My desire is for people to start understanding how to make their normal everyday hectic lives intentional for bring others to know Jesus. Part of this desire derives from the closeness of my family and the watching the families of today being beat up and torn down. My hope is that this article and articles like this help the family live as Christ. It is originally posted in its entirety on the Verge Network site. The link to the original post can be found below. Enjoy.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he left his disciples with the following words:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
Clearly, going and making disciples must be a high priority for all who follow Jesus. Some families are called to go to the nations, to proclaim the gospel among those who have not had a chance to hear. Their stories are certainly inspiring, and hopefully many more families will join them. However, not everyone will respond to this call to make disciples by going abroad.
As we see in Acts 1:8, this command of Jesus to make disciples is not just for those going to the “end of the earth.” Jesus commanded his followers to be his witnesses both near and far:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV)
How can families best obey Acts 1:8 in their neighborhoods and schools?
So what does mission look like for those of us who are not going abroad? How can families best obey this commandment of our Lord to make disciples and be his witnesses right where they are?
Not Activity, But Identity
Sometimes, when a family hears this call to mission, what they actually hear is that they need to “do more things” in order to be on mission. And if the calendar is already full, as it often is, the message to make disciples can feel like a heavy burden rather than the easy yoke that Jesus promises in Matthew 11:30.
If your family’s calendar is indeed full, the chances are that your family is coming into close, regular contact with those who do not have faith in Christ. Your son’s soccer team, your daughter’s theater class, your PTA meeting, your Gymboree class – these are all mission fields ripe for the harvest. What most families need is not to do more things, but to live out their calling as a missionary in the things they are already doing. To be on mission, families don’t need a shift in activity, but a shift in identity.
“To be on mission, families don’t need a shift in activity, but a shift in identity.”
As Christians, we are not people who “do ministry.” We are ministers. We are not people who “do mission.” We are missionaries. And as we live out our identity as missionaries, we will start to see our everyday activities as opportunities to be witnesses for Christ. As Peter puts it,
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
Giving to Those in Need
Parents should involve their children on mission to those who are less fortunate than they are. Scripture is replete with examples of God’s people sharing their possessions with those who are in need, and we do well to follow this example.
“Children are usually eager to be on mission to those in need.”
As you go about your daily lives, you will encounter others who are less fortunate than you. Children are usually eager to be on mission to those in need, and parents need to encourage and support this godly desire.
Mission as Discipleship
As parents lead their children on mission, they aren’t just benefiting others, they are benefiting their children as well. As James rightly points out, a faith in Christ that does not lead to mission and good works is no faith at all:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 ESV)
“As parents lead their children on mission they are benefiting their children.”
If we want to demonstrate a faith to our children that is alive, a faith that can save them, we need to live our lives on mission.