3 Mission-Minded Family Dynamics

by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan.

God has a destiny for you and for your family. He has an individual plan for each member, as well as a “corporate” purpose for you as a family unit. As a mom, God will help you to train each child toward God’s mission for his or her life, and He will help you to focus your family toward making a strong impact for His kingdom — in your community, in your church, among your children’s friends, and in the world.

In a mission-minded family, there’s a God-infused energy. There’s a focus on God’s worldwide purpose. There’s a passion for the lost. There’s a spiritual depth and hunger that reaches beyond the maintenance mode of cultural Christianity. A mission-minded family emphasizes leadership, calling, and destiny. There’s a prevailing attitude of self-sacrifice. And there’s an unmistakable and contagious joy.

I believe these qualities can be identified and summarized in three powerful dynamics.

Dynamic #1: A mission-minded family lives in SUB-mission.

A mission-minded family is totally submitted to God and to His purposes. Like a submarine advancing to its underwater target, it’s under the surface that counts.

It may sound more important to board an overseas-bound 747 or to have the opportunity to influence a huge crowd of people, but these activities may not be God’s best plan for this particular moment (or season) in our lives. We’re all called, as believers, to be a part of God’s worldwide plan; but His expectations for us, as individuals and as a family, may be much smaller, yet possibly even more challenging to obey. Today’s mission-for-the-moment simply may be to open our Bible and read a few chapters or to take a minute to pray for a friend. Maybe right now all God wants is for us to snuggle up on the couch with a little one and read a fun storybook. Or perhaps God’s perfect will is merely for us to quit procrastinating, turn off the computer, and go finish those loads of laundry!

Living in SUB-mission to God involves every area of our lives: our personal maturity (spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially), our attitude toward our marriage, our family priorities, our disciplines in home management — along with our ministry callings. As we allow God to refine those sub areas in our lives, we can trust that He will fulfill all of His mission promises to us, in His timing.

Dynamic #2: A mission-minded family is focused on eternity.

Mission-minded families have a focused purpose for life.

It’s good to consider the godly legacy we will leave for the next generation and important to realize that our day-to-day decisions can leave a lasting example, for good or for evil. But as Christians, and as members of mission-minded families, our godly legacy is not the end. Our ultimate life evaluation will not be determined by the opinions of those we leave behind. Instead, our life will be judged by the One we go to meet—our almighty God in heaven.

A mission-minded family keeps God’s focus in mind. A powerful dynamic is present when you raise your children to walk daily in the fear of the Lord. It’s not about preparing kids to be successful, or to get into a good college, or to make a lot of money to give to missions, or even to do something “famous” for God. Our mission is to love and please God—to live every day in complete obedience.

How this plays out for each mission-minded family will be different. God has unique purposes and callings. But we begin with the end in mind. As we’re raising each of our children—from cuddling our babies, to disciplining our toddlers, to teaching and training our school-age children, to encouraging and motivating our teens, to aiming and releasing our young adults to God’s call for their lives—we keep the target in focus.

Dynamic #3: A mission-minded family is strategically aimed.

Each person in your family has specific gifts and callings, and you also have a destiny as a family.

God has placed you together as a powerful mission-minded unit, so it is important to seek the Lord for His purpose for you as a team.

Our goal is not to raise kids to be popular, famous, or wealthy. The goal is not to somehow get our teenagers to “survive” their youth without tasting a drop of alcohol, puffing on a cigarette, or experimenting with illegal drugs. It’s not enough to “hope” that each child will turn out okay or “trust” that they won’t be “too bad.” As we influence tomorrow’s world changers, our vision must be infinitely higher.

Instead of focusing on the “NO” side of human legalism (emphasizing our never-ending rules), it’s much more fulfilling and productive to challenge young people to live on the “YES” side of God’s life (emphasizing His eternal plans).

As we keep each of our children focused on God’s long-term goals, today’s short-term decisions will make sense. And today’s temptations, by God’s grace, will be easier to withstand.

As mission-minded families, we can seek God’s direction and then begin to serve as God’s facilitators and motivators. If we can encourage our children to discover God’s plans and want to develop specific God-given abilities, it will totally change everything. Instead of dealing with surface issues, we begin to train our children’s hearts and to focus on staying aimed toward God’s purpose. A change at this root level alters everything, from grades in studies and success in activities to confidence in leadership and a spiritual desire to develop God-glorifying friendships.

Mentor Families for World Missions

The post is adapted from my book, The Mission-Minded Family. Right now, our mission outreach, Harvest Ministry, is running a special on my two-book-set (The Mission-Minded Child & The Mission-Minded Family — at our COST!). We also have a new FREE 30-page study guideusing these books (to mentor your family or small group in a 4-week study).

If you’re interested in learning more, please CONTACT me through our website, and put “MM-FAMILIES SUMMER SPECIAL” in the subject line, and I’ll send you more information (with no obligation). My heart is to motivate families for missions — right now, right where you’re at!!!

Missionary David Livingstone said, “The mission of the church is missions.”
I say, “God’s mission for the family is expanding His family!”

Blessings to you and yours!!!

About ADunagan

Ann Dunagan is a longtime homeschooling mother of 7 (ages 11 to 25, with 4 graduates), an international speaker with Harvest Ministry, co-founder of orphan ministries in East Africa and India (caring for over 700 children), and author of several books including The Mission-Minded Family. With a passion for the Lord and the lost, Ann motivates families for world missions.

8 Responses to 3 Mission-Minded Family Dynamics

  1. forum watch August 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Thanks for all of the hard work on this web site. I admit, I have not been on this website in a long time, however it was joy to find it again. It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals! I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

  2. Allison August 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Thank you so much for these encouraging posts! Right now we work in youth ministry with Youth for Christ and we are starting to see a need for our family to come up with a vision/mission statement so that we have somethig to use as a filter for what we will and won’t occupy our time with. Just knowing that God has a missional plan for our family to accomplish together is so powerful! Do you have any tools that your recommend for coming up with a vision statement?

  3. Jessica July 31, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    I really love everything that you write Ann. You are an inspiration and help me have the desire to grow/draw closer to God and figure out what he wants for me and my family personally. I want to learn how to fully submit to him. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

    • Ann Dunagan August 1, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      Thanks Jessica!

      I too want so much to continue to grow and draw closer to the Lord. Recently, I’ve been reading The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer. Such good meaty wisdom!!! As you submit and surrender to God, He will show you His path for your life.

      Blessings to you and your family!!!

  4. Ann Dunagan July 29, 2011 at 9:54 am #


    One thing about being a surrendered-to-Jesus mommy is that we’ll definitely have different seasons of ministry outreach during different seasons of our motherhood. As you’ve scaled back on your previous commitments to allow for bedtime with little ones, and as your husband has scaled back to allow for time with you, the Lord will show you His new plans for balancing ministry and family life. It’s an adventure, and God can give wisdom to continue to be a mission-minded family, even during our years with young children.

    Blessings to you!!!

  5. Ally July 29, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Thanks for this post… its prefect timing. My husband and I are trying to pray and discern our growing family’s role in what has been OUR mission–evangelization to young adults. But because the bedtime of little ones (and our new addition) conflicts with the time that young adults prefer to meet, I’ve had to scale back on my involvement. So of course my husband feels less given, because its something that we no longer do together. So yesterday we just had a conversation and decided we need to start really purposefully praying and this post gives a great launching point and broader vision. Thank you!