For some time I have been using the expression Families on Mission (FOM) and inviting us here at Jericho Road to consider how we might give expression to this, how we might all seek to belong to such a grouping. I've talked about households and possibly the connection of 2/3 households to become such a FOM. It is not about only parents with children but singles, widows, kids, marrieds, empty-nesters, everyone!
The purpose of a FOM is to multiply the life of Jesus by reproducing ourselves into the lives of others, so they can become Jesus followers who do the same with others. This model comes from God himself, who exists as a family, but who also purposefully reaches out to draw others in, to become his children but then grow and mature to become parents themselves, while still being God's children.
This pattern is what shapes our natural families, and is the pattern Jesus spoke of in terms of spiritual life and health.In almost every book of the New Testament, the way the writer understands the process of discipleship and spiritual formation is through the lens of parent and child. The nature and goal of family is meant to shape how we are in terms of loving relationships and providing a place to be known and to belong, unconditionally.
In Paul's missionary journeys, he moved towards a strategy of planting the gospel directly in the Graeco-Roman oikos (household). He totally bypassed the religious structure of synagogue, and trained households to live as families on mission. Some have commented that this is most likely why the Christian faith spread like wildfire in the first few hundred years.Why invest in making healthy, growing, balanced disciples in small, family-like groups?
1. It integrates authentic spirituality (following Christ) casually and naturally into all of life without being constrained by religious or institutional traditions.
2. It is significant for the Kingdom of God today (and forever) because it relies on the strong characteristics of being .. Simple .. Relational .. Sustainable (reproduces itself)
3. It is economical (in more than a financial way) in that it can be done .. anywhere .. by anyone (non-professionals) .. with little resources .. has the potential to correct many of the ills of 'traditional Christianity' in only one generation.
This is a journey we are on ... together. One in which we are totally dependent upon the the life of Christ through His Spirit in us. It will challenge us to truly become those who "lay down their lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16) as I reflected on last Sunday morning, but out of profound gratitude for the One who did that for us as an expression of the Father's love.
With love and prayers,