How can we as a family establish a ministry mind-set?
Reaching out to others and seeking to help those in need are important aspects of a Christian’s life and character. From Scripture, it is clear that there are areas in which God wants us to be involved in service and “good works.” “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus taught us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20), and he instructed us concerning ministry that “inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
As parents, we should prepare our children to be alert to the needs of others and to be available to meet those needs. We want to invest in our family relationships and have our home become a ministry center to our family first, and then as a family we can reach out to serve others in many different ways.
For our family, making our home into a ministry center started when we had the opportunity to host a weekly couples’ meeting for our church. The children enjoyed helping us clean and prepare the house. Then they waited excitedly for the couples to arrive, and during the meeting the children served refreshments. They loved this opportunity, and it gave them a vision of how we could use our home to minister to others. The Lord has provided many opportunities to continue hosting families and other groups in our home, and our ministry has expanded from there.
Make Home the Best Place
One of our goals has been to make home our children’s favorite place. Achieving this goal involved filling our home with safe, uplifting activities that our children enjoy. Some of the things that we have incorporated are musical instruments, crafts, board games, outdoor games, tire swings, flower gardens, sewing machines, scroll saws, and more. We want our home to be a happy place—a place that our children love to be.
We have also allowed our children to have a part in redecorating, letting them help choose paint or carpet colors for various rooms. They have also assisted us in painting, tearing down old walls, building new walls, and rearranging furniture. This has helped them see that their opinions are valued and that they are an active part of the family team.
Make Home a “Ministry Center”
We have made our home a ministry center, a type of ministry “headquarters” for our family where we can minister to each other and to many others. This focus gives our children purpose in their daily tasks as they seek to use our home as a base for ministry. Our first priority is to minister to our own family before we reach out to others outside the home.
We must care for our family’s spiritual well being through family devotions that apply to our specific needs. We realize that God gave this responsibility to us as parents. If we fail to take up this responsibility, our children’s needs will often be left unmet because of our neglect. This may cause them to go outside of the home to find others who will support them.
Develop a “Ministry Mind-Set”
“I really believe that ministry as a family is the key to strong family relationships.” —An ATI family from Australia
Over the years, the Lord has been teaching our family to have a ministry mind-set. This mind-set involves understanding the importance of service, the potential we have to make a difference, and our responsibility to reach out to others with God’s love and generosity. Ever since our children were very young, we wanted to instill within them the desire to serve the Lord with their whole hearts. We focused their Scripture memory on verses that would encourage them in this way.
One of our family’s favorite verses was “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). To us, this meant that we were to pursue activities that would advance God’s kingdom and to put aside things that would distract us from serving Him. We reminded our children to store their “treasures in heaven” and explained how they could do this by serving the Lord.
As we began to serve together, we found that it was important for us to train our children how to serve. At first, we gave them small responsibilities and specific instruction. Then we stepped back and watched to make sure they could handle the project. As ability and confidence grew, additional responsibilities and freedoms to be creative were added. We discovered what fun it is to work alongside each other on an effective family team!
Because of ministering together, our children have had such an exciting life! We have made many memories as we have served the Lord together, and God’s kingdom has been advanced. The Lord has provided opportunities that we would have never thought possible. By God’s grace, we have enjoyed helping widows; making meals for families in need; serving at churches, seminars, and conferences; singing and playing hymns and sharing the Gospel at nursing homes, churches, community events, youth meetings, pastors meetings, and in the lobby of the largest office building in a nearby city.
We truly enjoy serving the Lord together, and it has built a sense of teamwork into our family. Over the years, the type of ministry in which we have been involved has changed, but the goal has stayed the same—to seek first God’s kingdom. We have seen Him fulfill His promise that “all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). We wanted to share this testimony of what the Lord has done in order to encourage others to continue to seek the Lord for how He wants to use each unique family to advance His kingdom.
- Have we made home our family’s favorite place?
- Have we trained our family to seek first God’s kingdom and to have a ministry mind-set?
- As we see the gifts within our unique family, in what ways can we serve the Lord together?
- Is our home a ministry center?