Every Christ-follower has been called to join God on His mission of making Himself known among all peoples of the world. For any of us who are parents, a vital aspect of being obedient to that call is the discipleship of our own children. Since we know that being a disciple means being a disciple-maker, it’s absolutely necessary for us to teach them how to embrace that call for themselves. That means we help them understand that there’s no need to wait. God is at work, and He can and will use them for His purposes right now.
We can all do a lot of good in the world, but it’s also possible to do a lot of good completely apart from God. So, it’s important for all of us to always keep in mind that for any effort or activity to be missional in nature it must be for the purpose of gospel witness. That doesn’t mean that everything we do has to result in a direct presentation of the gospel message and a call to repentance and faith (though, that would be great) for us to be engaged in missions. However, it does mean that we always have the goal of gospel witness in mind.
So, when we pray for missionaries, it’s in support of the work they are doing to witness to the gospel. When we take a family a meal, we are wanting to put the gospel on display through our love and service. When we learn about a different country or people group, we make access to and understanding of the gospel an essential topic to be covered. When we give to people or organizations, we do so knowing the gospel will be shared as a result. And when we go “on mission” we look for any and every opportunity we might have to share the gospel ourselves.
So, below is a list of suggestions for you to consider to help you engage your own family on mission. As with any list of suggestions, some will work for you and your family while other’s wont, and every one should be considered prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit for both guidance and discernment.
1. Show Them
Mr. Rogers used to say, “attitudes are caught, not taught.” So, be sure to live out your commitment to missions, and show your family what a missional life looks like.
2. Teach Them
Spend time in family worship studying passages and stories in the Bible that are missional in nature. The book of Acts is a great place to start.
3. Go Short-Term
There’s nothing better than going on a mission trip together as a family. That can be a tall order. So, take small steps. Start somewhere close you can get to fairly easily.
4. Use the Prayer Guide in Family Worship
Every week in our Worship Guide, This Week page, and the Brook Hills app we provide prayer requests for both local and global partners and missionaries. Talk through those requests in family worship and spend time praying for them together. You can also pray for all of our missionaries using our Missionary Map.
5. Give to the Global Offering
Decide as a family what you all should give to the Global Offering this year. Perhaps have your children perform special chores to earn their own money to give. Go to the baskets in one of the December Worship Gatherings to give together as a whole family.
6. Display Scripture
Choose Bible verses about God’s mission to post around your house or to even include in your children’s lunch boxes each day.
7. Watch TV
There aren’t many shows about sharing the gospel, but there are a lot of shows about peoples and places around the world. Watch some together. Talk about the different country or culture. Pray for the people there.
8. Scratch-Off Countries on a Map
Order this scratch-off map. Reveal a new country each week. Spend some time learning about it and pray for the church (or lack thereof) and the spread of the gospel there.
9. Cook a Meal
Search for a recipe from another country. Cook it together, and spend time before eating praying for the peoples of that country.
10. Try a Snack
Go to an ethnic grocery store or even World Market and let each member of your family choose a new snack or drink to try that comes from a foreign country and pray for the spread of the gospel there.
11. Host a Missionary
We have people returning from short-term, mid-term, and even long-term mission all the time. Host one in your home and gather your family together to learn about the work in which they’ve been involved. Encourage them and pray for them.
12. Invite Someone to Dinner
Invite a neighbor who doesn’t know Jesus over to dinner. Allow the gospel to naturally saturate your conversation together. Bonus if you’re able to invite someone new to our country.
13. Love Oliver
Your family can help the students of Oliver Elementary School, especially by helping ensure they have all the supplies and uniforms they need for their first day of school.
14. Distribute School Supplies
Your family could help organize and distribute school supplies. Watch our Love Oliver page for next year’s dates.
15. Host a Stand for Orphans
Order this creative kit from Lifeline Children’s Services to create a Stand for Orphans to sell lemonade, cookies, cupcakes, popsicles, dog treats, glow sticks, or whatever else you want, and then donate the procedes to Lifeline to help orphans and at-risk children here and around the world.
16. Write Names on Popsicle Sticks
Identify people whose salvation you want to pray for. Write each name on a popsicle stick. Then put all the sticks in a cup or jar. At a meal or family worship each day, draw one popsicle and pray for that person as a family. Repeat daily until every person has been prayed for. Then put all the popsicle sticks back and start all over.
17. Hang Flags
Order flags from different countries or print out black and white versions to color. Then display them somewhere in your house to remind you all to be praying for those countries. Perhaps you do a different one each month.
