Marriage or Mission?
Mar 8, 2020 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
“The health of your family is central to the effectiveness of your mission.”
I was a young husband and father preparing to move to Eastern Europe in obedience to God’s call. Regular meetings with my disciple-making pastor were part of my preparation, but I expected that we would spend more time talking about ministry strategy. Instead, his first item of business was always the same.
“How are you caring for your wife? How are you leading your kids? What is the health of your family?”
The intensity of his voice and strength of his emotions left no doubt in my mind that this was a subject near to his heart. Trying to understand more, I asked what I thought was an obvious question.
“So how should I balance family and ministry?”
“Balance?” he said, with a stern tone that caught me off guard. “When you balance you place two things in opposition to each other, assuming that when one gets more the other gets less. It sounds like you believe the more you give to your family, the less you give to ministry. Or, the more you give to ministry, the less you will have for your family.”
“What you don’t understand”, he continued, “is how the strength of your marriage and the health of your family extends and multiplies the impact of your ministry. The inverse is also true. There’s almost nothing that will limit your ministry’s effectiveness more than a lack of health in your marriage and in your home.”
Then came the phrase I have never forgotten. “The health of your family is central to the effectiveness of your mission. If you want to be effective as a missionary, disciple first at home. Then, together with your wife and children, make disciples of those around you.”
Thank you, Rich, for those very wise words. Because of your foresight, healthy marriages and families have been a top priority in Josiah Venture from the very beginning. As I write this, I am preparing to join over 100 of our JV staff couples in Krakow, Poland as we spend four days investing in the strength of our marriages.
Focused Bible teaching will be combined with hours of conversation and reflection as individual couples. Concentrated time alone with their spouse will provide an experience that is difficult for most missionary parents of young children to find. We have raised the funds to give this event to all of our national staff for free and brought in a number of seasoned professionals to provide personal counseling sessions for every couple.
Ministry strategy is very important. But, none of it matters if the fires are not burning at home. Thanks for helping us fan the flame.
Related Blog Posts
The Josiah Venture team was small enough to sit in a circle in my living room when I first shared a vision that was close to my heart. God... Read more
Dear Friends, Good news? Sometimes it doesn’t sound like good news. On a recent trip to Prague I stopped in to see a dear friend of... Read more
Josiah Venture began in 1992 when three couples made initial 10-year commitments to partnering with local churches in Poland and the Czech Republic... Read more