Book Review – “One Million Arrows – Raising your Children to Change the World” by Julie Ferwerda


 When I saw the title of this book, I was immediately drawn to it. Especially as I was commencing this website, www.raisingworldchangers.com.au Thus, I sought out the book. It is no longer in print but is available through Amazon & on Kindle. I would highly recommend reading this book if you are a Christian. It clearly explains the priority of raising children, both your own and orphans, with a mission mindset and an aim to impact the world.

 I read the first chapter eagerly but into the second chapter I realised that I needed to slow down and process the content as I went. There is so much in this book that it can be a bit overwhelming. The author is fantastic at using examples of what other people have done but I did keep wanting the author to explain how she had personally raised her own kids. Did she actually have credibility in the parenting process and what she was imploring the reader to do, or was it purely ideas and facts she had researched on other families and how those parents had raised their kids?

 Brief Outline:

Chapter 1: Determine your course

I love the statement that most kids want to be firefighters when they get older because they see them as larger than life heroes. Firefighters save lives. The author implores us to consider whether or not we want to raise spiritual firefighters – people who will save others spiritually.

 The author also shares about Alex and Brett Harris who started a blog called ‘TheRebelution.com as twin sixteen year olds. As a follow up from the success of that, they wrote the book ‘Do Hard Things’ – a must read especially if you have teenagers.

 Chapter 2: Join the Vision

The author shares about meeting M.A. Thomas, an Indian, known as “Papa”. He rescued orphaned and abandoned children off the streets in India.  He has since trained and sent more than 21,000 pastors and missionaries to the mission field, the majority of them being raised in one of his homes as orphaned or abandoned children. “Papa” has a God given vision to train up one million “arrows” for God. Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from The Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them.”

 “My biggest dream for my kids has become for them to always have at the core of everything they do – every motivation and thought – the desire to search for God’s dreams for their lives, asking questions like: How can I make a difference in this world? What did God create me to do on this planet to help accomplish His purposes? How can my life be truly fulfilling? How can I become an arrow for God? (P21)

Chapter 3: Own the Mission

The author urges each person to find their passion and then make that their ministry. This chapter is filled with exciting examples of people who found their passion and made it their ministry and now are doing amazing things for Christ.

Chapter 4: Gather Broken Branches

Parents are urged to take back their God given right as the spiritual authority in their home and to train up their own children in the ways of The Lord. The author explains how too often we, as parents, have abdicated our role as the spiritual leaders of our children to the church and the children’s/youth ministry, leaving it entirely up to the church to disciple our children.

 Chapter 5: Shape Arrows at Home

Julie shares some very practical examples of what we, as parents, can do to help raise our children to be “arrows” for God. She has interviewed parents of children who grew up to be heroes in their field, and has gleaned the essentials from how these parents raised their children.

 I must admit, that at this stage I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed and where do I start and have I left it too late etc. Thankfully, it is at this point that Julie changes tack and addresses these issues, encouraging parents that we are not alone in raising our children. She also implores us that we need to be leading by example.

 Chapter 6: Shape Arrows Beyond

The question is asked, “As parents using our gifts and abilities for the mission, what could we accomplish by investing in one more child (or even a few) in order to effect change that carries into other countries and even continents?” (P74) Julie then goes on to suggest, rather than adopting one child from overseas into our home, what about supporting children being raised in orphanages overseas where they are being raised in their culture to be arrows there. “You don’t have to biologically reproduce in order to become a spiritual parent….. You can invest time, talents, prayer, money, possessions and skills into shaping kids locally, nationally, or even internationally.” (P77)

More specific examples are given of how people are doing this today throughout the world.

 Chapter 7: Mobilise Bows

Covered the Bible story about a wealthy man giving his three servants care of his finances whilst he went on his trip and how they either did or didn’t make a profit whilst he was away. Talked about thousands of children around the world gathered from hopeless, purposeless lives and being shaped into arrows. The author then explains that the bows to fire these arrows are the resources, specifically the finances, that make it possible to be able to shape the arrows and fire them. The author goes on to explain that even one lot of $30 per month for supporting one child, can make a huge difference. It is up to us to give what little we have and let God use it mightily.

