Teaching Our Kids to Live Missionally
A couple of months ago, I was trying to explain to my 6-year-old daughter what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In the best way that I knew how I said that a disciple of Jesus is similar to being a student. We learn about what it means to follow Jesus and teach others how they can be students of Jesus. After this conversation, I asked her if she would ever like to be a disciple of Jesus and she responded with “uh, maybe.” I have a lot of work to do!
Over the past several years, the term “missional living” has gained steam and gotten popular among those who attend church. What exactly does “missional living” mean? And as parents, how can we teach our kids to live missionally?
Missional living is firmly grounded in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. In verses 19 and 20, Jesus commissions his disciples by saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Missional living simply means living out the Great Commission of making disciples within your context.
Below are 5 tips to teach your kids to live missionally.
Consistently pray with your kids for their lost friends and the lost world
I have found that God has used prayer in my life to draw my heart closer to his heart. Teaching and modeling to our kids to pray for their lost friends and to pray for people in other countries that do not know Jesus can begin to put on their hearts what is on God’s heart. Praying for their lost friends will allow them to ask questions and have a deeper conversation about what it means to put their trust in Jesus and why it's important to tell our friends about Jesus. And the book Pray for the World by Patrick Johnstone is a wonderful prayer resource that includes every country in the world with specific prayer requests.
Discuss and memorize with your kids verses on the Great Commission
As you’re praying with your kids for their lost friends and the lost world, introduce them to verses in Scripture that teach about God’s heart for the lost. Memorizing scriptures on living missionally helps reinforce to our kids that this is not our idea but God’s divine plan. In each of the gospels and in the book of Acts there are verses that speak on Jesus’ commission for his disciples to live missionally in order to extend his gospel to the world.
(See Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:21-23, Acts 1:8)
Learn about men and women who lived missionally for Jesus
In Hebrews chapter 11, the author describes those who have lived out their faith and persevered. It is commonly known as “The Hall of Faith.” In Hebrews 12:1, the author states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The author is appealing to his listeners to persevere and endure in their race by remembering those who make up the “great cloud of witnesses.” Our heritage is one of people who have lived by faith and endured great hardship for God. There are plenty of biographies and resources that are geared for kids to encourage them to live missionally for Jesus. The Torchlighters on Amazon Prime Video and Right Now Media is an excellent series directed toward kids that speak of past men and women of faith who desired for others to know Christ. Reading missionary biographies together as a family is another great way to build into our kids a heart to live missionally. Christian Heroes Then and Now by Geoff and Janet Benge is an excellent missionary biography series for kids.
Teach your kids to share their faith
As you’re praying for your kids’ friends, I would encourage you to teach them how to share their faith with their friends. This will allow them to have a deeper understanding of the gospel, which will allow their faith in Jesus to deepen. It will also give them the confidence to know how to tell their friends. Be a sounding board for them to ask questions and practice presenting the gospel to others.
Live it out in front of your kids
The old saying rings true that “more is caught than taught.” Especially in front of our kids. I believe the best way to teach our kids to live missionally is to model what it means to live missionally. Live out the above in front of your kids and you will teach your kids what it means to live missionally by serving as an example.