Moms and Missions

by Jason Bollinger on January 27th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking with a women’s Bible Study group. The group was made up of Moms with young children. We had some great dialogue about how Moms with young children can engage in missions, and I wanted to share some of my takeaway thoughts.

1.  Raising kids is of first importance

Whether you are a stay-at-home Mom or a working-outside-the-house Mom, faithfully  raising and parenting kids is the Lord’s work. Shepherding your family well is a qualification for ministry according to the Scriptures, and that makes it priority one.

You will never regret going all-in on behalf of your children. The sacrifices moms make for their kids usually go largely unnoticed, but that heart of sacrifice is something that can easily translate into making sacrifices for the sake of missions when you’re more available. Mothering well can be incredibly useful in nurturing a heart for missions. It’s also good to remember that those little ones you are raising are not only the future of the church, but the right now of the church.

When young ones start getting a heart for the nations, the prayers they pray can literally change the world. What if you’re raising the next Billy Graham, William Carey, Jim Elliot, or Katie Davis? Heroes of our faith started just like our children. Raising them well is a good investment. No mom should ever feel guilty for having to be a mom first.

2.  Missions is not just going on trips

One of the Moms talked about how their church just had a Missions Sunday where they announced and promoted the trips the church would be leading in the upcoming year. It’s a beautiful thing when a church is strategic and organized about missions. It’s great for people to be invited and encouraged to go. However, this Mom expressed remorse about not being able to go on any of the trips due to her Mom duties. It seemed as though she wouldn’t be able to do missions this year.

Mission trips are great to introduce people into the realities of poverty and for connecting with people on the ground we can serve and empower. Mission trips are good for certain types of projects. We really do think that at some point everyone should go. However, mission trips alone are not the long-term solution for the end of poverty. A mission trip is not a holistic and sustainable solution to the issues the developing world faces. It’s just a small piece.

Well-planned trips into places with trusted leadership that are part of a long-term, sustainable goal are great. However, for those who can’t be gone that long or can’t leave their kids, don’t be too hard on yourself for not being able to go. There are other ways to be involved that are just as crucial. Missions is so much more than a short-term trip.

3.  Learn, Pray and Give if it’s not time to Go
    
Learning about the nations is a great place to start in missions. Operation World (http://www.operationworld.org) is an amazing resource that gives snapshots of all of the known people groups in the world. It is great for family devotions as you learn about different parts of the world and the people God loves who live there. A missionary challenged us as young parents to put up a world map and talk about the different nations. This was great exposure for our young children, and it was part of defining their worldview as one that is knowledgeable and concerned for the nations.
 
Praying for the nations is also of the utmost importance. You can use Operation World
as a guide if you don’t already have a place that you’re passionate about. Maybe you have friends serving somewhere. Maybe your church is working somewhere. Sometimes God just burdens you with a place you know you need to pray for. Pray for that place. A lot. Prayer cannot be overemphasized. It is essential. It does matter. Pray for missionaries. Pray for local churches. Pray for cooperation by government leaders. Pray for a favorable environment for the spreading of the Gospel. Pray that hungry kids would have food. Pray for protection from disease. Praying is a very real part of missions, and it doesn’t cost anything to pray with your family.

Giving is a simple and powerful way to go without going. The churches Paul writes to in the New Testament were generous to the nations. Giving to missions should be a part of our normal rhythm. There are often appeals or letters sent out requesting money for missions. As Christians, this should not annoy us. It should excite us. Someone’s going to take Good News to those in need, and the’ve invited us to participate!

Many are quick with reasons why it’s not a good time to give. Some say they can’t afford it right now. Some say their husband (or wife) won’t let them. Some assume that someone else is already paying for it. Some say they are already giving to the church. Some say those going should be working for it. There are so many reasons people don’t give.

As Christians, we have been challenged by Jesus to consider where our treasure lies. Many who say they can’t afford giving to missions are investing into the Kingdom of Starbucks (or as a friend calls it, Four-bucks. Four bucks for 16 ounces of drink!) like you wouldn’t believe. We invest into the treasure of a new phone or car every couple of years. We don't think twice about a $50 ticket for a sporting event or concert. We throw down for a $10 bucket of popcorn at the movies. I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t spend money on these things. I’m just saying that if we have money for this, we also have money for missions. If your spouse is opposed, what can you offer to go without in order to sow some seed into missions?

Giving is going. When you give, you are going along with whatever you give. Even a little makes a big difference. The more you give, the bigger your investment into the Kingdom. That’s good treasure!

4.  Go when you can
    
The Great Commission does include the word “Go.” A more literal translation might be
“as you go,” but we are still to go. Acts 1:8 says that our witness includes testifying to the “ends of the earth.” If you’re feeling the tug of missions, there will be a time to go. There will be a trip or opportunity with your name on it.  

There will come a time when it’s time to trust God with your going. You may have to trust God to provide care for your kids. You may wait until they’re older or grown. The point is that while you’re praying for the nations, it’s good to include a “when it’s time for me to go…” element. Don’t count yourself out. The heart that you have to make a difference and to be used by God to take Good News will bear much fruit in the proper time.

In the meantime, enjoy the precious time you have to be a Mom. The gifts you have that make you a great Mom are gifts that also can make you great on mission. You are actually on mission now even if you can’t “go” anywhere but your house.
    
    


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