The world pressures us to become “conformists.” There are pressures all around us to act, dress, look, think, buy, and behave in the same way as everyone else. Sadly, this pressure can even exist in the church when it comes to service and missions. Week after week the pastor encourages the congregation to volunteer in the church’s cool new service initiative in the community. Perhaps you are continually bombarded with people asking if you are going on the summer mission trip. Please don’t misunderstand. These are wonderful opportunities for you to pray about. Those who are inviting you to participate are passionate and genuine. However, a dangerous and unseen problem can develop.
What if God is calling your family to do something different? What if in this season, your gifts and calling are in another direction? What if God has opened a unique opportunity for your family that prevents you from participating in that great ministry your church is sponsoring?
For the body of Christ to function at full strength for the Kingdom of God, each person and each family needs to embrace the unique, personal gifts and callings God has given us.
“If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as He chose.” (1 Corinthians 12:17-18, ESV)
How can you discover how the Lord wants to use your family to advance His Kingdom? Here are four questions that may help.
Question 1: What gifts has God given to us?
Read 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. Look at the various lists of spiritual gifts that God gives to His people. God has scattered many of these gifts among the members of your family! Don’t worry about serving or ministering like any other family. Don’t compare ministry or callings. How has God gifted your family and how can you put those gifts to good use?
Question 2: Where are our passions?
Along with your gifts, the Lord has given your family passions and interests. What do you enjoy? What do you get excited about? What do you naturally share with others? Talk and pray about how the Lord can use your family’s natural interests to bless others.
Question 3: What season are we in?
Don’t skip this question! A family with teenage children is in one season of life, and a family with toddlers and infants is in another. We also go through seasons of sickness, financial difficulty, caring for aging parents, etc. Pay attention to what season the Lord has your family in right now, and recognize that the needs of that season (such as taking care of a baby) are your most important ministry priorities.
Question 4: What can we do together?
It always takes more time and planning to serve together as a family, but it is always worth it. Don’t settle for a hodge-podge collection of “individual ministries.” Ask God, in this special season of your family life, to bring together your gifts, your passions, and your family schedule.
Now, after all the talking and praying…take action! Do something! Big, small, it doesn’t matter. What matters is stepping out as a family, with faith, and trusting God to use you as you share His gospel and love with the world around you.
About the Author: Dr. Rob Rienow’s most important ministry is loving his wife Amy and partnering with her to help their seven children follow Jesus. He is the founder of Visionary Family Ministries and leads marriage, parenting, and family conferences around the world. Connect with Rob at www.VisionaryFam.com.