12 Nov De-compartmentalize Your Family Mission
“Mom, we can always slide our chairs in to create another space.” Those words recently uttered by our 6 year old over breakfast, served as a reminder that children can be on mission and sometime lead us with their uncluttered perspective.
I’ll explain her comments in a moment, but first please allow me to backtrack a bit.
While we were dating, my wife and I often talked about adoption. Those talks accelerated after having our son. Today, we have 4 kids, two biological and two who were adopted, and we’re currently fostering a 5th child. Adoption and fostering has been woven into the fabric of our family. Perhaps this has made it easier for us to cultivate the idea of mission within our family.
However, we, like most families in our church and culture, build walls that segment our lives like the cubbies our children place their book bags in at school. Life is much easier to manage when we have neat boxes to check for work, family time, and serving. What causes us to create these unnatural divides? More importantly, is this the way we’re intended to be the hands and feet of God?
Life is much easier to manage when we have neat boxes to check for work, family time, and serving.
I can’t be sure of the exact cause, but it could stem from a misunderstanding of the gospel that has crept into our faith lives. I grew up in a fundamentalist church. In that environment, we checked off lists that made us a better Christian. If we didn’t drink, smoke, or listen to rock music, then we claimed a moral high ground. This compulsion to check a box bleeds over into a view of serving God. That is, if we go to church, work hard, do a seasonal mission activity, then we must be living out our faith.
Several years ago, our family signed up to bring a meal to the children at Miracle Hill every third Friday night of the month. We went somewhat reluctantly at first. That first night we stayed and played with the kids and listened to their stories. As we got into the car to drive away, the buzz in the car was tangible. Our children have given up time with friends or invited them to join us. The time we spend there is more memorable and enjoyable than our former normal family time activities, like watching a movie.
In the days and weeks following that visit, I began to think through what caused the buzz within our family. I now believe that Christ places a burning within the heart of every believer to live out their faith. However, that fire is subdued by the harrowed pace of life. That night all of our hearts brushed past the flame and it kindled something within our family.
I now believe that Christ places a burning within the heart of every believer to live out their faith. However, that fire is subdued by the harrowed pace of life.
Do you have a family mission? If not, here are a few questions and actions to consider towards creating one:
1.What are you naturally drawn towards? If you don’t know, go serve at a soup kitchen, women’s shelter, children’s home, or simply go visit your neighbor. Then discuss and evaluate what resonates.
2.Reject the notion that family time has to be a consumer driven activity. Will your children remember or learn more from a trip to the mall or serving together?
3.Begin to regularly ask your children about who they are serving at school. (That question also applies to you.)
4.Rethink the way you view work. Are you collecting a check or do you see the people and faces around you? Do you listen to their stories?
5.Rethink the way you view your neighbors. Instead of obsessing about how loud their dog barks, invite them over for dinner.
So, what was our daughter talking about that morning at breakfast? We were discussing how our family and house was full with 5 children, and we couldn’t add more. Our daughter reminded us that sometimes we just need to move a few chairs around to make space. What can you rearrange to take your family on mission?