[This post is part of the Becoming a Missional Family series.]
I’m always amazed at the spontaneity of Jesus and his disciples. Almost on a dime, they are able to make the decision to just stay at someone’s house in a foreign city for a few days at a time. Don’t they have places to be? Commitments to uphold? Soccer practice to make?
Sometimes I think that Jesus needed to have more on his plate. Take it from me, if you really want to get your family on mission, make more commitments. In fact, this happens to be one of my strongest missional giftings.
You won’t be sorry, I promise. The way I look at it, the more engagements on the calendar, the godlier.
5 sure-fire ways to get busier (and godlier)
1. Try to have a commitment on the calendar for at least 6 out of every 7 days. And then use the 7th day for some big, ambitious house projects.
2. Say “Yes” to whatever opportunity crosses your path. Why would God allow it if it weren’t important?
3. Sign your kids up for as many extra-curricular activities as a day can hold. Their well-roundedness will be a blessing in the end. (*Bonus* If they’re occupied with organized activities, you can stay at work later.)
4. Maximize your “Sabbath time” by answering emails and writing blog posts (*ahem*).
5. Don’t cook dinner (that takes too long), order out or swing by the drive-thru on your way home. Your kids will love you and you won’t have to worry about cleaning up after.
In case you’re not picking up…
I’m joking. We are way too busy. For many, making some missional margin in your family’s calendar is a comparable task to upstaging Kanye West at an awards show. It’s just not going to happen.
George Whitefield said, “True repentance will entirely change you; the bias of your souls will be changed, then you will delight in God, in his law, and in his people.”
In other words, Want to change? Begin repenting.
The reality is, utilizing better time management tools isn’t what you need. Take a break, turn on your auto-responder, and repent of your perpetual busyness.
Now, do this
Despite seeming inorganic, you will need to build some structures around your time so as to avoid the black hole of over-committing.
Share you calendar with your community.
Do you have people who will recognize when you’ve reached capacity and tell you to stop?
Put some sweats on and stay in
If you run in any missionary circles, you’re probably used to hearing, “Go!” attached to the ministry lifestyle. But your family needs to be around sometimes if you’re going to develop any relationships in your own neighborhood. Plus, your kids will develop creative pastimes if they’re not always busy with organized activities (like karate, piano, dance class, soccer, debate team, etc). Not to mention the obvious benefit of being better rested and saving some gas!
I’d recommend that you reserve at least 3 nights a week to be low-key and at home. This may take some serious reconfiguring, but it will be worth it.
Do spontaneous, casual hospitality
This is where your margin becomes missional. Besides the obvious health and decreased stress benefits of scaling back on your family’s commitments, it creates enormous opportunity to charge ordinary moments with missional capacity.
The Gospels are full of ordinary circumstances that Jesus charged with love, insight, and good news.
Sharing low-key meals with friends or strangers, having a movie night with a neighbor, or a game night with your kids’ friends. None of it has to be spectacular. Just ordinary will do. And fill it with love, intentionality, and good news.
How do you cultivate interests in your kids without making them (and their chauffeur) too busy to engage in mission as a family?
Do you have a process for prioritizing your commitments? What is it?
Let’s discuss in the comments.