I would classify myself as an avid reader (as avid as you can be with a demanding job and a family six). If you were to checkout my bookshelf, you would quickly notice that I am not much for “fiction” reading and spend the bulk of my time reading books that I feel will benefit me professionally, personally, and / or spiritually.
A lot of people write reviews of books and most would provide a more eloquent or technical review than what I will be able to expound. My primary goal in writing a review is to have a forum for my reflection on the work that God has done in my life through reading this book. Or simply the work that God was doing in my life while reading this book.
I recently finished a book titled, “Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes”, written by Voddie Baucham Jr. For me, the book’s title alone was intriguing enough to warrant the time to read. I also had become familiar with the author through his book, “Family Driven Faith”, which I also previously read and thoroughly enjoyed. For those of you not familiar with Voddie and his ministry, I offer a link to his website. For some, his view on the role of the church regarding youth ministry may be controversial, but it is hard to ignore some of the evidence that he presents.
Voddie starts the book making a simple point about “knowing” vs. ” doing”. To summarize in my terms… if Christian men were asked the question, who is responsible for discipling and training your children to walk in the ways of god, 99.999% of people would get the answer right… the parents. You could count me among the 99.999%!. However, I found myself increasingly frustrated with my lack of understanding for accomplishing this task. I could easily point to the passages in scripture that admonish me to fulfill my role as the spiritual leader and the head of my household, but I found myself weak and powerless in fulfillment. I believe that part of my frustration was driven by the fact that I didn’t even really know what it looked like to be the spiritual leader and head of my home. A second part of my frustration may have been due to the desire to find some new effective method (i.e. shortcut).
I’ve certainly found good news throughout this process of sanctification, because God is not hiding wisdom from those who seek him. In his book Voddie lays out a compelling case that the Bible calls men to shepherd their families. As a man, who has tried to “get things right” with parenting, it was a profound truth for me to realize that “discipling our children is not about teaching them to behave in such a way that won’t embarrass us” but rather to raise “our children with a view towards leading them to trust and to follow Christ”. While, I still seek to avoid public embarrassment, I am learning to understand my role as shepherd of my family.
In the second part of the book, Voddie goes to great length to lay out what it might look like for a man to herald the Gospel in his home. This section perhaps cut me most deeply, as it became readily apparent that my half-baked attempt at family devotions were more “going through the motions” than birthed out of a true desire to with the biblical viewpoint of leading my children to trust and follow Christ (ouch!). Don’t take me wrong, I sincerely desired for my children to follow Christ, but given our schedule of nightly devotions, by the time 8:30 rolled around and I just labored through an intense day of work, I was ready to “check out” (selfishly). If you have young kids… I’m sure you’ve “been there”. While we are not perfect, my wife and I have had great victory over the past couple of months in the quality of devotion time that we have had with our kids in teaching them the word of God and worshiping as a family (more on that in another post).
Overall, as a man this book was a welcome nourishment to my soul. I need to be challenged and instructed in the word of God. I need to cry out for wisdom. God has been effectively working on me (“sanctifying me”) for over a year regarding this topic (see recent blog post here). The book, Family Shepherds, has certainly been a part of the journey and a tool that God used to exhort me about the deep truths founds in scripture concerning leading my family. I pray that the Lord will continue to mold me into an “under shepherd” for my family, and I pray that if you are reading, God will grant that desire to you as well!
If you are interested, you can read some “real” reviews and purchase the book off of Amazon here. If you are interested in borrowing the book let me know.