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Is it possible for children to be homeschooled and missional?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in blog links, missional | 10 comments

Is it possible for children to be homeschooled and missional?

Scot at “The Jesus Creed” posted an interesting question/response in his post “Homeschooled and Missional? Absolutely!

In the post, a reader named Helen Lee is responding to another blogger who suggests that homeschooling, by definition, is anti-missional. By the way, by the term “missional,” I’m talking about God’s mission of redeeming the world and how he works through us.

At one point, Helen makes the following statement:

First of all, homeschooling one’s children does not automatically result in an anti-missional lifestyle any more than sending one’s children to public schools guarantees a missional one. It doesn’t matter what type of school your children attend. The greatest influence on a child’s life that will determine how missional he or she becomes is whether or not that child’s parents are living a missional lifestyle themselves.

Last year, I wrote a post called “Raising missional homeschooled children.” That turned out to be a very popular post, even though all I did was link to another post on the subject – a post written by a friend of mind called “Missional Homeschooling.” Although I didn’t say too much in my post, I left the following comment on the original post:

The first and most important thing we realized is that we can’t raise missional children if we are not missional ourselves. Second, we took our children with us when we served others, whether it was across the street or across the world.

As disciplers of our children (hopefully, not the only disciplers, but disciplers none-the-less), the way that we (as parents) interact with others will affect how our children interact with others, both positively and negatively.

Do you want to raise missional homeschooled (or public schooled or private schooled) children? Then live a missional life yourself, following Jesus as he desires to use you to impact the world around you for his kingdom.


10 Comments

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  1. 9-21-2012

    Yes! Thank you, Alan, for commenting on this. I completely agree.

  2. 9-21-2012

    Alan,

    I am beginning to think that the term ‘missional’ is something we created to use as a measuring rod against one another, akin to something along the lines of “So, how often do you pray?” or “How many church services does your church have?” In simpler terms, it smacks of religious standardization, and we all know how things like that turn out.

    Does ‘missional’ mean “How often are you preaching The Gospel and showing the Love of Jesus to sinners, because this is what true Christians do, all the time, always.” If so, then I am woefully un-Christian.

  3. 9-21-2012

    Chuck,

    Thank you!

    Donald,

    That’s not the way that I would define “missional.” I don’t think I’ve heard of others who have defined “missional” like that either. In simple terms, “missional” is the “loving your neighbor” part of what Jesus called the greatest commandment.

    -Alan

  4. 9-21-2012

    Alan,

    But where did the term ‘missional’ originate? What I am saying is it is just another man-made word designed to put Jesus into a box that we can say we have. Again, I believe this makes the term ‘missional’ nothing more than a measuring rod for believers to use against one another. If Jesus told us to love our neighbors, and He did, then why do we need to take that and put a title onto it? Why can’t we simply love our neighbors instead of wondering if we are ‘missional’ enough?

    Missional, incarnational, contemplative…yikes. Words, words, words.

  5. 9-21-2012

    Donald,

    “Missional” comes from the same Greek terms as the English term “mission”… i.e., the terms related to God’s children being sent into the world. But, “missional” is the adjective form, much like “loving” is the adjective form of the verb “love.” But, if you don’t like the term, please don’t use it. I’m not concerned with what terms people use. In fact, I once wrote a post about some friends of ours who I would say are “missional,” but they’ve probably never heard the term before. And, I’m perfectly content with asking, “Are you loving your neighbors?”

    -Alan

  6. 9-21-2012

    Alan,

    “But, if you don’t like the term, please don’t use it. I’m not concerned with what terms people use.”

    I don’t use it, (I’m neither a theologian nor academic), and the only times I encounter it are on the lips of progressive christians or on blogs such as yours. If you’re perfectly content with asking if we are loving our neighbors, then why didn’t you just use that terminology, as in “Is it possible for children to be homeschooled and loving their neighbors?”

  7. 9-22-2012

    Donald,

    Why do I not only use the terminology of “loving your neighbors”? The term “missional” – the adjective form of the verb “send” and the noun “mission” – include the idea of going beyond what is comfortable and reaching out to the “other” who may not at first be considered our neighbor.

    Speaking of terminology, why do you mean by “progressive christians” and why do you use that term?

    -Alan

  8. 9-24-2012

    I’d say when Tony Jones started off writing his “Death To Homeschooling” post (very “missional” title by the way…) as a parent not yet educating children in any of the proposed contexts that should have been a warning flag.

    Jumping to a quote from John Dewey should have been the next (see Humanist Manifesto). Frankly he sounds like a secondary education college student.

    Tony seems to argue against “withdrawing” his too-young-for-school children from public education as if this is some sort of default setting (along with his “contract within the society” mumbo jumbo). Government school and forced attendance at the threat of imprisonment simply did not exist in this country until the late 19th century (and John Dewey).

    Was no one missional before then?

  9. 9-24-2012

    Eric,

    That’s a good point. I wonder if most people today understand how young the public education system is?

    -Alan

  10. 9-25-2012

    They don’t, but it’s all they’ve ever known. It’s what momma and grandma did and what all the neighbors do. It’s “normal”. Tony is arguing against the effects of the educational environment when his entire argument is a manufactured product of that environment (Dewey-speak). It’s aim is to ignore history, worship the system and decry any alternatives to it by any means necessary. Can Christians survive in this system? Sure. I did. But the communities are very subjective (and even vary over time) and shouldn’t be generalized. Righteous Lot survived Sodom, but his soul was vexed. Remember Lot’s wife.

    There are many parallels between man’s institutional education system and man’s institutional church. I could see the education side before I could see the other, but it helped me to realize it.