Okay, so maybe the world doesn’t need another reality TV show, but if it did, and if it were about mom’s being missional, I’d have a few strategies I’d play to stay on the island (or, more realistically: at the park). Being a mom is one of the greatest roles that the Lord has blessed me with (and not just because as a stay at home mom I get to play with play dough, Legos’ and dress up, though those are legit reasons!); I have found that my kids help me live a missional life. One of the keys to living missional is being out in your mission field. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to meet anyone or build relationship with your neighbor if you stay inside all day. With kids, or at least mine, it’s easy to meet people because we’re usually around other kids and parents. Here are a few practical steps (especially for all the mothers out there) that I have found helpful to living a mission-minded life:
Pray: The best thing you can do is pray. I have my kids join me in praying for our neighborhood as we walk around it. Even though my oldest is only 4, he loves to ask Jesus for other kids to come play with him so we can pray for them by name before bed. Remember that the Lord knows best on how to use you. Ask Him to help you love your community and for specific opportunities where you can serve and be used for His kingdom.
Speak: God can do the impossible, but it’s pretty hard to build relationships with people and share Jesus with them, if we never speak. My kids are so used to the habit of saying hello to people that we meet while we’re out, that if I don’t say hello, they start yelling at me. This is especially exciting when my 4 and 2 year olds are pointing and shouting at a gentleman a good block away, “You didn’t say hello Mom! Mom! MOM! You have to say heeeeeeellooooo”… Once you’ve mastered greeting strangers, they’ll be no stopping you. I bet next time you’re having a picnic lunch you’ll be taking prayer requests to go along with saying grace.
Share: Speaking of food and picnic lunches, practicing hospitality is a great tool in living missional. If you’re intentional about going out with the purpose of being used by Christ, prepare accordingly. I like to bring extra snacks. Whether it’s a snack for another mom and/or child at the park, or just extra bread to feed the ducks at the lake, having something to share is an easy way to meet neighbors. Be prepared to give an invitation to do something again too. If you share conversation with someone, let them know you had a good time and that you’ll be back again later in the week. Set up a specific time so you can meet up again.
Invite: If getting out is something that isn’t as easy for you, than invite people to you. There are so many excuses/ opportunities, call it whatever you want, to have people over that the possibilities are endless. Make time to host a play date, have coffee, go through a book (preferably Christ-centered), babysit a neighbor’s kid, have dinner, watch a movie, etc. Be creative. Just make intentional strides to witness and share life with those where God has put you.
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:18-20 (NASB)