Last week, we wrote on the first half of our Verge | Family vision. Today, we want to expound on the second half of that vision: being on mission with your children.
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)
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.
Click to tweet: To be on mission, families don’t need a shift in activity, but a shift in identity. @verge_family
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)
Verge | Family desires to encourage, equip, and inspire you on your everyday mission to those who know you, but don’t yet know Jesus. We hope to show you how you can involve your children in making each day a day of mission and ministry.
Giving to Those in Need
In addition to resourcing families in their everyday mission, Verge | Family also wants to help parents 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.
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. We hope to provide ideas and encouragement to that end.
Click to tweet: Children are eager to be on mission to those in need, and parents need to encourage this godly desire. @verge_family
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)
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. In this way, Verge | Family hopes to help parents see mission as discipleship as well.
Click to tweet: If we want to demonstrate a faith to our children that is alive, we need to live our lives on mission. @verge_family
In all of these things – mission in the everyday, mission to those in need, and mission as discipleship – one of the most powerful ways to be equipped and encouraged is by hearing stories of others that God is using. For that reason, Verge | Family also will be providing stories of families on mission that God is using to seek and save the lost.
If you have any stories that you would like to share to encourage other families, or if you would like to suggest content that would be helpful in resourcing your family on mission, please email us. We would love to hear from you.