Words for the Vineyard - Mothering and Fathering

Mothering and Fathering

In November of 2021, Beau and I went to the Vineyard National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. We had been to several powerful meetings with dynamic teachers and the ministry of the Spirit. But the highlight of the trip for us was a lunch with Roger Cunningham and Ken Fish. These two longtime Vineyard pastors/itinerant ministers were sitting across the table and we simply asked "what advice would you give two people starting out in the ministry?"  As only Ken Fish can do, he proceeded to give us a timeline of events that has our society in it's current condition. He identified wars that took fathers from homes and mothers to work, the sexual revolution which led to further breakdown of morality and so on til present day. He talked about a whole generation who doesn't know who or what they are because there was no one in the home to solidify the identity of the family and nurture the gifts of each sex. The absence of the father and mothers from homes all over the world has led to the demise of societies and nations. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked us in the eye and said "Go home and be a mother and a father. Raise up sons and daughters unto God."   By the time his speech was finished, all of our eyes were leaking, moved by the sheer conviction and invitation of it.  God desires His whole family. Or His family whole.  And He's placed on our house the joy of being fathers and mothers made in His image. And oh what a beautiful house full we have here!

So what does it look like to mother and father as a Christ follower? Kingdom fathers and mothers begin from a place of love. They are children of God Almighty first and foremost. (Psalm 139:14-16) They get their validation, sense of belonging and affirmation from their heavenly Father over all other opinions. They know He is the One True Source. The Limitless One with a long and loving gaze directed right at their face.(Romans 8:16) From that place, they see with the Father's eyes towards His kids and His creation. Can you imagine what would happen to the world if a group of people addressed every day life from this posture?

Now I know that are you're already doing the things that mothers and fathers do in your every day life, maybe even without realizing it. Based on several articles and popular polls, here is a list of common ways people view the gifts of each role:
Give hope
Share wisdom
Teach skills/ train for life
Comfort/ Give emotional support
Cook/provide nourishment
Help achieve goals
Provide connection/ reduce loneliness

Role models
Instill and affirm identity
Share wisdom and life lessons
Provide stability
Give support and protection
Set clear boundaries and discipline
Meet physical needs
Care for and challenge
Lead in ethical values of family

This isn't about biological parenting or being in a specific age range. This is about taking our roles seriously about making disciples as we go and loving people into the family of God. Deborah Thorne, a former member, recently attended one Sunday morning while on a visit after years of living in Germany. She told me after the service that our house was filled with mothers and fathers more than so many churches she has been to over the years and nations she's visited. I told her yes I agree but then she said "No, it's like really significant and special. I don't think you understand."  Sometimes we get so familiar with what we have around us, we aren't as aware of just what a gift we really have been given. (Maybe that's a word for each of us. Open our eyes to see the beauty of the lives you gave us, Lord.) I am grateful and want to honor this significant part of who God has called us all to be and how beautifully I see this lived week by week.

So sincerely, thank you for showing up!  Being present is the absolute number one desire of any kid. Their parents' presence. Keep showing up in your day to day activities! No one can replace you! Thank you for modeling what it looks like to love, obey and worship King Jesus for the current and next generation. Thank you for encouraging and affirming the call of God over one another. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and stories of lessons learned.  I know of marriages benefitting right now simply by watching some of you love your spouse. Thank you for calling out the good in the men and women in your circles and in this body. Keep speaking life and blessing in what can feel like an echo chamber of death sometimes. Thank you for providing meals for the youth, special events and for families in need. Food and hospitality is a priceless gift. Thank you for noticing when someone is feeling sad or down and moving towards them with compassion and Spirit led, hope-filled words. Thank you for giving your most precious assets- your attention, time and money to benefit the lives of others.  I see you.
But most importantly... Your heavenly Father sees it all and delights in you!

If you're still reading this... I have one thing I encourage you to do this week.
Sit in the long and loving gaze of your Father. Ask Him "what do You say is true about me right now?" Write it down. Just minutes of a conversation with your dad can change everything.

See you Sunday!

For His Glory,

Rachel Burnham 
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1 Comment

Jay Powers - February 1st, 2024 at 11:06am

Very well said Rachel. It also aligns with what is being said in all other parts of the body of Christ. good work