Book Review: Family to Family: Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Dr. Jerry Pipes is on staff with the North American Mission Board leading the Prayer and Spiritual Awakening Team. Dr. Pipes is also president of Jerry Pipes Productions. Dr. Pipes has traveled the globe speaking to millions of people in conferences, crusades and assemblies. He has authored four books and produced numerous booklets and training processes with over 18 million copies in print. Dr. Pipes and his wife, Debra, have two children and live in the metro Atlanta area.

Victor Lee is the pastor of Young Adults and Families at First Baptist Concord, Knoxville, TN. A professional writer for 22 years, Lee entered vocational ministry in 1995. He contributes regularly to a variety of Christian publications as well as serving as editor. Lee lives in Knoxville, TN with his wife Judy.



In this book entitled, Family to Family, Pipes and Lee set a course within six chapters that outlines ways that parents can pass on their Christian legacy to their children.  This will, in return, reduce the rate of kids who leave the evangelical church as soon as they reach the age of 18.  This six chapter text is filled with great ideas on how a family can grow closer together, while at the same time taking Christ into their communities and reaching out. 

The authors present what they have observed to be an absence of parental involvement in the home.  This book takes a positive tone in that it does not dwell on the negatives, but presents them in a brief manner and offers solutions to fix the issues.  In fact, a majority of the book is dedicated to easy to follow steps where families can first get their own house in order then go out and get involved in the Great Commission.  At the end of every chapter is a section entitled “Steps to making it yours.”  There are many great resources (I have used some with my family) that are designed to help your family grow spiritually and as a unit.  These resources include readiness questions, family building activities, and family applications.

“This family has fallen victim to the American culture (pg.5).”  This one statement is a brief synopsis of what chapter one is all about.  It is about the family being so busy going, to the store, basketball practice, ballet, soccer, and even church that they spent almost no time together as a unit.  Pipes and Lee do a fantastic job of defining just what an unhealthy family is (pg. 5-7).  They go on to give the seven marks of a hurried family and they are the following:  1. can’t relax 2.  Can’t enjoy quiet 3.  Never feel satisfied  4.  Absence of absolutes  5.  They are suffering servants  6.  There is a storm rumbling beneath the calm  7.  They are overachievers (pg. 8).  Pipes and Lee go on to describe what God intended for the family to be.  The author’s brought out a great quotation by Henry Drummond that sums it all up.  “The family circle is the supreme conductor of Christianity (pg. 8).”  Pipes and Lee go on to say that the family consists of a Father, mother, and children, but they do not ignore those single parent households.  They say that both families are to be accountable to the principles that God has set forth (pg. 9).   The principle that hit closest to home is that the parents should set a Godly example for the children.  This principle is imperative should we every try to lead out children to Christ.  They must see Christ in us.  The theme of this chapter is that a healthy family is one who “quantity and quality time” together (pg. 11).

The whole theme of chapter two is the development of a family mission statement.  For those of us with business backgrounds a mission statement is basically a statement of purpose.  It outlines what we want to be and how we are going to get there.  Pipes and Lee claim that utilizing a family mission statement will serve as a centerline (pg. 25).  A mission statement may be beneficial in some cases, but 20 pages to describe why it is important is a little much.  The examples at the beginning of the chapter ring true for any family and should be taken into consideration.  The following excerpt from page 27 goes a long way in summarizing the chapter.  “A family mission statement must not be just a set of words, but a description of lifestyle-one that is consistent with and reflective of the Word of God.  If you serve Christ, you serve His purposes.”

In chapter three Pipes and Lee devote themselves to writing about how to pass your faith on to the next generation.  “It is not the church’s sole responsibility-or anyone else’s-to win your children to Christ and mentor them spiritually (pg. 43).”  Pipes and Lee go step by step from childhood to you adulthood and outline strategies to share.  If any one chapter in this book should be read this is it.  The authors also do a great job on outlining how parents should model their very own faith (pg. 49-50).  Pipes and Lee use seven key elements to pass the message along (pg. 52).  Those seven elements are modeling, be there, affirm them, pray with them and for them, be transparent, empower your children, and make the Word of God central in what you do (pg. 52-57).  The chapter ends by outlining the importance of worshipping as a family.

