I sent my kids back to school this week. “Sending” is such an inherently missional word, isn’t it? When we send something, we send it with a purpose. I send packages to encourage others. I send checks to pay bills. We believe that we have been sent to our community to show the love of God. Our family has sought to be missional in all that we do.
So, as I send my kids back to school, I am thoughtful of the missional implications.
1. Sending in the way of Jesus
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21, NIV)
How exactly did the Father send Jesus? As a baby. Fragile. In the care of others. As a young one with room to grow. God sent Jesus out of safety and into the world. He sent him to “the least of these.”
Now, this hits home. As I send my sweet little ones to school, I am so aware of how much room they have to grow. I am deeply aware of sending them out of the safety of my home and into the world, into the care of others. Just as God sent a His son to become a human, to reach humans, He could send a child to reach children. He could send a family to reach families.
2. To the least of these
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV)
Jesus can be found in the least of these. He associated with the downtrodden and the outcasts of society. His disciples were Jews who were looked over by the other Rabbis of the time. This is a point I have worked to instill into our children. I have worked to teach them to not treat anyone as if they are different. We talk about loving the unlovable in their class at school. We ask them to look for those who are “unreached” in their class. I ask my children who they play with, and I ask them to look around and see if there is anyone being left out.
3. Discipleship by imitation
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34, NIV)
In his last day on earth, Jesus showed the disciples in action all he was calling them to do. He washed their feet and He depended on the Father in prayer. Jesus called His disciples to imitate him in these things.
In the same way, our actions speak much louder to our little ones than our words. Do we love the least of these? Do we reach out to all people in our churches or our communities the same? Do we invite others into our homes that are different than us? Do we look around intentionally for those who are unreached in our midst? These things will live on in our children’s minds much longer than any pep talk we could possibly give. I am convicted, even in writing this.
Now, I am very aware that there is a far cry between God sending his son to earth to redeem the world, and me sending my son to kindergarten to learn to read. But I am also aware of the Father’s heart. He is near to me as a parent in this sending. He is asking me to model for my children all that I expect out of them. As I send them, the Father is sending me.
Are you interested in family discipleship? Get Winfield Bevins’, Grow at Home: A Beginners Guide to Family Discipleship from our store.
In From the Steeple to the Street: Innovating Mission and Ministry Through Fresh Expressions of Church Travis Collins offers us a new model for engaging in God’s mission. Get it from our store here.