[This post is part of the Becoming a Missional Family series.]
In any drama, it is the stage and set that communicates first. Therefore, it’s got to fit with what ensues when the curtain rises, or you’ll have a confused audience and a disjointed story.
Likewise, your home sets the tone for what neighbors and guests experience when they are exposed to the familial drama inside.
Just as there are certain gospel elements that can be reinforced by how your home is set up (check out this post), there are also certain stage elements that are prone to hi-jack whatever you are trying to communicate, and must be avoided.
The following may be extreme examples (in some cases), but use them as fodder for continuing to think through the message your home sends as you become a missional family.
7 stage elements that confuse
1) Privacy fences
Message: This home is a fortress.
What message do you send your neighbors when you’re the only house on the block with a 7 foot privacy fence around the perimeter of your yard? The gospel is not about keeping people out of the family of God. Does your home-stage communicate otherwise?
2) Beware of dog/Private property signs
Message: This home is dangerous.
If you need to put up a sign warning visitors about your vicious dog or alarming them to the fact that they are on your private property, you’re stage is sending the wrong message. The gospel is about drawing people in and sharing with them, not scaring them away.
3) Political signage
Message: You don’t even have to come in to know what you’re going to hear.
Your 4’x6′ “So-and-so for Congress” sign immediately creates confusion for your visitors and neighbors when you tell them that Jesus is your Lord and not the guy your trying to get elected (and please don’t put huge “Jesus for President” signs out, either. That won’t help). Truth is, political signage may be 10 times more efficient in keeping certain people out than a privacy fence or a “beware of dog” sign could ever be.
4) Immaculate everything
Message: proceed with caution
If everything in your house has its place, you may be sending the wrong message. Have you ever walked into an immaculate home, only to be paralyzed with fear that even your presence will cause a mess? Are parents comfortable bringing their sticky-handed toddler over? In the gospel, Jesus makes it possible to be a mess on the outside while righteous inside. Does your home reinforce that?
5) The ugly house
Message: bad taste, doesn’t contribute to beauty in neighborhood.
An ugly home can be just as uncomfortable as an immaculate home. Don’t be the house on your block with the overgrown lawn, clashing paint colors, and over-the-top seasonal decorations. Our Father created the universe, and it’s beautiful. He commissioned us to be co-creators, bringing beauty into our neighborhoods.
6) The wrong focal point
Message: facilitates wrong type of interaction
Think about it, What is the focal point in your living room? When someone walks in, can they immediately discern what your family values? If your room is arranged around your TV, it says this room is for entertainment. If you have couches facing each other, it says this room is for relating.
7) The Pinterest home
Message: You want what I have
You have cute everything. From your throw pillows to your incredibly trendy and functional kitchen, everyone lusts over your home. Is that really the feeling you want to cause in your guests? Consider where all of your stage-setting effort is going toward. Recognition on Pinterest.com or making a super inviting and comfortable place in your home? In the gospel, Jesus put on broken human flesh…a bit of a downgrade for him. You can notch it down a bit too.