My desire to parent my children with grace means I want to teach them about having grace with others, and sharing God’s grace with others. This means they need to understand that God has a missionary heart and He desires for all peoples, everywhere, to know about Him, and it starts at home.
This means that we must all learn to think like a missionary. A missionary is often given training on how to understand culture, and how one can share the Gospel in a culturally appropriate way. They learn to think like outsiders. If we are believers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are ALL outsiders! Our citizenship is in Heaven and to some degree, we should all feel somewhat uncomfortable here on Earth. After all, it is not our home. So when good missionaries move to another country, they take the time to observe their new culture from an outsiders perspective, instead of feeling frustrated about how it feels to NOT be an insider for once.
My children are also part of those “peoples” that need to hear the story of Jesus! As I’m teaching my children about the different people God has created around the world, I also need to think like a missionary as I interact with them. Am I observing my children enough to know what makes them tick? What frustrates them? What brings them joy? How can I share the Gospel with them over and over in ways that they will be able to understand?
But it does not stop there. And I don’t wait until my children “get it” before I start helping them understand that we need to think and act like missionaries every day. As parents, we are trying to make our kids our main priority with daily Gospel centered living. One of the best ways to teach them the Gospel is by talking about and demonstrating what it means to take the Gospel to the nations.
Here are a few practical ideas that can help your family learn about other cultures, and interact with the people within those cultures:
- Do you live in a university town? Invite international students over for a meal. Most international students in America never see the inside of an American home.
- Invite an international family from your neighborhood over for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a great time for them to experience your culture.
- Are there cultural organizations in your city? Many times groups will host events where they get to celebrate their heritage and history by offering food and native entertainment. Take your family to this and talk with the kids about what it was like to eat food from another country and listen to another language being spoken.
- Does your church partner with missionaries overseas? Go to the library and read a book about their country. (or better yet-Skype with that family!)Then pray for the people that live there, and the missionaries working there.
What other tips do you have? I would love to hear them!
For a great resource on helping churches think and act like missionaries check out The Upstream Collective (www.theupstreamcollective.org).