The Heart and Home of Missions: Reproducing God’s Image in the Earth
What do you when you come face to face with the Father of Creation and you come in direct contact with His heart?
Well, I’ll tell you what I did.
I took a deep look at the state of my own heart and my foundations and motivations in ministry and
About a year and a half ago, I had quite a life-altering encounter with God.’s father heart. It was a game-changer for me. It redirected the entire course of my life and my ministry and brought me back to my homeland. Since my return, I have had to ask myself a lot of honest, heart-wrenching questions.
And today, I’d like to share some of the emerging answers that have come out of this season of asking these life-altering questions.
You see, for any of us who identify ourselves as “ministers” or “missionaries”, our vocation is to share God’s heart with those who have not yet met Him. Our very “job”, so to speak, is to present God to this world. So, then, who is God? And who does He identify Himself as, primarily?
I would say that, primarily, God wants to be known as a Father. He is the very first Father and He is the Father of all creation.
God’s heart is one of a father. He lives and breathes fatherhood as His highest and greatest vocation. (Not that God actually sees it as a “vocation” since it is just “who He is”, but you get my point, I hope).
So, what is fatherhood all about? Well, it’s really simple. Fatherhood is all about family. And family is all about relationship. It’s all about a relational community lived out in the context of “real life”.
This begs the question: If God is primarily identifying Himself as a Father, then why do we tend to center our ministries around a public model of “services”, “meetings” and “events”? If we take our ministries outside of the context of family life, how do we think that we will somehow accurately portray God’s fathering heart?
I would challenge all of us (I’m preaching to myself as well) that the world is not fully seeing the display of our Heavenly Father’s heart because we continue to keep the doors of our hearts and the doors of our homes, closed to the world. We have taken ministry outside of the home, and brought it into the public place. This is not to say that we cannot minister in the streets or in public places, but I would say that this cannot and should not be the primary place of ministry. The home is where it’s at. Really at.
Radical missions and radical ministry is not a fiery service with great teaching and enthusiastic singing. I mean, that’s definitely an integral part of our Christian expression, as God loves to engage our minds in learning and to express our love and passion for life through music. But I would like to put it on the table and say that radical missions and radical ministry is a healthy, whole heart that thrives within a healthy, loving family and community.
Ministry and missions is all about the heart. Ministry and missions is all about the family.
If we separate our ministries from the heart of our personal life, our home life, our marriage life, our family life and our relational life, I would say we are separating ourselves from the very heart of God.
He is a Father and His heart is in the home.
We cannot reproduce His image as a Father across the globe without opening up our homes and our hearts and our families to a world that desperately need to experience the love of this good and wonderful Father.
Tragically, most of the world still thinks of God as a distant, angry task-master, totally disconnected from their real lives and completely irrelevant to all their genuine heartaches, pains and troubles. This false representation of God is such a far cry from His real heart as a Father.
The world must see our good and loving Father. They must.
The world desperately needs to see a re-presentation of our loving, relational Father. How will those who have never known our God to be relational and relevant to their personal lives, if we do not allow them into our personal lives for them to see God-in-the-flesh? How will they know that God loves to spend quality time with them, unless we spend quality time with them? How will they know that God loves to throw house parties and dinner feasts, unless we invite them over for for a meal? How will they know that God is a Father who adores His sons and daughters, unless we bring them into our hearts and love them as our own sons and daughters?
This paradigm-shift in the heart of our ministries begs us to ask the tough questions that hit close to home. If ministry is all about our hearts and our relationships, we must ask ourselves:
“How is my heart? I mean, really, how am I doing?
How is my family life?
How is my home life?
How is my marriage?
How is my relationship with my children?
How are my friendships?”
We cannot avoid these very personal questions. They are at the very core and heart of our ministry. We cannot sweep our relational difficulties under the carpet and think that we can go on with “business as usual” and continue on with our activities and think that everything’s going to be okay.
If our relationships are not okay, it’s not okay.
As ministers and missionaries, we cannot allow our relationships to be neglected. They are the central part, the very heart of 100% of our ministries. They determine what image of God will be reproduced in your little corner of the world, and eventually across the entire world.
We are not reproducing our words. We are reproducing our hearts. We are reproducing our relationships.
The world will see the state of your heart. The state of your relationships. The state of your marriage. The state of your family. The state of your home. And they will get their image of God through these core relationships. Now, I’m not saying this to bring any condemnation, whatsoever, to those who find themselves in difficult relationships despite all their prayers and genuine effort to develop a healthy home life. I’m only trying to emphasize the central importance of the heart and relationships.
If God’s image is to be reproduced accurately in every tribe, tongue and nation, we must come back to the heart of missions: our inner-life, our relational-life, our family-life, our home-life, our friendships and our community-life.
The world must see our good Father’s heart. They must.
Photo credit: *sweetkendi