Foundations for MCs: Extended Families on Mission
One of the ways we talk about missional community is to talk about family on mission. There are some other great blog posts on the topic (a series on the 3dm UK blog as well as a recent post on Healthy Extended Family)
Last year, Simon Ford wrote a post here about the marks of extended family on mission. You can read that here.
The key marks of this family on mission life are:
- Shared resources
As Mother Theresa said, the gospel is simple but hard, and living as family on mission is the same. Anyone can do it, but it does take intentionality, making conscious decisions to live that way. I’m going to talk about my experience with just one of the key marks of this kind of life – shared resources.
In Acts, it talks about the believers having everything in common and sharing a purse. We’ve not gone that far in our extended family but there are lots of little ways to share what we have with others. There are people in our extended family who have a key to my house and others who are insured on my car so they can borrow it when needed. We host each other’s guests and family members if we’ve got a spare room and they haven’t. We’ve all chipped in to help someone fix their boiler, pay for gym membership, or pay to go to the pub with people of peace from their office. We’ve also shared our time, helping with babysitting, shopping, building furniture, decorating, cleaning and much more. There are lots of ways, big and small, to share what you have with those in your extended family. This is how Jesus calls us to love one another – to look for ways to lay down our lives for those around us. It’s not always easy and can be challenging to give up your time, energy and money for others.
The bigger challenge for me has been different though. It’s come in allowing others to share their resources with me! To do that, I’ve had to share my needs with them, acknowledge that I can’t do it on my own, admit that I need help. Asking someone from our extended family to help me decide what car to buy, asking another person to help me clean and tidy my house in preparation for hosting guests, asking for help financially to cover an unexpected bill … These are all things that have challenged me to let others in and not try and do everything in my own strength. Allowing others to be Jesus’ hands and feet to me has also pointed me to rely on Him, to draw on God’s grace and to allow His power to be made perfect in my weakness.
If we want to live as family on mission then we have to embrace letting people into our lives – both in laying down what we have for them and in opening up where are in need.
What about you? Is the challenge in sharing what you have or in sharing what you don’t have?
Pip Martin lives in Sheffield and works for 3dm UK as Operations Manager. She has led several Missional Communities with a heart for internationals and is currently involved with a Children’s Missional Community.