The next two chapters discuss the necessity of families evangelizing their communities.  Pipes and Lee simply urge the family to get out their house as a first step to evangelizing.  There is simply no way that the Gospel can be shared if we remain in the comfort of our own homes.  “If we want our children to accept the gospel, then our commitment to Christ must spill over to those around us who do not know Christ (pg. 70).”  This allows the children to observe the parents comforting those who are lost, and allow them to see Christ through their parents instead of at church every week.  It allows the parents the opportunity to show their faith in action, and to prove that it can be done.  This is especially important to kids, because peer pressure is getting harder and harder to overcome. 

Pipes and Lee also go on to discuss the importance of knowing those whom you live by (pg. 72).  How many of us know our neighbors?   How can the family go unto the world to share the Gospel if they do not know who lives next door?  The family needs to get out of the house and perform some kind deed which will eventually uncover the opportunity to share the Gospel (pg. 73).  One concept that hit close to home is the concept of our own needs must be a lower priority (pg. 74).  If we are to show our children how to minister to others then we must decrease our own needs so God can increase.  Since we are all human there will be times when this will be flipped upside down, but we must keep trying.  Pipes and Lee offer many great evangelism ideas for those close to us.  Whether they be acquaintances, neighbors, friends, or someone we met on the street there are evangelism ideas for everyone.

Chapter six is dedicated to the essentials of evangelism particularly the importance of prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit, and relational/intentional evangelism.  The work of these three is essential before preparing to share the Gospel with a neighbor, or will anyone for that matter.  In regards to prayer pipes and Lee say it best, “You cannot be an on-mission Christian, one that carries the message, the power, the strength, and salvation of the Father unless you are in daily communication with the mission commander (pg. 104).”  Prayer is the foundation of evangelism.  Prayer sets the Holy Spirit to work not in ourselves, but in those around us.  When we speak to God, He speaks back.  Pipes and Lee tell us that the Holy Spirit is our source of power (pg. 107).  The Holy Spirit will be will us as helper, comforter, teacher, and will remind us of what we already know (pg. 107). 


            Pipes and Lee set out to tell us that the American family is broken.  Everyone is going their own direction, and are helping everyone but for the wrong reasons.  They profoundly lay out a battle plan to help families turn things around, and to reach those around them.  They offer their solutions based on the Biblical principles of the family.  The arguments for what the family has become, and what it should be are presented logically and backed by the power of scripture. 

            Pipes and Lee went out of their way to produce a book that does not only have useful information, but a book that can be used by every member of the family.  This can be used by using the “Steps to making it Work” section at the end of every chapter, utilizing the family activities, and using the family readiness questions as a type of quiz to test knowledge of the material presented. 

            The major drawback for me was found in chapter two, and it was the mission statement.  A mission statement is not a bad idea, but the chapter was just too long.  In most business classes the importance of a mission statement is discussed in three to four pages of test.  Pipes and Lee use over twenty pages for it.  In chapter one they credit business as one of the main distractions for the family, but they themselves started speaking as corporate suits in regards to mission statements.  The topic is important, but it was ironic just the same. 


            Overall Pipes and Lee turned out a magnificent work that is destined to help families from all walks of life.  We often hear the horror stories of a bad family, but if the lessons in this book are utilized that can be changed one family at a time.  It starts with the parents communicating the word of God to the children.  When the children see their parents on fire for God then they will catch fire.  The work is backed up by scripture at every turn, and encourages the reader to engage in said activities.  When these activities are used along with Godly living the legacy of faith should be expected instead of hoped for.  Pipes and Lee lay out a plan to improve the family based on the Bible and prayer.  With God at the center of any plan it will not fail.


Pipes, Jerry F, and Victor Lee. Family to Family: Leaving a Lasting Legacy. Alpharetta, GA: North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1999.

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