18. Sponsor a Child with Compassion International
Compassion works in twenty-six countries to release children from poverty while providing them a foundation in the gospel. Sponsoring a child not only allows your family to be part of the work, but through letters and even, potentially, visits, your family can develop an integral relationship with your sponsored child.
19. Pick a Missionary-Kid Pen-Pal
A number of our long-term missionaries are families. Match your family with theirs and have your children become pen-pals with theirs. You’ll be a great source of support and encouragement.
20. Pack Food with Grace Klein
Once a month volunteers with Grace Klein Community pack boxes of food for families in need. It’s a great opportunity for your family to have hands-on involvement.
21. Deliver Food
Take it one-step further and you can also deliver food each month with Grace Klein or at other times of the year with another local ministry. This, of course, affords your family opportunity for direct gospel witness.
22. Work a Job and Go to School
Consider leveraging the whole life of your family for the gospel through the Global Cities Initiative where you can move to live, work, and school in a strategic city for the purpose of helping others come to know Christ.
23. Pack a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child allows your family to provide a gift to a needy child in another part of the world while ensuring they hear the good news of Jesus. You can even track where your particular shoebox goes.
24. Giveaway a Birthday
Challenge your family to ask for donations to a local or global ministry for their birthdays instead of presents. Involve them in the process of choosing the ministry.
25. Shop with Compassion’s Gift Catalog
As part of a birthday or holiday celebration, why not have your family shop for one another out of Compassion International’s Gift Catalog? It allows you to buy needed supplies for a family affected by poverty and to give that gift in your loved one’s honor.
26. Sell T-Shirts
Choose a ministry or missionary your family wants to support. Design a t-shirt with Fund The Nations. Then sell the shirts and donate the proceeds.
27. Sponsor a Verse
The Seed Company is working to translate the Bible into languages where the people don’t have access to God’s Word. Your family can help them by sponsoring a verse.
28. Eat Ethnic Food
Visit a restaurant with a new type of food for your family to try. Indian. Vietnamese. Thai. Ethiopian. It’s up to you. Before your meal, pray for the people of that country and for the gospel to be made known among them.
29. Learn a Language
Choose a different language each month and learn basic phrases as a family. “Hello.” “Goodbye.” “God loves you.” “Jesus is Lord.” Things like that. Pray together for the peoples who speak that language.
30. Attend a Food Festival
There are all kinds of food festivals. Middle-Eastern. Turkish. Indian. Lebanese. Attend one together as a family. Pray for the places and peoples that food represents. Look for opportunities to share with the other people celebrating the festival.
31. Turn on Subtitles or Overdubbing
Pick the movie or show your family always wants to watch, only this time, turn on one of the other language options. Talk about the peoples that speak that language. Pray they will know God’s Word in their language.
32. Send a Care Package to a Missionary
We have a lot of missionaries in the field. Partner with one as a family and send them a care package while they’re away.
33. Pray Over Our Missionary Prayer Cards
We provide prayer cards for all of our mid-termers, long-termers, and church planters. Perhaps your family could focus on one each week in family worship, and spend time praying for those we have serving.
34. Subscribe to Little Passports
Little Passports is a subscription box service that teaches your family about different countries of the world. While not Christian in its focus, you could use the delivery each month to also learn about the religion and gospel-access of each country and spend time praying for those peoples.
35. Utilize Kids on Mission
Kids on Mission is a resource site from the IMB. It is designed for churches and homeschool programs, but can easily be utilized by your family.
36. Send Someone Short-Term
Maybe your family can’t all go short-term together right now, but you could send someone, whether one of you or someone else. Consider together what you might sacrifice and what you might sell to free-up the funds to send someone short-term.
37. Take a Meal
Do you know of someone in need? Or whose going through a difficult season of life? Why not work together as a family to make a meal to take to them. Include a note about how much your family and God cares for them.
38. W.R.A.P. a Foster Family
W.R.A.P. is our ministry to foster families. There are countless ways your family can serve them and the children they are caring for.
39. Partner with a Church Planter
Choose one of our particular church planters for your team to partner with to provide ongoing prayer, support, and encouragement.
40. Read Newsletters
Read the blogs or newsletters our missionaries post or send out together as a family. Pray for the work they are doing.
41. Walk through Operation World
Operation World is a prayer guide for every nation on Earth. Walk through their website or book, choosing a different country to learn about each week or month, and pray for that country together.
42. Read through Windows on the World
Operation World is great to use for your whole family, but Windows on the World is written especially for kids and will help them and you learn how to pray for unreached peoples.
