Christian Families and Mission Drift

Christian Families and Mission Drift - Parenting Like Hannah
Mission Drift by Peter Greer and Christ Horst

Nothing makes me sadder than to listen to Christian parents who are obviously experiencing mission drift in their homes. They are totally unaware this drift will most likely take their children away from the core spiritual beliefs the parents think they are instilling. In fact, the drift can become so severe the children grow up to reject God entirely.

Recently, I was privileged to read the new book Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst. Although I think it is absolutely imperative for all leaders of churches and ministries to read this book, it may be even more important for Christian parents to read it as well.

You see, mission drift is when an organization (your family) forgets its purpose in favor of practicality. You make tiny, little, seemingly meaningless decisions on a day to day basis. What we often don’t realize (until it is too late) is that the sum of these decisions has caused us to drift away from our core mission: raising children who will be dedicated Christian servants of God and who will go to Heaven when they die.

The authors do a wonderful (and interesting) job of examining organizations which were able to stay true to Christ and those who had drifted so far from their original intent they are now totally secular. They soon realized we are all subject to drift. The key is in being able to recognize it and keep it from moving you away from your core values and purpose.

They have a survey in an early chapter to help you determine if your organization is already drifting away from Christ. Obviously, I can’t share the entire quiz, but see if a few of these questions don’t spark some internal conversation about the mission drift in your family as well.

  • “The verbal sharing of Christ is actively and intentionally being discussed/encouraged on a consistent basis.” (p47)
  • “Prayer is fully integrated in decision making, in meeting structure and as a weekly or daily discipline for staff.” (p48)
  • “Compared to a year ago, staff and board members are showing increasing fruit in their lives (e.g. love, patience, kindness, etc., Galatians 5:22-23)…” (p48)
  • There is a clearly articulated plan to create a culture that reinforces your identity, and you have daily or weekly rituals that reinforce your organization’s value and mission.” (p48)
  • “You have said no to a “good opportunity” in the last two years because it did not fit with your identity and full mission” (p48)

The full quiz has twenty questions, but I think these five may already give you an indication if your family is experiencing a drift away from your core mission as Christian parents.

The authors don’t stop with just analyzing the problem. They continue to break down both organizations and churches which have stayed true to their Christian call and those who have drifted. The resulting analysis provides practical, constructive things one can do to help ensure your organization (family in our case) drifts towards God and not away from Him.

A lot of the books I review are for subsets of the people who read this blog. This is one I really believe is necessary for every Christian to read and consider very, very carefully. The authors state time and time again that your organization, church (and family) will absolutely drift away from God unless you proactively do something to stop it.

The pull of culture is too strong to passively resist. In fact, the authors go so far as to insist that the current lack of growth in Christianity in the U.S. has absolutely nothing to do with programs or worship styles, rather with the fact that the church has drifted away from the original call Jesus gave us. Our churches aren’t growing because people can no longer tell the difference between the way we live our lives and the way they do. The few churches which are growing are the ones which appear radically different from the culture around them.

Why do you think the authors of the New Testament spent so much time writing about how to show love, how to behave like a Christian, how to share our faith? It wasn’t to give us a list of do’s and dont’s to get us to Heaven. It was a way to help us prevent mission drift and to make Christianity appealing to all mankind because it showed a radically different way of living our lives.

If you are a Christian, you must read this book. Examine what the authors say, not just in terms of your church or your faith based charity, but also in terms of your family and your own personal spiritual growth. I would love to hear what changes it inspired you to make personally and in your family after you read it.

This book was given to me for free in return for my honest review. I absolutely believe this is a must read for every Christian.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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