"You can’t be on mission to your kids, if you don’t take your kids on mission." Tweet this
Our church family is blessed with a lot of kids. I mean, seriously, a lot! Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3)… and sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes just looking into the face of a child can remind you of the goodness of God. Sometimes the things our children do can teach us about God’s character. Sometimes we grow in ways we never would have before by teaching our children.
But look, I get it - sometimes the reality of raising our kids is downright difficult, stressful and hectic. Sometimes the simple thought of getting our kids dressed and out of the house seems completely overwhelming. So it’s no surprise that one of the biggest obstacles we come across as a church striving to engage in God’s mission of reconciliation to the world is the question, “What do I do with my kids?”
One of the more encouraging answers to that question is the reminder that your kids are part of the mission, too. We are called to train our children up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) and to be diligent about teaching them God’s Word, both in intentional times of study and in teachable on-the-go moments (Deut. 6:7). Basically, we're called to disciple our children, just as we're called to go and make disciples of all nations. Children are unmistakably part of God’s mission of reconciliation.
It can be a great comfort to tell yourself you are not engaging in missional living in other areas of life or with the church, because you are currently devoted to being on mission to teach and train your kids.
It can also be a copout.
If we are going to be on mission with our kids and disciple them in the ways of Christ, we must do this in the same way we are called to make disciples of any other person - in the same way we ourselves need to be discipled - in the same way Jesus discipled.
Jesus called people to follow him and to live life with him. Along the way, he not only taught them but he took them on his mission. He showed them how he came to heal the sick, restore sight to the blind and raise the dead. He didn’t just tell them of it through Scripture. He showed them. Then, he asked them to take part in it. He sent them out two by two. He asked them to see what resources the crowd had before he fed the five thousand. Ultimately, he sent them out with the power of his Spirit and asked them to do things they never could do on their own.
Your discipleship is no different. And neither are your kids.
If you’re going to disciple your children, to teach them God’s Word and how to live in God’s ways, then this teaching must include doing. The learning must include action. Your children must see you living on mission and answering the great commission Jesus gave to go and make disciples. Our kids must see us feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, serving our church family, and speaking Good News to those around us.
Then, ask them to take part in it with you. You will eventually have to send them out on their own, so equip them now by asking them to live on mission with you. Ask them to take part in things they could never do on their own, because you are there to help - and more importantly, so they can learn what Jesus said; that he is with them always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Discipling your kids and training them up in the way they should go is inseparable from taking them with you on God’s mission to bring Good News of reconciliation.
Don't be afraid of bringing them along to serve with your missional community. Allow your missional community to help you with your kids and be part of discipling them. Take them along with you to serve others. Don't wait for the perfect missional opportunity that is easy for kids or entertaining for them. Bring them into God's mission in everyday life.