43. Get Passport to the Nations
Passport to the Nations was designed by Brook Hills members and first used at Brook Hills. It’s a curriculum designed for churches, homeschool co-ops, or Vacation Bible Schools, but can easily be used by your family.
44. Read Missionary Biographies
Look up well-known missionaries online or find books on them at the library. Read their biographies together as a family. Praise God for the work He did through their lives and ask Him to work in the lives of your family members as well. If you have younger children, you might just read the biographies yourself and then re-tell their stories in family worship.
45. Study To Every Nation
To Every Nation is a study of twelve missionaries and how God worked through their lives. Spend time going through it together as a family and pray for God to use you in similar ways.
46. Have a “Made in…” Scavenger Hunt
Send your family on a scavenger hunt throughout your house to see who can find the most items “made in” different countries. They should find the items by looking for the “Made in _________” stamp or tag. Then talk about and pray for the spread of the gospel in each of those countries.
47. Change What/How Much You Eat
Nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day, often subsisting on nothing more than rice and beans. Consider eating only rice and beans together as a family for a week. Figure up what you typically spend on a week’s worth of food. Subtract what you spend on rice and beans. Then donate the difference to the church or another missions ministry.
48. Volunteer with Christian Service Mission
Christian Service Mission has lots of volunteer opportunities both at their main warehouse and in the community where your entire family can be involved.
49. Rock the Block
Whether it’s for a week in the summer or around Halloween or Easter, a Rock the Block is the perfect opportunity for your family to engage your neighbors with the gospel.
50. Rock the Village
Rock the Village is an opportunity to impact the families of Marks Village in partnership with Oak Tree Ministries. Learn about last year’s and keep your eyes open to get involved this next summer.
51. Make Christmas Cookies for Neighbors
Write them a note about the true meaning of Christmas to include when you deliver them. Who know? Maybe they’ll ask you all to stay and help eat them, too.
52. Hunt for Easter Eggs
Gather friends or neighbors for an Easter Egg Hunt. As a part of the festivities, be sure to share what Easter is really all about. You might even include Resurrection Eggs.
53. Serve the City
Our Local Missions team has countless opportunities to serve the city available online. They won’t all be right for your family, but you’re sure to find one.
54. Collect Supplies
Work together as a family to collect and donate supplies for people in need, perhaps especially for those affected by a natural disaster. Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief is a great place to start.
55. Practice Talking About Jesus
Take turns with one member of your family pretending to not know about Jesus and have everyone else practice sharing about Jesus with them.
56. Visit a Mosque or Temple
Visit another place of worship to learn what they believe. Be respectful but be sure to pray for them and look for opportunity to share.
57. Provide Meals for ESL
Every week our ESL ministry provides a meal for the students and volunteers. They’re often looking for people willing to help out. You even get to eat with the students and their families.
58. Make Something to Wear
Make a bracelet or t-shirt or button or anything to help you remember to pray for the lost or for specific people with whom you want to share the gospel.
59. Color a Picture
Get a coloring book that features different types of people from around the world. Have everyone color a picture and spend time praying for the people those pictures represent.
60. Collect Food for Serving You
Work together to clean out your pantry or to collect non-perishables to donate to Serving You Ministries.
61. Do an Activity
The North American Mission Board’s Send North America Activity Book will help your entire family learn about how to reach people in our own country.
62. Make a Mission Mosaic
Cut out pictures from magazines and work together to create a mosaic to show what the work of a family on mission looks like.
63. Play a Game
Learn a game from another culture. Play it together as a family. Talk about the people who originated that game and pray for the spread of the gospel among them. The WMU is a great resource for these games.
64. Play Dress Up
Look up pictures of families from other people groups around the world. Put together costumes or outfits that look like theirs. Then spend time praying they will come to know the gospel.
65. Visit the Zoo
Next time you’re at the zoo, don’t just talk about where different animals come from. Discuss the people that live in those places, too, and what access they have to the gospel and God’s Word.
66. Learn a New Sport
Learn a sport that’s played elsewhere around the world, even soccer, the world’s number one sport, is a good place to start. Pray for all the fans of that sport to come to know Christ.
67. Watch a Sport
Watch an international sporting competition together. Talk about and pray for the different countries competing.
68. Sing Songs
Pay attention to songs we sing in our Worship Gatherings that celebrate the mission of God. Sing them together in family worship, as well, or even the car.
69. Share in Small Group
Have each of your family members ask their small group leaders for some time to share with everyone else what you all are doing to be on mission together. Maybe you’ll inspire some others.
