Two years ago I hopped on an airplane with a dozen 5th and 6th graders and their parents and headed to Russel Island, Bahamas to minister to the Haitian refugees there. This was not my first mission trip, but this was the first time I had left my whole family behind—my husband and my four kiddos, ranging from seven-years-old all the way down to almost one. Though it seemed difficult at the time, I now know that the truth is my kids needed me to go. You see, going and sending are part of the normal Christian life, and by my family sending me, I was able to show them and sow into them some pretty valuable things.
There are two questions to think about if you are a parent and considering going on a mission trip.
1. What Is Going Showing?
At Mercy Hill, one of the things we say is discipleship begins in the home. This means that, as parents, we are the primary disciple-makers of our children. Our Mercy Hill Kids volunteers do an amazing job every week pointing our little ones to Jesus, but it is ultimately our responsibility to disciple them. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 reminds us of this: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Discipleship is Word-taught and life-caught. So, discipleship is not only immersing our children in the Scriptures and reminding them daily of the grace of the gospel, but it’s also showing them that the best life they could live is a life lived for Jesus. And what better way to show them this than by being obedient to the Great Commission to “Go . . . and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)? In your going, you not only show them what obedience to God looks like, but you also show them what the joy that comes from obedience looks like.
2. What Is Going Sowing?
When you go, it will probably be hard for them. It will probably be hard for you. But you can take this opportunity to sow into them so many things. You get to sow into them a dependence upon God as you leave them: “Mommy may not be here right now, but God is always with you and he cares for you. Talk to him.”
The reason you are going is to share the gospel with another people group. Take this opportunity to sow into them how to share the gospel with someone else. There are so many great resources to teach our kids how to share their faith, and this is a great time to do that. You also have the opportunity to sow into them a love for the nations. Take this opportunity to get out a map and some books about the country where you will be ministering; be praying as a family for the people to whom you will be ministering. And when you get back, you will have so many stories to tell. While on Russel Island, I was able to share the gospel with a girl named Sarah, and she understood it in a way she never had before. Upon my return, I was able to tell my kids about her, and we prayed for her.
I think it’s important to remember that living a SENT life doesn’t mean you have to hop on a plane and go to another country, but what a great opportunity to show your kids what obedience to the Great Commission looks like and to sow into them a dependence upon God, a love for the nations, and a confidence in sharing their faith. The Great Commission says to go into all the world and make disciples, and all the world includes your own home. We want to be making disciples who make disciples, and your taking the step of obedience to the call to “GO” just might encourage your child to do the same.
-Stephanie Titus (Mercy Hill Member & Kids Team Volunteer)
If this post encourages you to go, join us at our Missions Expo on February 12th. The Missions Expo will feature a worship gathering from 7:00 – 8:00 PM, and you can explore opportunities to go with us in 2018 by meeting ministry leaders before and after the service. Click here for more details!