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How to Talk to Family about Your Calling in Missions

How to Talk to Family about Your Calling in Missions

MAY 9, 2022   |   2.5 MINUTE READ

Do you feel called to be a missionary, but your parents aren’t quite sold on the idea? Maybe they’ve shared their concerns outright, or maybe you just sense a tension in the room whenever you bring up the subject.

While this can be a challenging situation to navigate, it’s possible to honor your parents and follow the Lord’s will for your life at the same time.

Honor Your Parents

Let’s start with the elephant in the room—the fifth of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12 NLT).

Often, this verse has been used to tell children to obey their parents. The word obey, however, is not found in the verse. Instead, the word used here is honor. Our obedience must always be first and foremost to God.

An older man and a younger man sitting on the front steps of a house, talking.

What Stage of Life Are You In?

If you’re a young adult, you may need to listen to your parents. They have perspective and life experience worth listening to as you make life decisions. It may be that you need to have grace for them as they transition to relating to you as an adult.

Your parents have spent a long time as your providers and protectors; it might take time for them to let go of their parental oversight and trust God to lead and take care of you.

Ask Jesus to make a way for you to honor them and yet follow Him into what He is calling you to.

If you are older and have children, it may be all about those grandchildren, not you! When your parents say, “Don’t leave,” what they often mean is, “Don’t take those babies away from me!” If your parents are retired or close to retirement, they may be concerned that no one will be here to take care of them.

These are real concerns to ask Jesus to meet as He makes a way for you to follow Him into missions.

Seek Wisdom

Ask an older Christian to pray with you and give you their perspective. Be open to godly counsel.

Honestly ask yourself, “Are there issues I do need to ask Jesus to resolve before I go? Is the timing right? Do my parents see something that I am missing? Am I willing to trust Jesus to take care of my loved ones as I go forward in obedience?”

Ask Jesus to meet both you and your parents in the process.

Jesus does not call us in isolation. He knows what it will cost our families for us to obey, and HE is ready to come alongside them as we walk forward. There is blessing in obedience for you and for those around you!

In certain areas, maybe the Lord has given you grace and faith that your parents might not have yet. You’re ready to raise support; your parents think you expect them to support you or don’t like the idea of fundraising. You’re ready to trust Jesus for your safety and health; your parents, who for years were responsible for those areas of your life, are not yet able to trust as easily as you do.

The good news is that Jesus can work in your parents’ hearts. He can do new things in them. He can make a way for you to obey Him, regardless of the choices your parents make.

God knows your situation and will fight for you.

Two women, one older and one younger sitting on a sofa, talking

Tips for Talking with Your Parents

  • No matter your age or stage of life, hear your parents out.
  • Do not summarily dismiss them.
  • Give them space to process your announcement.
  • Go back to them. Offer more details.
  • Hear their questions.
  • Hear their objections to your going.
  • Let there be space and time to research, ask others, and get information.
  • Give them the phone number of a missionary with the organization they can contact and share their concerns and questions with.
  • Pray together and individually about your going.
  • Let them into the process, and you will be honoring them.

Further Study

  • Luke 9:57–62, The Cost of Following Jesus
  • Luke 14:25–27, Discipleship Tested
  • Matthew 19:27–30, The Disciple’s Reward
  • In the Arena by Isobel Kuhn, A testimony of how Jesus worked for Isobel when her mother was dead set against her daughter becoming a missionary

To have a conversation with someone about World Gospel Mission, connect with one of our mobilizers.

Download this resource as a PDF.

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