As founder of Visionary Family Ministries, Rob Rienow has a mission to build the church by globally transforming family discipleship.
Rob Rienow and his wife, Amy, are founders of Visionary Parenting, a ministry that exists to inspire parents and equip churches to pass faith to the next generation. He will be speaking Sept. 12 at Faith at Home’s Fall Conference in Advance, N.C.
Rienow carries out this mission as the pastor of Gospel Fellowship Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. He further shares the biblical message of family discipleship at national and international conferences for parents, couples and church leaders.
On Sept. 12, Rienow will be the keynote speaker at the second event of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Faith at Home Fall Conference Series at Calvary Baptist Church’s West Campus in Advance, N.C.
Rienow recently answered some questions regarding his ministry and the upcoming conference.
Q: Why does God put such an emphasis on parents being the primary disciple-makers of their children?
A: Throughout scripture, God calls parents and grandparents to be the primary spiritual trainers of their children and grandchildren in the home (Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78, Acts 2, Ephesians 6 and many others). The local church is called to support the Christian family in this mission.
Q: Why did God choose the family as the primary agent of evangelism and discipleship, instead of the school, the church, the company or the state?
A: We can surmise the answer to this question at many levels. The family is the jurisdiction under which God brings children into the world. Parents and grandparents are uniquely responsible for their care and nurture in every area, and they have “round the clock” connection with their children for the purpose of leading their children to know, love and serve Jesus.
Q: From your experience, what do you see as the biblical model for how the church is to equip moms and dads in their disciple-making efforts?
A: Ephesians 4:12 tells us that part of the task of the local church is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” A Christian’s first ministry is in his or her home.
A parent’s first ministry is living out the Great Commission (making disciples) of their kids and grandkids. Therefore, if a local church is serious about the Great Commission, they will have a plan, strategy and culture to equip parents and grandparents for the mission of home discipleship and lovingly keep them accountable to that mission. There are many practical ways that churches live out this biblical pattern, and we will explore those at the conference.
Q: In your book, God’s Grand Vision for the Home, you write, “Success is not helping our kids be what they want to be. Success is helping our kids be what God wants them to be.” How should churches and families work together to accomplish this goal?
A: “Your Word is a light unto my feet.” For our children to catch God’s vision and calling for their lives, they need to be fully saturated in God’s Word. The most important practical step in this area is encouraging and equipping families for “family worship” in the home.
Few Christian families have a regular time of family prayer and Bible reading. Few adult Christians grew up in homes that did these things.
So the church has an urgent responsibility to train and equip families how to pray and read the Bible together at home in such as a way as to welcome and engage all ages of children.
Q: During the upcoming Faith at Home Conference Series, you’ll be discussing why family ministry is a vital part of disciple-making. How can churches make family ministry a priority, where developing faith at home is the focus?
A: First, I believe each local church should have a “theology of family.”
Many churches are struggling in family ministry because they don’t have a compelling biblical theology of family as it relates to the Great Commission.
Second, we can’t lead the church in a direction we are not going in ourselves. Are we praying and reading the Bible with our spouses and children? Are we passionately praying and reaching out to our unsaved family members?
Third, we will talk about a simple approach to discipleship that encourages everyone in the church, no matter their age, to be growing in their walk with God, their walk with their family, their walk with their church family and their ministry in the community. Those four “spheres” of discipleship can be pressed through all our ministries to build a culture of unifying our churches and families in the gospel.
Q: We’re looking forward to you being with us on Sept. 12. What do you hope that attendees will takeaway from your time together at the event?
A: I can’t wait to be with you! First, I pray that God turns our hearts to the ministry of our own families. For many years, I neglected my wife and children because I was too busy at church.
Second, I pray that we will be challenged from God’s Word that God has created two institutions to advance His gospel – the church and the family – and recognize that in the New Testament the Lord has given us practical ways to unite the church and the home in kingdom ministry.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – For more information or to register for the Faith at Home Network Fall Conference Series, visit ncbaptist.org/faithathome.)