In our last blog post, Andy shared in a video the concept of the person of peace found in Luke 10. In this passage we see Jesus send out the 72 into towns ahead of him in order to find people that are responsive to these disciples and to the Gospel. The person of peace is the “Who”, but another question that we must answer is the “Where”. We know that we are called to be missionaries, but where is it that we should go? We know that Acts 1:8 expresses that we are to go to “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In other words, God has called us to the place that we are living and to the people that are like us and are close to us (Jerusalem), to those that may be different than us and are a little further away from where we live (Judea and Samaria), and even to those in other parts of the world. Therefore, according to this Acts passage we are to be missionaries to both those that are near and far in proximity as well as those that are like us and are different than us.
Our family has spent seasons of our lives as missionaries in both these “same culture” and “cross-cultural” contexts. During our time at Grace Gathering, we have taken and led multiple short-term mission trips to Mexico, Honduras, and Haiti. These trips have been essential in helping our family gain a more “global” perspective of what God is doing throughout the world and how we can join Him in what He is doing. It has also challenged us to think through what it can look like for us to take these experiences and pursue them in our local context. In my experience, many times it can sometimes be easier to step more fully into our missionary calling outside of our current context. For our family, these experiences outside of our current context has both motivated us and enhanced our missionary calling in our current context.
Our family has also spent seasons in more cross-cultural contexts throughout our city here in Fort Wayne. Most recently at a place called Vincent Village, a homeless shelter and low-income housing project in the south part of Fort Wayne. During that time, we led a Missional Community filled with people that were stepping out of their culture and being used to reach people outside of their culture.
Within the past couple of years, our family has taken a more integrative approach to family on mission as we have pursued being more intentional in the contexts that we are currently in, more specifically within the relationships that our children have and the families of the friends of our children. With four children, this more integrative approach has been essential due to the time constraints that can come from the season of life that our family is in.
During each of these seasons, our desire has been to be a Family on Mission together, but this has looked very different and has been in different contexts. There have been times when our missional focus has been more cross-cultural in nature and times when we have focused more on people that are like us. Although there are naturally times when one is more of a focus than another which is both essential and healthy, an Acts 1:8 mindset maintains a wholistic approach to our missionary calling from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth and doesn’t fully abandon one for the other.
During this season of your life right now, where are the people that God is currently calling you, your family, and your extended family to (the who)? Where is your current Jerusalem? Where is your Judea and Samaria? How are you fulfilling your missionary calling to “the ends of the earth”? Do you and your family have an Acts 1:8 approach to your missionary calling here on earth? I would encourage you to take some time to discuss this with both your immediate and extended families.