CL: As you quote from Richard Stearns in your book, proclaiming the whole Gospel includes practicing “tangible compassion” for the lost and the least. When moms practice tangible compassion, what impact does it have on their families and on the world?
Helen: As an example, I can tell a story from our family’s experience. We’ve donated together to a number of worthy causes to help those in extreme global poverty, but last summer, our family brought a meal to a homeless shelter and had the chance to both serve and interact with the residents.
It was our first direct experience with those who are homeless, and my kids had a great time with the women at the shelter. I love that, already in their minds, the homeless are not people to be feared or shunned but people made in the image of God just like them. However, I appreciate what my friend Arloa Sutter, executive director of , says on this topic: “There is a difference between serving the poor and loving the poor. We are called to love the poor.”
Our family has a long way to go to understanding this call from God, but I think the more we move in that direction, the more doing so will influence our kids for good. Kids have an amazing openness to missional values, and the younger we start impressing these values on our kids, the easier it will be for them to walk this path as they get older.
CL: What are some ways churches can support and encourage moms in their pursuit of living out God’s mission at home and in the world?
Helen: First of all, help them understand the truth that their calling is the same as it was before they became a mom: love God and pursue Him, first and foremost.
Second, encourage moms to embrace God’s mission for them, which is to be his witness and disciple-maker to the world around them.
Third, help them understand their areas of giftedness and encourage them to use these gifts in service to Kingdom work rather than assuming the moms should all serve in their children’s ministry.
Fourth, help moms (and dads!) embrace the biblical mandate to be their children’s primary spiritual teachers (as opposed to assuming the church should take that role).
Fifth, highlight stories of moms who are living out missional values, either at home or in the workplace or wherever else God has placed them, as a way to inspire other moms and affirm missional living when you see it. Those are just a few ideas!