Finding Balance for Missions and Family
Jon & Ann Dunagan
May 15, 2017
How can we balance our passion for missions with our hearts for our homes? Do we have to choose between “raising our kids” and “reaching the lost”—or is it possible to do both?
As parents, we’re called to raise our kids; and as Christians, we’re called to reach the lost. We really can’t fulfill one of these callings, if we choose to neglect the other.
As we were working on the vision for The Mission-Minded Family, we researched and evaluated the homes and family-lives of well-known missionaries. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that many missionary heroes with families were not heroes of the family. Some of the most prominent names in mission history had horrible problems at home; while other leaders (such as William and Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army or Hudson and Maria Taylor) found a powerful ministry-family balance.
As we began to delve deeper into these examples, we searched for clues and common-denominators for those godly world-changing leaders who had God-glorifying homes.
And we believe we found the key. -- It’s PRAYER and the PRESENCE of God.
The men and women of God who focused primarily on seeking the Lord and their personal devotion to Him (rather than focusing on a merely a successful ministry) seemed to find God’s divine balance for each day. As a result, not only did their ministries glorify God, but their families did as well.
Author and international minister Dr. David Shibley says, “The normal Christian life is anything but balanced, as popularly defined . . . The normal Christian life is high risk and high joy. The normal Christian life releases the temporal to embrace the eternal . . . God is not calling us to win the world and, in the process, lose our families. But I have known those who so enshrined family life and were so protective of “quality time” that the children never saw the kind of consuming love that made their parents’ faith attractive to them. Some have lost their children, not because they weren’t at their soccer games or didn’t take family vacations, but because they never transmitted a loyalty to Jesus that went deep enough to interrupt personal preferences.”
We want our family to have that kind of consuming love, with high risk and high joy. We want to live out our faith in a way that is not only attractive, but also compelling and irresistible! We want to be moved by the passions of God’s heart—and for my kids to take these godly passions to a deeper level. We want to hand off the baton to our descendants, and have them run faster and farther than we ever did.
Let’s raise our kids; let’s reach the lost; and let’s challenge the next generation to live for God with even greater boldness, wisdom, and effectiveness. Through Christ, all things are possible.
(Note: Photo is of our son and daughter-in-law, Daniel & Anna Dunagan, on a mission outreach to SE India, with the precious kids at Aasha Children's Home, a ministry founded by another son and his wife, Josh & Anna Dunagan, with Gospel Projects International. While Daniel & Anna were on this mission trip, we had the honor of helping watch their two little kiddos. It was a joy for everyone!)
Jon & Ann Dunagan
JON & ANN DUNAGAN, founders of Harvest Ministry (1987) are international mission leaders and veteran homeschooling parents of 7 children (born in 1986 to 2000, with 6 graduates and growing number of married-in-spouses and grandchildren). Collectively, the Dunagan’s and their children have ministered or traveled to approximately 100 nations and to all 7 continents — focused on frontier evangelism, loving orphans, planting churches, mentoring Daring Daughters, and calling families to God’s Great Commission. Jon & Ann are authors of books for families and children including The Mission-Minded Family, The Scarlet Cord: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus, and The Whole World Needs Jesus.