Our church is going to host our second missions conference in its nearly 35 year history. I am thankful that we have made the desire for such a conference a reality, and we are still learning how to make it more effective in our church body.
One thing that has been on my mind is how to build into our church families more of a missions-mindedness. As a church body, we support several missionaries, which is good. We skype our missionaries, send them financial gifts from time to time, and do other things. But I am talking about individual families seeking to instill in each other more of a desire for outreach, both locally and globally. Here are some things I have thought of to encourage your family in this direction.
1. Be faithful to attend the corporate gatherings of your local church...all of them!
The local church is God's primary means of reaching the world with the gospel. Not mission boards and organizations. Not Christian Colleges or Universities. Not Christian Camps.
If you want to instill in your family more of a desire to reach your community and the world for Christ, one of the most basic things you can do is to lead your family in faithful and consistent attendance and service in your local church. There is no substitute for this.
2. Show hospitality to others.
Our family loves to host people for meals. We also enjoy hosting families for lengthy stays. Sure it requires some sacrifice on our part, but we don't view it as "sacrifice," but as an opportunity to minister to someone else. When a missionary comes through your church, ask if you can host them in your home either for a meal, or for overnight accommodations. Exposing your children to pastors and missionaries is a wonderful way to expose them to outreach, both locally and globally.
3. Pray for missionaries.
Everyone knows we should pray for them, but how many Christians faithfully do...outside of the obligatory "bless the missionaries" or "be with the missionaries"?
For years, my wife and I have prayed for several missionary friends by name and with knowledge of their situation and needs (admittedly, my wife is much better at remembering details than I am). Our family will pray for missionaries who come through, and have their prayer cards nearby. Praying for global missions can help instill a desire for global missions.
4. Pray for the salvation of people your family knows and can reach out to.
It could be a co-worker, or a neighbor or a relative. Pray specifically for their salvation. Do things to reach out to them. Invite them to special events at church. Be friendly to them. Minister to their needs. Look for opportunities to seek to reach them for Christ.
5. Train your children to serve.
Christians are saved to serve. We are to be people who minister to the body of Christ with the talents and gifts that God has given to us. Not everyone will be a musician, or an usher, or a nursery worker, or a children's worker, but there are plenty of people to fill all the roles of a church assembly. Cleaning the church is just as much of a service opportunity as playing an offertory. If you train your children to clean toilets in the church for the glory of God, they will learn to serve the Lord in whatever way He asks of them, whether in their local church or in foreign missions.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are important ones that any Christian family can do. O for God to raise up godly servants of Christ to serve faithfully in the local church and to perhaps go overseas as well. If we are not training them at home to be servants, we should not expect them to serve the Lord outside the home, either.