70. Read the News
71. Tell Stories
Tell each other stories of how you are each living individually on mission, botht he successes and the failures. Pray for one another.
72. Celebrate a Holiday
Either celebrate one of our holiday’s using some traditions from around the world or introduce a whole new celebration of another culture’s holiday. Talk about the people who celebrate that way and why. Then spend time praying for them together.
73. Make a Friend
Challenge each member of your family to make a new friend of a different ethnicity, language, or country.
74. Explore with Compassion
Compassion Explorer is a great resource to help your family learn how God is working in and through Compassion International, one of our global partners.
75. Go Wild
Learn what life as a missionary family can look like by watching some of the videos from The Wild Brothers, four brothers living with their parents on mission in Southeast Asia.
76. Take a (Digital) Trip
The IMB’s Caravan Friends allows your family to learn about different countries and the way God is working in those places.
77. Bake Cupcakes
These cupcakes were designed for Earth Day but could just as easily be used to talk about God’s love for the World.
78. Make a Craft
Brows Pinterest for some crafty ideas from around the world your family can make together. You could give the final crafts to a friend or even keep them to remind you to pray for people in need of the gospel.
79. Help an Angel Tree Child
Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program helps the children and families of prisoners during the holidays. It’s easy for your family to get involved.
80. Write a Letter to a Service Member
Operation Gratitude matches you with a member of our country’s military. Let them know of your appreciation and of God’s love and concern for them.
Walk your neighborhood or other parts of the city, praying for the people who live there or work there, for God to soften their hearts to the gospel or to grow their faith.
82. Carry Water
Many mothers and children of families around the world have to travel great distances for water. Get a small taste of what they experience by filling large containers with water and practicing carrying it. Afterwards you might consider donating to or fundraising for a ministry like Neverthirst.
83. Organize for Orphan Sunday
Organize your family, your small groups, or even a larger for Orphan Sunday to help people learn about and understand the needs of orphans around the world and how we all can make a difference for Christ in their lives.
84. Mobilize Your Class
Work together as a family to mobilize your child’s or children’s classes to raise money for a local ministry. Everything’s more fun together.
85. Engage in Gospel Conversations
Look for opportunities in encounters you have with people every day to include aspects of the gospel in your regular conversations.
86. Pray for Thirty Days
Commit as a family to pray for Muslim peoples around the world especially during the month of Ramadan.
87. Read Testimonies
Consider including testimonies from the work of God around the world in your time of family Worship. The Caleb Project can be a great resource for this.
88. Pack an Action Pack
Help persecuted Christians around the world by packing one of Voice of the Martyr’s action packs.
89. Fill a Family Med Pack
Help Christians fleeing ISIS and other Islamic extremists by providing a simple care package filled with everyday health and medical items like bandages, gauze, medical tape, washcloths, toothbrushes, soap and other items.
90. Put Together an Outreach Pack
Help Christians in restricted nations spread the gospel by providing them with Outreach Packs that they will give to their unsaved neighbors.
91. Learn to Be Courageous
Visit Kids of Courage, a site from Voice of the Martyrs, to help your whole family learn about the persecuted church around the world.
92. Watch a Video
93. Use Wycliffe Resources
Wycliffe Bible Translators has a wealth of resources to help your entire family develop a heart for missions.
94. Visit the Compassion Experience
The Compassion Experience is the best way to experience another part of the world without actually going there. We’ve hosted it at Brook Hills a couple of times before, but you can check their schedule to find the next time it will be nearby.
95. Throw a Party
When you’re homeless, you don’t get to celebrate life’s joys. Help spread cheer to those who need it most by being a Party Pal with Jessie’s Place. You can sponsor a birthday party, a holiday party, a baby shower or another joyous occasion
96. Become a Friendship Partner
The Friendship Partners program at UAB seeks to promote friendship and understanding between people of differing nationalities by pairing international students or scholars with interested families or individuals who will connect with them at least two times per month.
97. Help a Widow
98. Invite Someone to a Worship Gathering
Our Worship Gatherings are saturated in the gospel. Why not invite someone to join your family for worship. Maybe then you could take them to lunch afterwards and share with them more about all you experienced together.
99. Subscribe to Mission Friends at Home
Through songs, games, activities, and a note to parents, Mission Friends at Home delivers continued learning about missions for the whole family.
100. Get a Passport
Why not have your whole family ready to go whenever God calls? Getting a passport is a great way to start.
What about you? What ideas do you have for involving your family on mission?