The word “missional” has become for some a softer version of the word “evangelism.” But the word “missional” grows out of a theology that can’t be reduced to the stereotype of evangelism. In essence, missional is about participating in the work God is doing in this world, and since God’s design is for humans to govern the world on his behalf, reflecting his image, and bringing holistic healing to a groaning world/cosmos, the word better expresses what it means to live out God’s purpose for us in this world. Missional, though, includes — indeed, centers on — the gospel about Jesus Christ. It can’t be reduced to justice or peace.
Quite frankly this world “missional” has become occupied by theologians and up-to-date pastors in spite of the obvious fact that if we are truly missional it means each of us regardless of what we do. I believe the central questions of missional people are What is God doing? and What can I do to help you?
What’s going on with any clusters of “missional moms” in your faith community? Are missional moms being recognized for what they are doing?
Enter Helen Lee, a missional mom in suburban Chicago, a homeschooling missional mom, a birdwatching missional mom — and a writer to boot. Enter her new book, The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home & in the World, and enter into a world that sketches what missional moms are doing in the mission of God.
Pastors need this book the most (and I know that moms will likely see the book for them). Why say this? Because pastors need (1) to know what moms are doing in the mission of God in their churches and (2) pastors need to let Helen teach them how to tell stories about the missional work of moms.
And I would say this: if someone says “what’s missional?” hand them this book. There’s theology here, yes, but this book embodies what missional means.
This book is born out of reality: Helen is the mother of three boys and asked this question: “If motherhood was supposed to be a high and holy calling, why was the daily experience so often draining and joyless?” She wondered about her gifts that she had developed but that were not on the shelf. And she wondered if asking questions about purpose and meaning and calling were signs that she was a bad mother.
Helen Lee can flat-out write and tell a good story and so in this book she plies her journalistic trade to good use around a variety of topics by probing the missional lives of real moms. The book is filled with good stories …
The missional mom embraces the call of her missional God, resists cultural pressures, and is a cultural rebel.
In addition, missional moms engage the needs of this world, they don’t “do evangelism,” they love the least of these, they are Third Culture, the create missional families and they are culture-makers.
But missional moms are not alone and need missional communities for support. The missional mom surrenders all.
I would urge local churches, and any women’s small groups, to think about using this book to explore how you, your family and your church can become more missional.
Here are some powerful observations of what churches can do to encourage missional moms:
Missional churches affirm and celebrate missional moms.
Missional churches support the work women are doing, in or outside the home.
Missional churches challenge cultural values that go against missional ones.
Missional churches encourage service along the lines of gifts, not roles.
Missional churches challenge husbands to be missional as well.
Missional churches encourage moms both to ‘bloom where you’re planted’ and to ‘go where you’ll bloom.”