Of all the errant and damaging understandings of “missional” out there, the one that essentially equates to, “add more things to your calendar through the week in order to reach people,” is one of the most disastrous. Missional, when understood this way, destroys families rather than transforming and mobilizing them for Kingdom mission.
I’m excited that this year at our upcoming Missional Learning Commons (Oct 29-30 in Chicago) that three of our speakers (one of them being me) will be sparking some discussion about what missional family relationships are all about. (Speakers and topics for our opening session on missional discipleship are here.)
Register for this event here. Here are the speakers and topics for missional family:
Helen Lee: The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These: Missional Living In and Through Our Children
Summary: Jesus affirmed the value and the worth of children, expressing the reality that a child often has the capacity and the desire to embrace missional values and living, sometimes well before the parents. What are ways in our churches and families that we can encourage missional living and thinking, particularly amongst our kids? What are the benefits to doing so–and the dangers when we do not? We often think about the ways we can teach our kids, but in the area of missional living, our children may be the ones to teach us.
Bio: Helen Lee is the author of The Missional Mom (Moody Publishers, January 2011) and has been writing for Christian periodicals such as Leadership Journal and Christianity Today for more than 15 years. She is married to classical pianist Brian Lee; they have three little boys 8 years old and under, whom Helen attempts to homeschool when she is not writing, blogging, or (now) tweeting.
Jason Lantz: If anyone doesn’t know how to manage his own family how can he take care of God’s church?
Summary: “I’m not going to sacrifice our kids on the alter of some church experiment you want to do.” That’s what my wife Suzi said when I came home and told her that I thought the Lord was calling us to live as missionaries in Canton. A couple of years later, and still in the baby stages of leading a new church plant, we have learned many lessons about the power of imitation in discipleship, the mess that we actually have learned to like with children and mission, and the incredible Love of our Heavenly Father.
Bio: Jason and Suzi Lantz live as missionaries sent to the people of Canton, Ohio. They are leaders in LoveCanton, a network of churches sent to love different networks and neighborhoods in Canton. They have two children Caris and JJ. As a family they are doing their best to join others who want to build a culture of disciples of Jesus Christ in every part of Canton.
Ben Sternke: Sorry, We Can’t Come Because We Have Little League That Night
Summary: It’s easy for “missional living” to become just another extra-curricular activity for families to add to an already busy schedule. But really living missionally as a family demands that we think more deeply about the formational power of the seemingly benign activities so many American families get sucked into, and act more intentionally to engage as families in counter-formational practices that will truly shape us as missional people.
Bio: Ben is in the midst of planting Christ Church: a fledgling network of missional communities seeking to join God in the renewal of the neighborhoods and relational networks of Fort Wayne, where he lives with his wife (Deb) and four children (Ethan, Raina, Ella, and Sydney). Ben also blogs, tweets, and dabbles in web design.