Bring the babies!


I have been recently provoked to think about pre-elders in missions. What exactly is our role? Should we go? Should we bring our families? Should we finish school first? Do we even need training? I am going to spend the next few posts over the next few days talking about some of these issues. God has brought a few different things in my path lately that has caused me to think about missions.

Side note: explaining how God “calls” and “leads” people to do things, and the way He communicates His will is not something easily explained. But I can describe one way in which God communicates certain ideas and thoughts to me: Over the past week about 10 different references to missions has crossed my path.  This afternoon I had a meeting with my pastor in which he shared with me all about his trip to Texas to meet with David Sitton, at To Every Tribe Missions. They were discussing their upcoming mission’s conference with John Piper, and discussing our upcoming conference as well. So there I was, culminating my week long discussion of missions talking about the pre-elders role in missions. Maybe this is just the beginning of something God is starting in my heart.

The 9Marks September/October 2008 eJournal came out a few days ago and there is a very thought provoking article about bringing our children on the mission field. The author highlights an aspect of missions that I hold very dear to my heart. Namely this: what are we to do when we go to the mission field? We do the same thing that we are to do at home. We live life. Dr. Jay Adams says that the household is the smallest sub-group of the church in existence. I totally agree. The New Testament calls us ambassadors and that therefore makes our homes embassies. An embassy is a place where people can come and see (taste and see) that our “country” is good. An embassy represents the Kingdom well. Further, God has ordained marriage so that it will magnify the blood bought relationship between Christ and His church. Paul says in Ephesians that marriage is about Christ and the church, meaning, it has a greater purpose than the purpose we see day in and day out.

John Piper has said that marriage is for making children…disciples of Jesus. He says this because marriage is the closest place on earth to see the relationship between Christ and His church. So when we take our wives and children on the field, we are bringing a church–an embassy of the Kingdom of God–and a living, breathing, loving example of how Christ interacts with His church.

Check out the 9Marks article and come tell us what you think: Should missionaries take their families with them?


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One Response to “Bring the babies!”

  1. Nick Jesch Says:

    The analogy of embassy to describe missions is excellent, and biblically correct. One of the greatest areas of ministry desparately needed in any setting, particularlu mission work, is a solid model of what a godly family is and how it functions. John Piper’s definition of the mission field being anywhere worship of God does not exist fits, as well. If the family is there and actually worships God in the whole of their lives together, they BRING worship with them. And worship is often very contagious! When those who do not worship (mainly because they do not know the One whom we worship) observe those who do, they are often introduced to the One whom we do worship, and wish to know more about Him. Seeing this type of life lived out in their midst, enduring the very same trials they do, dealing with the same issues of life, can give hope to those who have none. This inevitably leads to questioning on the REASON for this hope. When a man demonstrates the relationship between Christ and His Bride by his sacrificial love of his own bride, those in his surrounding culture who have never seen this (and suffer the chaos and destruction which must result) will, once more, see that there is hope.

    Twentyfive years ago in Guatemala, it was almost unknown for a father to show any tenderness toward his children. But, because some American missionaries moved there with their families, and openly showed that as good, right, normal, as their work spread throughout the country this began to be accepted. Today it is common in every part of Guatemala and some of the neighbouring countries. This has impacted family stability, honouring of parents, and many other positive things. They simply went there and continued living out the gospel as they had done in the States. Same thing, different venue.

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