What do families entering missions need?
One year ago, Beth and I knew God was calling us into missions. We had both been in full-time Christian ministry all our adult lives, but it was now time to transition into a new season. We took the plunge and enrolled in a training school at Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Tyler, Texas. Our two oldest children had grown and left home to pursue college degrees, but our teenage daughter, Lauren, would be along for the ride with us. We wondered, "What could our missionary training possibly have to offer her?"
At the time we knew very little about being missionaries and certainly had no idea about doing missions as a family, having no framework on which to hang our expectations. Unquestionably, our calling as parents remained - we still had a responsibility to disciple Lauren and ensure she was cared for. But we wrestled with a persistent problem: we were being called into a missionary lifestyle and that was new to us.
How do you disciple your teenager into something you yourself are only beginning to grow into?
Despite our years of life and ministry experience, we felt very inexperienced here. We had no idea how family missions training could work in practice. But God had called us, so we trusted He would work it all out for our daughter's good.
Then we discovered Family Sync School. This unique program provides opportunity for the school-aged children of YWAM Tyler students to participate in discipleship training in step with their parents. We became excited to see the way God could use this program to disciple our family into missions, together. And we were not disappointed!
Family Sync proved to be such a blessing for us. Knowing Lauren was going through the same classes we were meant we could process our learning and growth together. The synchronized classes allowed us to be discipled as a family into missions.
This is what I describe as PARTNERSHIP: a training base coming alongside parents and children to disciple both generations together. We were so thankful for the partnership we experienced with YWAM and specifically Family Sync, which really helped us grow as a family.
However, the classroom phase was only part one of our training. The second phase launched us out with a team of other families for seven weeks of full-time missionary service (known in YWAM as "Outreach"). This threw the door wide open for us to experience what I now describe as the second essential ingredient of family missions training: PARTICIPATION.
We were a family after all, not a group of individuals going through Discipleship Training School together, and Beth and I still wanted to be able to teach Lauren by our example. Our outreach provided abundant opportunities to do this! We found that Lauren could minister right beside us and we could all learn from each other.
Participating in missions as a family meant we could watch over and encourage our daughter in the things God was teaching her. It was really great to see Lauren gain confidence as she began to minister to other people herself and not simply watch us doing ministry.
It was so wonderful being able to share this new experience together, and we were amazed by how our outreach changed her. We witnessed our daughter step up into leadership roles and step out into personal ministry, even to adults.
Participation in outreach really put the icing on the cake of the partnership we had earlier experienced on the YWAM campus. Beth and I are now completing a secondary school called School of Evangelism (SOE) to continue equipping us for this life of missions. And we are anticipating with excitement going out once again as a family into the nations to make disciples!
~ Guest Author: Allen Knox
YWAM Tyler Family Ministries would love to partner and participate with your family, too, as God leads you on a journey into missions. Our next Discipleship Training School with concurrent Family Sync School commences July 1, 2018. Click below for more details, fill out an application, and let's do this thing together for the glory of God!!
Families from all over come to YWAM Tyler for training. Read their stories of faith in missions.