Being a Family on Mission
Do you have a plan for getting your children involved in missions? When we think of missions, Matthew 28:19-20 typically comes to mind. This is the classic passage where Jesus commissions the disciples after his resurrection. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Great marching orders for the church! But what about a strategy to fulfill this command? Do you have one?
If you don’t have a current plan of how your family is going to be strategically involved in missions, consider Jesus last words to His disciples in Acts chapter 1:8b. “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus words here could be all the strategy that you need to get your family involved in a process of missions. Plan out mission activity close to home while your children are young and progressively stretch them away from home as they get older. But first, start in your Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is where the disciples were located when they received this command from Jesus. In other words, Jesus is saying to start right where you are at. Inviting your neighbors over for a barbecue at your house while being intentional about sharing your Savior with them is doing missions in your Jerusalem. Getting involved in a domestic mission project through your local church can also be an option. May 4th our church family will be involved with several other St. Louis churches in a multi-venue event called St. Louis United. Several of the venues are places where all my children can serve. My wife and I and our 5 children ages 15 all the way down to 6 will be doing mission work that day! Jerusalem is getting involved in our own backyards. If your children are young, it only makes sense to start doing mission work close to home. Choose your Jerusalem first.
“Judea and Samaria”
When Christ says, “Judea and Samaria,” he is stretching out from where the disciples were located when they received the command. Judea was to the south while Samaria was to the north of Jerusalem. As your children get older, begin to show them the needs of other communities by going on mission outside of your city and state. As children get older, it should be natural for them to become better travelers, less needy and more helpful. Plan a trip for your children to a different city or even state when they are old enough to handle it. Get your family involved at a homeless shelter or other ministry that is making a difference outside of your Jerusalem. Make sure that whatever project you are involved with, that the preaching of the gospel is the most important piece. Communicate to your children that being on mission may require some hard-work and sweat, but it is only true mission work when the gospel is proclaimed to the lost. Finally, Jesus says,
“to the ends of the earth.”
Save money along with your children to go on an international trip before they leave the home. Encourage them to do lemonade stands when they are young, help with garage sales and other activities that can help them save and look forward to this great experience! Replace a family vacation with a family mission trip! Instead of being consumers for a week of your summer, be givers! The Joshua Project currently estimates that 41% of the world is still unreached with the gospel!1 Each family should do their part to do missions in their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and ends of the earth.
In 2018 my wife and I had the opportunity to take our 11 and 12 year old daughters on an international mission trip to Zambia, Africa. We challenged them to journal each day of the experience to both remember details and write down how God was using it to change their lives. The experience was truly a game-changer for them. Their introduction to poverty on that scale broke their hearts for both the physical and spiritual condition of the lost. They were both instrumental in helping lead a VBS for poor children who were attending Christian school. Both my daughters sponsor a little girl at the school that you can see sitting with them in the featured image. They realized through this trip that God was using them to change a little girls life all the way across the ocean. The experience challenged them to share their faith and to love those who have been forgotten by the world. Please encourage your children to dream big for the Kingdom of God and then take steps to get them involved. They can and will make a difference. Be a family on mission!
All Scriptures quoted from the NASB Bible