Commissioning Families: The Significance of Home-Focused Ministry
“What is your area of ministry?”
Ask this of a church planter, an evangelist, or a seminary professor.
But also ask this of a mom, a freelancer, or a child.
Many parents could answer that their area of ministry is the home. Raising and discipling children, getting to know neighbors, feeding their kids’ friends snacks after school – these are valuable areas of ministry that may not be formalised.
The home is a central hub of ministry because of Greater Europe Mission’s philosophy that families serve together. GEM doesn’t merely send individuals across the globe to multiply disciples and grow Christ’s church.
GEM sends families, not just the head of the household.
After a candidate orientation and commissioning, GEM includes children by giving both the kids and the parents certificates of commissioning with the organization. GEM doesn’t ask adults to decide between family and ministry. Instead, it sends families on mission together.
Rachelle Neal, GEM’s Vice President of Europe, passionately points out, “I believe God knows each of us, and it is no mistake that the whole family is there – the wife, the husband, the children. He lovingly called the whole group of you. God doesn’t just send one, he sends the whole family.”
Being a part of an organization that recognizes the value of families serving together means families are expected and allowed to figure out how to best care for each other and those around them. There are resources for parents, kids, and families – some existing and some being developed – because the entire family is important in the Kingdom of God.
Staying at home – as a parent, a homemaker, or a neighbor – is a valuable area of ministry.
GEM introduced Impact Zones in the last year, including the “Home Focused” Impact Zone because the organization appreciates that many people spend a lot of their ministry time within their homes with family and neighbors. They recognize the home is a place of discipleship and growing the global church.
Home Focused ministry doesn’t merely encompass stay-at-home moms but includes a range of people: freelancers who work-from-home, stay-at-home dads, parents who share the parenting and outside ministry responsibilities, as well as those who practice hospitality and good neighboring.
Giftings and responsibilities like cooking, administration, parenting, and homemaking are not less valuable because they happen at home and not out in the world and in the public eye. Many times, these gifts and services take place to allow someone else in the house to go out and serve in the church, community, or marketplace.
Those with home-focused ministries are deeply valued as people and affirmed as disciple-makers.
After Rachelle took on her role as Vice President of Europe, her whole family made a big move from North Macedonia to Frankfurt, Germany. She describes how she wouldn’t be able to take on this role without the support of her husband Josh. He was the one spending five hours a day helping their kids navigate busses and trains to and from school in their new city. “That was really important because it frees me to do the things God’s called me to do in that moment. And [my husband] sees that as ministry. I do, too.”
Rachelle’s own experience is a picture of what it looks like to serve as a family, and she describes how her husband’s role is essential to her own. “I could not do what I do if it weren’t for Josh and what he does. And in the same way, when he’s out there, he could not do what he does if it weren’t for me,” Rachelle reiterates so clearly. Whether it is the mom or the dad at home, specifically in the context of a family, the stay-at-home spouse offers stability and support that is important for the whole family’s ministry.
With an attitude of thankfulness and appreciation for the ministry of the stay-at-home spouse, Rachelle reflects Greater Europe Mission’s heart as well. If she could sit down with each person individually, she would lovingly affirm what they are doing at home and reassure them of their value and identity in Christ, whatever their season and capacity to serve inside or outside the home.
For the moms who are grappling with a season of young kids or special challenges, Rachelle offers this reassurance: “The home being in order is a really key thing [in ministry], and the stay-at-home-mom makes a lot of those things her priority. Each family has the freedom to figure out how to make those things happen.” This work of homemaking and discipling children may be done by a mom or dad and is often behind the scenes, but shouldn’t be overlooked.
Greater Europe Mission, as an organization that values each member of the family, continues to shift its structures to reflect its beliefs, offering assistance, accountability, and affirmation to all those in ministry.
Do you want to be a part of nurturing a culture where the family is on mission together?
Do you want to join an organization that values, affirms, and supports each family member in their current season of life?
Inquire here to learn how your family can serve on mission together in Europe and pray with us on Fridays for God to guard our GEM families and use them to make disciples and grow Christ’s Church across Europe.
About the author:
Emily Nichols lives in Manchester, England with her husband and two boys. Together, they serve their local church and disciple Iranians through hospitality and Bible studies.