The first was the term ‘missionary’ I feel that this term needs to be redefined. Too often we view people that we send to a different culture and most specifically to a different country as the only missionaries. (On a side note I wonder if this is why some of our inner city missionaries have a hard time raising money. They are not far enough away.) This type of definition allows us to believe that we do not have to as active in sharing our faith because we are not actually missionaries. If we send someone to
The second term that I threw out was ‘family’. Now our table did not really get a lot of time to discuss this (actually on all the questions we would just be getting going when Lyn would tell us time was up). I believe that if we are going to be a ‘caring church’ we are going to have to get a bigger picture of family. When I said this someone else who was not from this community looked up and said “Oh. You must have moved into this community as well.” Family is often viewed as one of the primary care giving units. If you have family then you will be cared for. (Now I know that this is actually often wrong and that care is more than just showing up for a couple of family holidays. But this is the preception.) But if you do not have family where do you get your care? Families are tight knit groups that do not allow other people to really enter into them. In fact in many families if you are not born into it you will never really be part of it (even if you marry in). (Another little side note. This is why I do not like the term ‘church family’). The bible calls us to have an expansive view of family. Conversion is really a move from our biological families to the family of God. If we are going to care we are going to have to actually see other Christians as our real brothers and sisters.
These two things family and missionary need to be held together. If we are solely focused on missionary than often we are just after people to pray the sinner’s prayer and not real discipleship. If we get too focused on family than we need never see a need to reach to those who are outside of the family and invite them in.