 The author encourages you to look at where your finances can make the most amount of difference. Do your homework first and look at how the money is being used. She also encourages you to give to an orphanage or ministry overall than to a specific child and let the ministry work out how to use it most effectively. The author encourages you to pray and seek God for where best for you to invest your money in the Kingdom, but also to look at your passions. Does your heart burn more for educating a child or for rescuing children from being sex-trafficked? Put you money where your heart is. Will you make a difference?

 Chapter 8: Count the Cost

Julie explains that her and her husband built their dream home a number of years ago. She encourages us to “count the cost up front, putting as much time and energy into the planning and raising of our kids as we did building a lasting, quality home”.(p 108)

 Julie makes a bold statement with “The greatest earthly and eternal value that you and I could ever attach to our kids is to shape them into arrows for God.” (P 109)

 Julie went on to explain how virtually immediately after they had built their dream home, they felt God asking them to sell it to use the money to help establish an orphanage in Haiti.

 Chapter 9: Keep your eyes on the prize

Some great examples of what some people are doing on various parts of the world, really living on the edge and making a huge difference. I love the paragraph,

“If you ask me, the most worthwhile prize in all of this is that we’re teaching our children to invest in God’s Kingdom and to care about sending arrows. As part of the training process, we’re modelling for our kids how to cherish the opportunity to give to the mission. We want our kids to grow up putting their time, talents, and money into eternal investments, so that their hearts will follow close behind.” (P 133)

 Chapter 10: Land a Bull’s-Eye, Change the World

The author shared how most famous movements of God were started with young people. She then looked at the Bible and shared what young people in the Bible achieved. Then, she asked: ‘Will your children change their school for Christ?’, ‘Will your children change their culture for Christ?’, ‘Will your children change their country for Christ?’, ‘Will your children change their world for Christ?’.

 Julie’s statement “I have aimed far too low for my kids, and I have not adequately encouraged or readied them to reach their God-given potential.  I have lived as if the world is God’s gift to my children, instead of living like my children are God’s gift to the world.” (P 145) was very impacting. How high am I aiming?

 Julie then talks about some doubts we may experience with our situation and what we can do to really change the world. She encourages each of us to pursue God-Dreams.

 “Yes, you love your children. And I love my children. But God loves them so much more. We want the very best for them, but only God can give the very best to them.” (P148)

 Resources:

Julie has included 9 pages of resources – books, websites, parenting resources, and details of how to contact arrow ministries

 What I loved:

Basically this book has been great to give me the inspiration to help me take the next step in parenting my children. More inspiration than actual ‘how-to’s’.

 The negatives:

If you are not a Christian, you would probably not enjoy reading the book. It speaks directly to Christian parents about their God-given responsibility in raising their children.

 I would have liked the author to be up-front within the first couple of chapters about how she has raised her children, her divorce etc so that I knew where she was coming from. I was left ‘hanging’ for more than half the book, going ‘this is great about what other people are doing, but what have you done’.

 What have I done as a result of reading this book?

Firstly, I encouraged my husband to read the book so that we were both on the same page. Secondly, I have prayed and asked God where do we start with our kids. Thirdly, we are starting to look at how we change around what we do as a family at our evening meal, when we have family devotions, how we do it etc. I am also looking at taking my kids through a basic format of a personal devotion each day, thinking of using the SOAP method. (S = read Scripture, O = write down observations of what they have read, A = write down how it applies to themselves, P = pray about it).

 It has also encouraged me to be bolder in praying for my kids and their future, asking the impossible for them.

 Princess and myself have started reading the book “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris. After only the first few chapters, Princess is asking a lot of questions about what we have read and the things that these teenagers are accomplishing. My aim is to help Princess realise that it can be normal for her to accomplish big things and have big goals and dreams as a teenager.

 Where can I obtain a copy of the book?

This book is now out of print so it was not easy to obtain. I googled www.booko.org.au and they are great at showing you where you can obtain a copy of the book anywhere in the world and the total cost, including postage, to buy it. I sourced our copy through abebooks.

 Details:

Name of book: “One Million Arrows : Raising your Children to Change the World”

Author: Julie Ferwerda

Publisher: WinePress Publishing, Copyright 2009

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