How can we balance our passion for missions with our hearts for our homes? Do we have to choose between “raising our kids” and “reaching the lost”—or is it possible to do both?
As parents, we’re called to raise our kids; and as Christians, we’re called to reach the lost. We really can’t fulfill one of these callings, if we choose to neglect the other.
As I was writing The Mission-Minded Family, I felt especially led to evaluate the homes and family-lives of well-known missionaries. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that many missionary heroes with families were not heroes of the family. Some of the most prominent names in mission history had horrible problems at home; while other leaders (such as William and Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army or Hudson and Maria Taylor) found a powerful ministry-family balance.
As I began to delve deeper into these examples, I searched for clues and common-denominators for those godly world-changing leaders who had God-glorifying homes. And I believe I found the key. It’s PRAYER. The men and women of God who focused primarily on seeking the Lord and their personal devotion to Him (rather than focusing on a merely a successful ministry) seemed to find God’s divine balance for each day. As a result, not only did their ministries glorify God, but their families did as well.
Author and international minister Dr. David Shibley says, “The normal Christian life is anything but balanced, as popularly defined . . . The normal Christian life is high risk and high joy. The normal Christian life releases the temporal to embrace the eternal . . . God is not calling us to win the world and, in the process, lose our families. But I have known those who so enshrined family life and were so protective of “quality time” that the children never saw the kind of consuming love that made their parents’ faith attractive to them. Some have lost their children, not because they weren’t at their soccer games or didn’t take family vacations, but because they never transmitted a loyalty to Jesus that went deep enough to interrupt personal preferences.”
I want my family to have that kind of consuming love, with high risk and high joy. I want to live out my faith in a way that is not only attractive, but also compelling and irresistible! I want to be moved by the passions of God’s heart—and for my kids to take these godly passions to a deeper level. I want to hand off the baton to my descendants, and have them run faster and farther than I ever did.
Let’s raise our kids; let’s reach the lost; and let’s challenge the next generation to live for God with even greater boldness, wisdom, and effectiveness. Through Christ, all things are possible.
January 24, 2008
Ann Dunagan is the author of The Mission-Minded Family (Authentic Media, 2008), international minister alongside her husband, Jon Dunagan (http://www.harvestreport.net/missionminded.htm), and homeschooling mother of seven.