A healthy church, a true church, is a church on mission; one that follows Jesus as disciples while making disciples of others. A church on mission maintains both an outward and inward orientation with the hope of the gospel and works of grace. We are to reach out, gather in, and worship Jesus together in all of life. When a church loses sight of the mission Christ gave us (to make disciples) it not only ceases to participate in Christ's ingathering of those he calls to himself, but it also begins to die. A church can only live as she abides in Jesus, and Jesus is definitely on mission. To abide with him we must go with him. But this sin of "no-mission" will not only kill the church, it will also kill the family. Edmund's Clowney's book, The Church, is my favorite single volume on the church. In his chapter on the mission of the church he makes the following point.
What is true of a congregation is true also of a Christian home. If a family fails to seek to gather friends and neighbors to Christ in hospitality and quiet witness, the children of the family will be scattered. We fail to bring up children in the nurture of the Lord if we fail to involve them in our efforts to gather others to the Savior.
- Edmund P. Clowney, The Church
As we are heading into a new year it's good to do some evaluation of our homes, make some adjustments, repent, and follow the Lord. Perhaps some of us can begin by asking a series of questions.
What is the functional center of our home?
What do we look to as a family for help, confidence, and joy?
Do the members of our household see the mission of the church reflected in our prayers?
Who are we reaching out to as a family with the hope of the gospel?
Who should we be reaching out to as a family with love (the great commandments) and the gospel (the great commission)?
What practices and rhythms should we begin in 2013 to help us become a home that participates in the mission God gave the church?
God has given all of us the ministry of reconciliation, and as witnesses of Jesus we are called by God to testify of him to others through our vocation, recreation, and home. And we shouldn't wait for 2013. There is time now. There is need now. And it's Christmas, which means not only are you afforded the natural opportunity to talk to others about Jesus, it's also a perfect time to practice hospitality. Open your home, friends. You can't be on mission with the doors closed.