Despite the fact that family/team ministry is where I want to go with our crew, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what this really means. Why is having a ministry as a family important?
First of all, I think it’s a forgotten biblical value.
- God’s mandate to Adam was for Eve and their kids (and theirs) too.
- God didn’t save 8 unrelated righteous people from the flood. He intended for them to cooperate as a family in the re-population of the world.
- God seems to have been gracious to Lot, at least in part, because of his relationship with Abraham. He was certainly more gracious than He needed to be to Lot’s family.
- The flip side of this principle, as these passages demonstrate, is that righteousness is best preserved in the context of family.
- Jacob/Israel’s call was for his whole family.
- God’s hand in the life of Joseph was for his brothers’ sake. They all together had a family mandate.
- God gave the leadership of the departing Israelites not just to Moses, but his brother and sister as well.
- Aaron and his sons were the first priests.
- The promise was to David and his family.
There are a host of references to family in the New Testament – many of which talk about our relationship to the rest of the Body of Christ and as children of our heavenly Father. But how often do we stop to think about why the Holy Spirit chose this imagery? The figurative is always based on the literal and derives is meaning and principles from it.
Family is the basis of our belonging. It is designed to be the closest human model for how we relate to and serve others and God. Families carry curses, but they also carry blessings – and to many more generations than the curses. These blessings are not generic, either. They are specific kinds of blessings that replicate in successive generations the character traits and fruit that were modeled to us. How are those blessings, traits, and fruit most powerfully manifested? In the context of life purpose, call, and vocation!
Are not some of the greatest preachers those who come from a line of preachers? Are not some of the best tradesmen those who have learned and perfected their craft from their family heritage? Obviously these things can be passed on outside of the family, but my point is that we thrive best where we capitalize on the gifts that God has already given us, and many of these come from our family.
I’m not saying we have to have the same job as our dad. But look at the thrust, the momentum, the trajectory of what God is doing in your family in a spiritual sense as much as anything, and you will get some hints as to part of your purpose. Obviously purpose can come out of pain too. but if your ancestors were horse thieves, maybe that means they were operating out of broken gifts that should have been devoted to business building or something, and that core is what is really in your blood.
How do we distill it down? That’s a big topic. The big picture is that we seek the fullness of our calling in the context of our personal gifts, family history, geographic call, and sphere of relationships. I expand on this idea some in a devotional I wrote for Lent here.
As for me and my family, I began seeking God for direction about 6 years ago, well before we were planning on coming here. God answered in a powerful way. I’m ashamed to say that it looks like that journal got packed away at my parents house. The essence had to do with being always prepared for adventure and given to hospitality as a central focus of our ministry. That much I do remember. But the point here is that at some point I want to revive that mission statement and begin to work with Diana to more intentionally map out some ways that we can build that preparedness into our parenting, homeschooling, and ministry experiences that we give the kids – all the time making the connections overt to them “in our coming and going.”
Please give me some feedback on this one.