A Review of One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda

If we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, then we also proclaim our commitment to being on mission with Him. As Jesus came to bring the Father glory, so we also are His ambassadors who reflect this same passion and desire. As parents, we also have the responsibility of raising up another generation of Jesus followers – arrows to be sent out by God in response to His call and mission. It is to this end that Julie Ferwerda writes to us in One Million Arrows.

The book is divided into 3 parts. First, Ferwerda “gathers” the reader behind the concept that we are to be busy with the mission of Christ while we are here on the earth. She reflects on her role model of “Papa” who has given his life to raising “one million arrows” for Christ. We are drawn to this man who cares not only for the natural family but for his spiritual children who are growing in number as he continues in his faithfulness to God’s call.

In the second part, we are given real and practical ways to “sharpen” our children into this mission-minded arrows. Ferwerda continues to call parents to make whatever changes necessary to see this eternal mission come to center stage. “Raising arrows isn’t just another formula to follow or another list of to-dos.  It’s a mentality, a lifestyle, and a change of priorities that permeates the whole family’s lives and schedules, centering everyone on God’s priorities and plans (54).” She also provides real-life examples of families who have determined to be on mission together and the variety of ways they do so. As Ferwerda’s children go to public school and the Harris family have homeschooled, One Million Arrows reveals ways families can become mission-focused regardless of their schooling choice. The focus here is on practical insights from a variety of families that relate to wherever you are as a parent. Just like “Papa,” Ferwerda also calls us to think outside our natural families to investing in other children as part of the mission. In her words, “I think investing in other kids is one of the best ways to get our kids spiritually and emotionally engaged in this aspect of the mission (75).”

The mission would not be complete without an intentional “launching” of our children in the mission of God. Ferwerda calls parents to count the cost and realize that “just when all the work is done, and you start getting all comfortable and settled, enjoying the results of your hard work in your amazing, well-built house, you find out that God suddenly wants it back (109).” Our children belong to God, and we must be prepared ourselves as well as preparing our children for “launch.”

In One Million Arrows, we are given a clear and passionate plea to refocusing our pursuits from the American dream to the God mission. We see this clearly in “The Pledge” used by Papa  for his Bible college graduates, and we can see it as the author opens up her own heart and life before us. Ferwerda admits, “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 this world (145).” If we were all honest, I don’t know many parents who would be able to say any different.

If you are serious about becoming a family who responds in obedience to God’s call to be on mission with Him, this book is an essential read.

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