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Feb 11

Spiritual Fathers and Mothers

What is a spiritual father?

A spiritual father is a father figure within the Body of Christ who labors in love until Christ is formed in those he is fathering (see Galatians 4:19). More specifically, a spiritual father lovingly and purposely pours into his spiritual children until the character, mission and ministry of the Lord Jesus is formed in them.

What is a spiritual mother?

A spiritual mother is a mother figure in the family of God who tenderly cares and nurtures God’s children. The Hebrew word for God Almighty or El Shaddai is derived from the Hebrew word “shad’ which literally means “breast.” Like a gentle mother who nurses her newborn child a spiritual mother nurtures newborn babes in Christ in the foundational years after they have put their faith in Jesus Christ.

What are the specific roles of fathers and mothers in the Body of Christ?

These roles are directly related to the five offices mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-13. Evangelists, pastors and teachers are mothers while apostles and prophets are fathers. Evangelists like mothers, “birth” new children into the family of God while pastors and teachers, like mothers, feed growing believers the Word of God.

Apostles and prophets, on the other hand, call their spiritual sons and daughters to maturity. Mature believers have the character, mission and ministry firmly implanted in their hearts and are equipped to release the Kingdom of God wherever they are sent.

Why do we need spiritual fathers?

The answer can be found in 1 Corinthians 3:10 and Ephesians 2:19:

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ.”

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household (family) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (spiritual fathers), with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together an rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:19-20

The family of God needs “spiritual” fathers because they are the ones who set God’s household (family) in order upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. No family can flourish without the blessing and guidance of a father as Proverbs 4:10-13 illustrates:

“Listen, my son accept what I say and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold onto instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.”

As spiritual fathers “father” the family of God the family of God will become mature in character, mission and ministry!

Why does God honor spiritual fathers?

Because God’s strategy for blessing the family of God down through the centuries to present started first with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – our spiritual forefathers.

In other words, if it were not for spiritual forefathers we (the church) would not be where we are today. Deuteronomy 4:37-38 sheds more light on this:

“Because he (God) loved your forefathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into the land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.”

We stand today on the precipice of worldwide revival. We are on the verge of revival because of our spiritual forefathers! Thus past, present and future blessing began first with God’s love for the fathers He chose to birth His people into existence! Because they obeyed Him by faith He blessed their descendants by bringing them out of Egypt into the Promiseland!

If we are to enter the Promiseland set before us we must honor our contemporary spiritual fathers for obeying God by faith and breaking the ground necessary for us to be where we are today. God’s blessing will flow down to us as we honor those who have labored on our behalf!