If we really desire to be a "better parents" with a "better families" we need to look at life from God's perspective. Yes, God deeply loves andcares about our families. However, the end goal is not to produceamazing role-model kids, so others can put us on a pedestal.
The goal is not for our families to "look good" or to impress others. The goal is far-more than just being happy. As Christian parents, our mission should be God's mission.The purpose for our life, and for our families, is to know God and to glorify Him.
Being "mission-minded" is not just an occasional duty to consider,perhaps once each month when the offering basket comes by our pew. Instead, having a deep heart for God and His Great Commission, andbeing an active part of expanding His Kingdom (in whatever sphere of influence we're called to reach), should be at the central core of ourfamily life and parenting priorities.
How can we raise our kids to be more "mission-minded"?
As Christian parents, we're all called to establish Jesus Christ as the ultimate #1 priority in our lives. As families, and as individuals, only some of us will be called to fulltime foreign missionary service, yet we're ALL called (every family, every parent, and every kid) to be fulltime mission-minded believers. As Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China often said, "The Great Commission is not an option to consider, but a command to obey."
So, what is a mission-minded child?
A mission-minded child . . .
- dreams of fulfilling God's destiny.
- prays for that next-door neighbor.
- A mission-minded child may want to become a missionary-or a teacher or a doctor or a newspaper reporter or a state governor or a pastor or a businessperson or an airplane pilot or an author or a florist or a mother-as long as its what God wants.
- is not a picky eater!
- takes home a photo magnet from the visiting missionary family and puts it on the kitchen refrigerator.
- is healthy, active, and adventurous.
- spends a summer night sleeping outside on the trampoline, gazes up at a sky filled with twinkling stars, and realizes God's plan is infinitely bigger than his or her own backyard.
- imagines rollerblading on the Great Wall of China!
- recognizes the names of David Livingstone, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, and Loren Cunningham.
- knows how to use chopsticks.
- has a reputation for thoroughly enjoying the Bible sword drills and memory verse contests at church.
- puts extra money in the monthly missions offering and feels extra good inside.
thinks it could be fun to sleep in a mud hut in Africa!
- reads all the way through the Bible by the age of ten (or eleven or twelve), and is excited to start again!
- stares at the photos in the new geography textbook or magazine and imagines climbing to the top of that Egyptian pyramid, snorkeling in those tropical-blue waters, and giving a new outfit to that poor boy with the ripped-up shirt.
- befriends the new kid at school.
- thinks beyond the "box" of what's merely expected and hopes to do something big, or something little, for God.
- wants to obey (even when no one is looking).
- loves Jesus!
The famous missionary explorer to Africa, David Livingstone put it this way: "This generation can only reach this generation." But today, the question is, will we effectively raise our children to reach their generation for the Lord?
Let's focus on what matters. Let's spend time developing and "going deeper" in our relationship with the Lord and seeking to glorify Him in all that we do. Let's raise and train the next generation to have a fervent passion for Jesus Christ, as they live in the wonderful fear of God. If we seek first His Kingdom, "all these things" will be added unto us. And just wait! Your happy family and productive God-loving kids will be simply a bonus by-product.
This article is a highlight from Ann Dunagan's book, The Mission-Minded Child - Raising a New Generation to Fulfill God's Purpose (Authentic/Biblica).
And how about adding to our list? What are some specific ideas YOU have for raising and training your children to have a heart for God, and for His Kingdom? In your family's life and in your day-to-day routine, how can we focus more on God's priorities and purpose?