Most days our house looks like a war zone. The dishes spill over the top of the sink, the laundry remains in piles on the floor, glitter lines the hallways, ponies and Legos lie on the floor like land mines, and food from a toddler splatters the floor like a Rorschach Test. Life in our house is crazy.
And there’s a good chance that your house is no different. Maybe it’s not young kids that keep you busy, maybe it’s older kids that have school activities, teenagers that are going on dates, or your unexpected designation as the local animal sanctuary for all the stray cats.
But wherever you find yourself in life, there is a good chance that you could use one word to describe your life: busy.
Busyness affects all of us in one way or another, and for Christian families often affect our mission.
We rationalize away our need to disciple because we are so busy.
We reason with ourselves, “When I have more time I’ll disciple someone else” or “When life slows down I’ll tell someone about Jesus.”
And short of there being no time like the present to get started, there is one thing that makes our busyness so dangerous: our lives never slow down. Young children become older kids, older kids become teenagers, teenagers lead to young adults which leads to marriage, grandchildren, and retirement.
And meanwhile, people around us waste away without the Good News of the Gospel.
Busyness robs us of our our chance to live a purposeful life, substituting it for a life that’s been left ineffective and meaningless in Gospel advancement.
It’s easy for families to reason away missional living, but I want to encourage you to see family life not as an obstacle to mission, but an asset in it.
So here are four ways to use family life to live on mission:
- Parent on mission. Teach your children early what it means to love and follow Jesus. Share stories with them of lives changed by the Gospel, teach them to pray, and ask how they can be a blessing to their friends at school. When they see discipleship as a part of daily life, so will you (and you’ll be amazed at what your children can teach you).
- The home is a lighthouse, not a refuge. It’s easy to retreat when life gets busy. It’s easy to dim the lights and hide in the basement. Instead, think of your house as a place where mission can be lived front and center. Be willing to invite other people in, into the chaos, to know that in your life, Jesus makes a difference. Yes the laundry may not be put away, but it’s more important to live for Jesus than have a clean house.
- Nothing says hospitality like food. So the dishes are often dirty, but can’t that be a good thing? Using food as a way to break down barriers to people has worked for a long time (just ask Matthew or Zacchaeus). Maybe the best thing you can do for someone this week is to share a meal with them, encourage them, and pray for them.
- Authenticity opens doors that past religious experiences have closed. Almost everyone in America has been shaped by the church in some way: some positive and some negative. By showing our real and authentic selves to people (yes, the cat has a sucker stuck in its fur, so what!) we can break down walls that previous (negative) religious experiences have put up.
The reality is that if you wait until the house, your life, or your family is perfect (or at least acceptable) to live on mission and disciple people, you will never disciple anyone. Discipleship happens in the midst of life, not in spite of it.
The following two tabs change content below.
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture.
In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society.
I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith.
I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary.
I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.