The people of Israel had entered the Promised Land. They had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. Yet, despite God’s faithfulness, the people still wavered between their worship of God and the false idols of the nations around them. Joshua was now 110 years old, and close to death. He had a final message for the Israelites. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Joshua understood that his relationship with God was not simply personal and private – it involved his whole family. For Joshua, accepting the call to advance the Kingdom of God on earth, was a mission for his entire family.
Sadly, some of the missionary movements of the 19th and 20th centuries fractured families and were spiritually damaging to the children of those missionaries. We have lost track of the number of stories of people who “reached the lost” but “lost their children.”
Do you want to be a Great Commission Christian? That call to “make disciples” begins with the souls of your children. Central to that calling to “make disciples” of our children is to do all in our power to impress on them God’s heart for the world and the biblical calling to engage in advancing the Gospel to the remote parts of the earth.
Raising your children to be global, Great Commission Christians starts right now in your home. Here are five simple ways to get started:
1. Don’t throw away those missionary prayer letters and emails. Put them out on the coffee table and pray as a whole family for the needs of those missionaries. What about people around the world who have no missionaries to tell them about Jesus? Build a habit of praying for unreached peoples before meals or at bedtime.
2. Teach your children not only to give the first 10% of everything they earn to the local church, but also to give additional “offerings” to global missions.
3. One of the most significant ways to inspire your children’s hearts with the global work of God is to invite missionaries to your home for dinner. Let them share their stories. Allow the children to ask questions. Build real friendships with them.
4. Expand your children’s view of the world by befriending international students living in your area. Check with your church or local colleges about programs that can get you started. Invite international students to your home for dinner or include them in a family activity. Let them share stories and traditions from their culture. Allow the children to ask questions. This is a great way to embrace people who may not know Christ.
5. Look for any and every opportunity you can to “go” and serve together. Look for family service days and family mission trips. Don’t leave your children behind when you are going to serve the Lord. Giving your children the opportunity to serve alongside you can change their lives forever.
Bottom line. You cannot lead your children in a direction you are not going yourself. If your heart, as a mother or father, is not convicted and called to engage in advancing the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in this world, the place to start is with your own repentance. Confess to the Lord your lack of Kingdom vision. Ask Him to change your heart. When God changes our hearts, when He turns our hearts toward Him and His Word, we are then prepared and equipped to echo the words of Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”