Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One Million Arrows: A Book Review

I realize that it's a little ridiculous for anyone to send me a book to review regarding parenting. Clearly, I'm no expert. Unless, of course, they simply thought I needed all the help I can get . . . hmmm.
Regardless of the wisdom behind it, I was excited to be given the opportunity to read One Million Arrows (by Julie Ferwerda) and share a little bit with y'all about it. I appreciate Julie's heart so much, she is one of those rare Christians who actually puts feet to her faith. And that's what this book is all about, teaching your children how to be more than just nominal "Christians," but to become men and women of God who live out their faith in radical ways.
Julie exhorts all parents to disciple their children to "impact the world instead of the world impacting their children." Hello? Could it be that she climbed up in my brain and somehow put words to the deepest desires of my heart for Jayci? It doesn't matter all that much to me if Jayci is "happy" or "successful" by the world's standards. What I do desire is her passionately in love with and pursuing Christ. Unfortunately, it seems far easier to teach someone to follow a certain set of standards set forth by the world for success than it is to teach them to be a true disciple of Christ. And that, my friends, is precisely why I was so eager to read this book.

The book is divided into three main sections, and the middle section is specifically dedicated to the topic of HOW to 'sharpen' your arrows (which I now realize probably sounds really weird without having read the book). Julie talks to real-life parents who have successful raised children who are passionately pursuing Christ in BIG ways. Heck, she even talks to Tim Tebow's parents (and I'm no Florida Gator fan, but I have to admit that Tim is a stand-up guy). I feel like I was able to take away some great insight from the book, as well as some practical ideas. One thing I will say, however, is that I felt like this whole section was pretty heavily slanted towards the idea of homeschooling your kids. . . And I just don't know how I feel about that yet. I mean, I'm not necessarily opposed to it or think it's a bad thing, I'm just not convinced it's the right route for our family.

The third section of the book focuses on "launching" your arrows (sending them out to serve the world and reach people for Christ). Again, I loved this part of the book with one small caveat: I felt like Julie didn't focus on any missions or ministry opportunities in the United States. Her emphasis was on short-term mission trips and overseas missions. While I agree that there are definite and desperate needs abroad, I also think that often it is easy to overlook opportunities for our children to be disciples and impact the world in their own community.

Throughout the book, you get to know Papa–Dr. M.A. Thomas. He was the inspiration behind the book and the movement, One Million Arrows. She shares about Papa that "God gave him the vision of gathering one million orphaned and abandoned children, sharpening them as “arrows for God,” and launching them to start one million churches in the these communities of India who had never heard the name of Jesus. He has been faithfully working toward the vision since, and today he has launched 16,000 orphan arrows as ambassadors of Christ into India, and planted 21,000 churches."

Julie writes, “I have underestimated what God can do through my kids now” (144). Most parents, myself included, grossly underestimate what their children are capable of at young ages.

So, in summary (what? that's how I ended all my school book reports), I'd highly recommend this book for any parent who doesn't want to underestimate their children as followers of Christ. The truth is that sometimes praying for my child to be an arrow for Christ means I will have to let her go. And it will probably be painful. But it's so worth it, because following HIM is far more important and fulfilling than any other standard of child-rearing.

*Julie shared our story on the One Million Arrows blog, you can read it here if you want.

*If you're interested in another perspective on the book, and a chance to win some beads from Uganda, you can visit my friend Emily's blog (ok she's a friend of a friend and we've never actually talked . . . but her blog rocks).


  1. Interesting! I've heard of lots of parenting books, but hadn't heard of this one. I'll keep an eye out for it!

  2. Sounds like a great book and one I need to read : ) I love your review of it--you're so honest!

  3. I too struggle with the homeschooling idea. I feel that there are MUCH better teachers out there than me...hence the reason, I'm not one. I also wonder if that is not the extreme of sheltering our children. How do they learn all the different people/cultures of the world when I don't even allow them to learn their own community? TOTALLY agree with the ministry in our own backyard...always get overshadowed by international ministry. I think it takes so much more to be an example of Christ all the time for people you are around more than 2 weeks a year. Just my two cents on that! :)

  4. Hey Rebecca, Julie Ferwerda (author) here. I really appreciate this honest and thoughtful review. I thought I'd let you know that we recently thought about the gap of not mentioning more about our own country, and have plans to include stuff on that in our 2nd edition, including our own orphan and foster needs in our own backyard!

    As far as homeschooling--I don't think it's a good idea for everyone. I didn't do it and honestly I don't even know if I would have been able to do it. But one thing I did love was the idea that whenever our kids are home with us (evenings and summer), it's an opportunity to school them in the faith!

    Thanks again for allowing your family to be a part of our journey!


  5. wow.. I would love to read this sometime this summer...I have a list of books I am intrested in read..cant wait to hear more.
    Thanks for posting :)

  6. Hey, I so want to check out that book. I work for a Christian mentoring ministry for at-risk youth. My husband and I purposely looked for our home in a "forgotten" neighborhood. We have such good intentions, but it's been hard to put serving in our neighborhood into practical ideas. I would love any ideas you guys have. I LOVE reading your blog and am praying for your house to sale!

  7. Oh, and we are over half way done in the process of becoming foster/adopt parents through the state! Thankful to read about someone who follows so closely to my own heart!


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