By Jenny Stephenson
As a homeschool mom who has served in missions work around the world and as a family that is in the process of an international adoption, I’m passionate about exposing our children to different cultures, foods, and ministries the Lord is doing around the world and here in the United States. Having a family that is mission-minded is not only important, but I believe it’s Biblical. In this article, I’ll share some family ministry ideas that I’ve found to be successful.
Teaching Culture With Family Ministry
Jesus left us with the command to go into all the world, to preach, teach, and baptize. This command is not intended only for short term missions trips, and it’s not something we wait to do when our children turn 21. The missional life starts the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.
I realize this can sound overwhelming at first with babies on our hips, piles of dirty laundry, and dinner still frozen at 4:45 p.m., but I am confident that with prayer and a little bit of planning we can cultivate a heart for missions in our homes.
Each month on this blog we will focus on a specific country’s culture, their food, related craft ideas, current ministry praises, and prayer requests. We will highlight missionaries you can friend on Facebook, send letters to, and potentially someday serve alongside!
Country: United States
We are going to start with the obvious this month to help get our families engaged with the idea of missional living. Let’s begin this journey with the United States of America! This month, let’s find some “all-American” activities to do with our families.
Some ideas that come to mind are to visit a state park for a picnic, go see a national monument or historic landmark, or attend a baseball or football game. Be intentional about learning a little history ahead of time and make this a memorable event with your family. Perhaps you might stumble upon a new family tradition!
Slider Burger Recipe
Can we get more all-American than burgers? My slider burger recipe is a family favorite and a staple for me during the homeschool year. I make these in bulk and freeze the leftovers for quick lunches. Here is the recipe:
- 3 pounds of ground beef
- 1 C of cooked rice or cooked quinoa
- 1 white onion, chopped fine
- 2 Tbs. garlic salt
- Sliced cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese your family prefers)
- 2- 24-count packs of Hawaiian sweet rolls
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Mix all ingredients together
- Split mixed ingredients in two 9″x13″ glass pans
- Cover pans with tin foil
- Bake for 30 minutes
- Remove foil and place sliced cheese over cooked meat
- Let the sliders cool a few minutes while the cheese melts
- Now comes the brilliant part! Open your Hawaiian sweet rolls (can I say, yum?!). Take them out of the package still connected together, and slice the rolls in half horizontally. Take the sliders from the 9″x13″ pan, and set the entire patty on top of the bottom slice of sweet rolls. Put the tops of the sweet rolls on top of the sliders. Using a knife, cut along the sweet rolls lines!
- Top with burger toppings of your choice. My kids are pretty simple, they like pickles and ketchup!
- Freeze the leftovers for another meal.
Family Ministry Ideas
Missions work does not have to happen in another country, and, in fact, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to apply a missional focus at home long before we ever make it overseas. Here are a few creative family ministry ideas on how we can live the missional life while living here in the United States:
- Homeless Care Packages: Freezer-size zipper bags stuffed with water bottles, a bar of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby wipes, and some nuts or granola bars. Have your children put these bags together, then put them in the car to hand out when you see a homeless person. I can tell you there have been several times I’ve had to turn the car around because my children spotted someone in need! Your children will love giving away these care packages!
- Police and Firemen: Have your children help you bake brownies or cookies and take them to your local rescue workers to show your appreciation for their hard work. Make a consistent plan to go see these service men and women on a regular basis, and perhaps start building relationships with them.
- Neighbors: I mean literally your neighbors on your street. Do you know them well enough to know how you can serve them? It can start with a simple invitation for dinner, dropping off sweets, or simply bringing their trashcan in from the street. Look for opportunities to be intentional and serve, serve, and serve some more!
- Local Outreach Programs: There are more options than we might realize. In general, soup kitchens, retirement homes, and foster care programs are a good place to start. You can also teach your kids to crochet blankets for babies in the NICU, be a friend to someone in a retirement home, search out widows and single moms in your community.
Once the ball gets rolling, your creative spirit will run wild creating your own family ministry ideas! What is your passion? What makes you cry? What keeps you up at night? Those are passions from the Lord you need to pursue with your children!
Take time as a family this month and pray for the United States. Pray for our service men and women, leaders, pastors, churches, neighbors, ministries, and service projects you are a part of. Pray however the Lord leads you and your family.
I hope this blog will help create an atmosphere of missional living in your home. If you are wanting to learn more about being mission-minded I encourage you to take the 40 Day Mission-Minded Family Challenge with Harvest Ministry.
Keep your eyes open for next month’s Homeschooling Around the World blog post!
Jenny Stephenson is married to her high-school sweetheart, Ben, and currently the mother of three children as her family anxiously awaits the arrival of another son and daughter through adoption later this year. Jenny homeschools her children on their property in Austin, Texas. She is a leader in a homeschool group called GrowAustin and is a District Leader with DaringDaughters.org. Jenny also owns her own home-based, plant-based business and blogs at www.vintageburlapbarn.blogspot.com.