The Greatest Untapped Evangelistic Opportunity Before the Modern Church by David Bunker

Posted on March 13, 2009 by


clip_image004 I believe that we are involved in the greatest evangelistic opportunity before the church today: the salvation of millions of children under the evangelistic and discipleship ministry of fathers and mothers in the home. This is not the only mission field, to be sure, but it is perhaps the most neglected mission field before the church in our time. Scott BrownVision Forum Ministries

Why does it take a weekend retreat for us men to get in touch with our deeper selves? Why must we go deep into our own history and story to reveal the pain and glory of our own pilgrimage? As I am going on nearly six months in my new gig with Awana, I am coming to the conclusion that we men have been hoodwinked. By whom you might ask? By the Church itself? Let me unpack this statement.

First of all, let me say that most of the men and women in full time ministry to children and teens are overwhelmed with the responsibility of pouring into children. Most are humbled and deeply desire to have parents be a part of the process. However, there has been the unwitting message that the Church is the place these children are ultimately going to be lead to the Lord and nurtured in that walk. Unfortunately the competition amongst churches has lead the Church to over promise and under deliver. Some of this comes from the tendency of Churches to market their ministries like we sell products and services.

Nashville is replete with dynamic seemingly thriving churches with great facilities and a burgeoning staff. Given the size and fiscal demands of churches and their behemoth budgets, it is no wonder they consistently tout their expertise in ministry and stewardship. “Come to our services, worship with us on Sunday, and involve yourself and your family in our programs and tithe, tithe tithe.” “If you do,” they say “God will bless you with a great life, your marriage will be without stress and your children will all be gloriously obedient and walk in the ways of the Lord.” This is of course exaggerated for the sake of my point but we are all living in the age of the expert. Give me your kids and I will help form them into disciples. Drop them off at our door and watch us work magic.

Unfortunately, statistics are now telling us that kids are leaving the church in groves when they graduate. Statistics are also telling us that kids no longer see any conflict between their faith and lying, cheating and stealing. The Church experts have somehow missed the trend. Our kids are going to be the first post Christian culture in a long while. By that I mean we have raised a generation of children that are no longer followers of Jesus. What to do? Well I could offer one more attempt to farm your kids out to experts or I could offer up a much more biblical and yet challenging alternative. Start a home church! As the father, see your children as the first ones you lead to the Lord and regard this as teaching them what it means to evangelize the world. What a novel idea. Or is it?

As spiritual manhood and masculinity have been under attack in the last half century through various cultural shifts, we men have found that women and the experts have seemingly taken over a job we were destined to have from the foundations of the earth. We men, who are fathers, have been given a mandate to raise our children in the admonition of the Lord.

So that this communication remains encouraging, let me say that I realize how many men have not been fathered themselves. My experience with New Adam and Samson in recent years has revealed to me the very thing I am bringing up in this letter. Without actively engaged fathers teaching their children the very Word of God, the children will have a large hole in their spiritual formation and ultimately in their character.

The Father’s Heat Weekend is a place to start. The weekend is planned by fathers and there are no experts pontificating from an ivory tower. The very nature of this gathering is to offer fathers and their sons an opportunity to come together through spiritual encounters that reveal the supernatural bond God has placed in their hearts for one another. Young boys get to see firsthand just how much their fathers love them. Fathers get to see firsthand how sons respond when offered lovingly an experience that leads them into the depths of our heavenly Father’s heart. For many men, it has become a jumping off point to fulfill much of what this letter reveals & challenges men to become. For other fathers, it is a weekend of confirmation as they see their boys blossoming and interacting in ways that honor the relationship that has been already formed over the years. It becomes a time of tremendous intimacy with your own child and with other fathers.

Seldom does or culture offer time where both fathers and sons can sit under the power and presence of God together and drink in just how much our God desires for the family to be a reflection of His family – the trinity. The very nature of God is communion. The Father’s Heart Weekend can be the very place for this deep communion to begin.

There is an uprising of men in our Church today. We are taking back our responsibilities to be the head of our home (I speak of this teaching with full understanding that mothers are deeply involved as well). In this headship there is tremendous leverage given to us by the Father Himself. As He covers us so we cover our children and wives. The great Messianic prophesy of Psalm 22 shows how God brings the glory of salvation from one generation to the next through those who take seriously the charge to teach their children: A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, they will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this. (Psalm 22:30-31) Give your children a thousand reasons to believe. Maybe this upcoming weekend will be one of the first reasons. Pray about it.

David Bunker (someone who had a father teach him God’s ways)


Researcher George Barna maintains that if current trends in the belief systems and practices of the younger generation continue, in ten years, church attendance will be half the size it is today.

Dawson MacAlister, national youth ministry specialist, remarked that 90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores on college.

Data from the Southern Baptist Convention indicates that we are currently losing 70-88% of our youth after their freshman year in college. In a report to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, T.C. Pinkney observed that 70% of teenagers involved in church youth groups stop attending church within two years of their high school graduation. The Southern Baptist Council on Family Life**reported an even more staggering statistic — that 88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18.

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