As a pastor, it can be really easy to focus entirely on mission through the church I lead while completely ignoring mission through the family of which I am a part. However, no matter how great of a preacher, discipler, and spiritual leader I am in the church, my impact as a pastor pales in comparison to my impact as a father and husband.
No matter what your vocation and no matter what family looks like for you, the same is true. The ones with whom you are closest will be the ones on whom you will have the most impact spiritually. We MUST invest in making disciples at home.
This does not mean we ignore those outside of our families. Christ sent His first disciples beyond their walls to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” He calls his disciples to mission in the world today beyond the four walls of our homes, as well.
Our problem is that we do not have a vision for how families can participate together in mission. We mistakenly think we must choose between time with family and time doing mission, abandoning one for the sake of the other. This happens far too often in the lives of leaders of all fields, who are successful in the world but whose personal and family lives are train wrecks.
Or, we mistakenly think we must try to do both, balancing time with family against time making disciples and living on mission. The problem here is that we end up not being particularly effective at either.
What if, as a family, you prayerfully consider what kind of mission you can embark on together? Instead of making the choice between family OR mission, or instead of trying to balance family AND mission, you live as a family ON mission?
This weekend, our family hosted the high school students of our church for dinner and a game night. Our two young children were full participants in the evening. They made pizza, prayed for the meal, ate, and played games shoulder-to-shoulder with us and the high schoolers.
The evening was about beginning to build community and our daughters were as much a part of that as any of us. The payoff for me was this morning when Emma, our four year old, said to my wife, “Mommy, we really need to have those high school kids over again!”
Our children are learning that our life as a family is not just about what we do together. It is about what we do together as disciples of Jesus on a mission to make disciples.
Mission begins at home…but it doesn’t end there. Family on mission has the effect of multiplying your discipling efforts both in the home and beyond it. To me, this is the only sustainable way that everyday followers of Jesus living in a culture of busyness can participate in living out the Great Commission. I believe it is also the most effective.
Is there a mission you can see your family living out together?