvis’ concern. In 2009, nearly 24,000 divorces were reported in Missouri alone, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. With nearly 40,000 prison and jail inmates in the state of Missouri, many families have been broken by drug addiction and crime. Approximately 60,000 Missouri children have at least one incarcerated parent. Across the nation, 2.7 million children have incarcerated parents, and 70 percent of these children will likely follow their parents into prison. Additionally, nearly 24 million children live without a biological father in the home.
“You look around you, and you see devastation. You see destruction,” Jarvis said. “Could it be that God would use us in the restoration of all that?”
Jarvis challenged families at Concord Baptist to strive for the biblical model of family life. He also called Christian families to extend “the umbrella of its love to those in need,” so that they can see what God intended the family to be. This “fresh vision” for the Christian family could revive the church and transform the culture, he said.
Joe Ulveling, family ministry specialist at the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), agrees.
“The family is the bedrock of our society,” Ulveling said. “As our families go, so goes our society. As our society goes, so goes our country. And look at the results. We’ve got to turn back the tide.”
Ulveling added that family problems also affect churches.
“I get calls from multiple churches every week that are saying, ‘Please help us. We’re having families falling apart, deacons that are immoral, staff problems and questions with families,’” Ulveling said. “Those things are happening constantly, and it’s not slowing down, because the devil is on the prowl. He’s attacking where he can, and a great way to attack is from the inside out.”
“The church,” he added, “is only as strong as the families that are in it.”
For this reason, the MBC provides family ministry resources on the convention’s website at www.mobaptist.org/family-ministry.