The Missional Family

There were moments during the 36 hours of car rides, airplane rides, layovers, metro rides, bus rides, taxi rides (with no car seat), and stroller rides that I thought we might have been a little crazy to have flown our toddler around the world.

I was exhausted. She was exhausted. My husband was exhausted. But we had the best time serving overseas with an unreached people group together as a family. Since becoming a mom, I’m not always the adventurous type. Having lived overseas before, I am also not a romantic-missions type. I know what can happen when you travel to a third-world country. But I kept hearing the familiar verse of 2 Corinthians 12:9 over and over again: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

It is never in my control to keep my family safe, provided for, or healthy. There are basic, common sense things we can do to try to achieve these things, but true sovereignty of life rests with the One Who gives us life and sustains it. When we think we can control our family and we sacrifice reaching the lost for this control, we are missing the point of the gospel: He died so we might live—so we can worship Him freely and be obedient to Him always—so that His glory might be known among all nations. It is in His power to lead us, and it is our responsibility to follow Him.

The missional family does not look like the typical American family. We have to lay down our lives and the comforts of our children for the sake of others to hear the gospel. We have to step out in faith and teach our children what it means to share the gospel with others and cross cultural barriers to do so. We make sacrifices to live a simpler life where our resources are free to give to those in need. We invite the lost and those living in community with us into our home and extend hospitality to those who are truly our neighbors no matter if they are different from us.

We teach our children the Word and model a life of prayer to them. This means living life with them. When children are in school for 8 hours a day, rushed to practices or events after school and on weekends, and then taken to church (when it doesn’t interfere with the former things) for their spiritual needs, we miss being parents who are discipling our children. We can and should say no to some of the cultural expectations of being busy for the sake of being disciple-makers of our children.

A missional family looks different. That doesn’t mean we don’t get involved in community or life with others, but it does mean we do life with a different purpose. We seek to glorify God by making disciples of all nations and we believe this begins in our home and extends to others from there.

Let us rely on the power of Christ to direct our steps, to show us ways to share the Word and serve the world, and to lead us to be a missional family as we go.

​Bekah Rivers* is a momma to a darling little girl (and a sweet pup), wife to a pastor, and advocate for all believers to be on mission.

*Name changed.

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