Fathering as a shaping principle
It would be very easy to project ‘fathering’ as the thing and say that warfare, organisation, and business models are not features of the kingdom. That would be reaction and not accurate. Of course we need organisation, but that is not the governing principle and we want people to succeed in business, but that’s not to dominate our culture. Of course we are in a war, but that doesn’t mean that being an army defines us.
Abraham was a model, a first example; so many of the characteristics of his life are mirrored in the apostle Paul. He was called, he was given promises whose scope encompassed many. Blessing nations was at the heart of his call, he bore sons and he was a man of great faith. He was an Old Testament picture of an apostolic father. Abraham carried forward the purpose of God for his generation and he carried the promise of God for generations to come, and he stewarded those entrustments well. So he was both a key player in his time and the key to the future, beyond his own lifetime.
Abraham risked it all. He left his home, his familiar surroundings and security. And he left his family-everything that had defined him and given him identity. He went to a place he didn’t know, as well as carrying promises for nations beyond. So he wasn’t a picture of pastoral bliss. In our terms he was a risky pioneer who put his whole family, safety and wealth on the line to follow the voice of God.
Abraham was above all a friend of God, so in Genesis 18;17 God says ‘shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do’. And of course he discloses his plans to his friend. Biblical fathering springs from those who know their God.
God is raising up a fresh generation of apostolic fathers. Who are first of all deep in their relationship with God, second men of call, third carriers of great promises that others can buy into, fourth pioneers and faith risk takers, and fifth men who have the nations in their heart, sixth they have spiritual sons and finally they are dependant on the supernatural activity of God to make the impossible possible. These kind of fathers create a context and atmosphere where others can mature and flourish. They generate values and vision from their hearts not heads. They are pioneers and release others to pioneer, but create a sense of security around them. They just ‘are’ something significant to the body of Christ, they are not trying or needing to learn to ‘become something’.