Collaboration as a Family

June 11, 2020

Jamie Taylor is one of more than 15 Kingdom leaders teaching during Exponential’s Online Community and Conference. Click here to learn more and register!

Imagine four, nervous kids, loaded down with heavy backpacks, walking hand in hand with their parents through foreign airports. This family was tied together with a common purpose – get to Ghana, West Africa and help start a Bible College. That was my family. And our time as foreign missionaries would prove to be the greatest adventure of my life…or so I thought.

Scratch that. Exactly thirty years later – my own four kids were loaded down with heavy backpacks, headed off to school from their Grandparent’s house where we lived while waiting for our new home to be ready. We were tied together with a common purpose.  Get ready to plant a movement called E3 church in Kuna, Idaho. The adventure continues!

You might say I know a little bit about collaboration as a family.  Not only was I born into a ministry family, but at the age of nineteen, I did something I said I’d never do…I married a man called to ministry.  As a couple, we’ve done a lot of reading, studying, and brainstorming on how to most effectively make a difference in our world. It’s our greatest desire to fulfill the great commission given to all of us who are followers of Jesus.  Matthew 28:18-20 details this challenge: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” The challenge He gave to His followers is pretty straight forward, and yet humans have theorized about hundreds of methods to make it a reality.

Since we have four children and are on mission as a family, I look back often to my past, when I was in my kids’ shoes. My amazing parents didn’t know it, but I cried internally every time I had to get up and help with our mission’s endeavors. As an undiagnosed introvert, I thought I would die every time.  Clearly, I didn’t. I’ve just spent time on a counselor’s couch trying to process the unintentional damage done in the name of ministry. And I worry about what I’m unintentionally doing to our children as I tell them to grin and bear it in the name of Jesus!

As a pastor’s wife, I suffered silently for years with panic attacks, partly from postpartum depression but also because I was trying to please everyone and live up to an imaginary idea of the perfect pastor’s wife. I didn’t know how to balance marriage, motherhood and ministry.  I thought there must be a special way, a method that we could find to help us being effective in leading people without losing our minds. And I was bearing too much of the weight on my own. I wish I would have realized that I needed to look to the simple strategy Jesus employed to change the lives of those He discipled. He invited people to walk with Him, He trained them in His ways, and commissioned them to live out what He taught them. We do that organically with the people closest to us. We provide them with the ability to reproduce what they see modeled in us.

There are people who have spent a lifetime researching the best way to collaborate and fulfill the great commission. And yet, I think the best method is the one Jesus exemplified. He served others. Whether it was spiritual, emotional or physical needs, Jesus met those needs. It may sound too easy, but I believe that as we serve the next person in front of us, whether it’s the child we’ve been blessed to raise, or the neighbor who needs a hand, we will pass on the ways of Jesus. We will do it by living generously and sacrificially. We will do it as we raise our children, help our community and let people see how we follow Jesus. We will collaborate and learn from each other, while keeping the focus on listening to the Holy Spirit, and we will empower our disciples to reproduce what we have shown them.  It’s more than a program, or a checklist, it’s about resting in the identity we’ve been given by our Father and by living a life that’s worth imitating and reproducing.

Jamie Taylor is one of more than 15 Kingdom leaders teaching during Exponential’s Online Community and Conference. Click here to learn more and register!

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