In October 2015, Tish and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary! This is no small thing in a culture that builds its identity upon narcissistic care for one’s self over sacrificial love of another. But that is exactly what marriage is. It is a covenant of sacrificial love and service to another at ones own expense.
To celebrate this milestone, we embarked on a fabulous trip to Colorado. For 5 days and 4 nights the two of us ate great food, saw great sites, and slept great numbers of hours! I believed we averaged 10 hours of sleep a night!
For the first 3 days we did nothing but rest. We drove through Rocky Mountain National Park and stopped to look at breathtaking views, magnificent Elk, and crazy little chipmunks that would climb into your hand. We spent a day in Vail, where we ate some of the best food we’ve ever had, strolled through the European-style streets and shops, and watched a movie. We drove through the breathtaking Glenwood Canyon, sat on rocks by the roaring Colorado River, and spent the day in Glenwood Springs, where we walked through the cemetery that Doc Holiday is buried in. We ended the afternoon with a massage, mineral bath, and steam room at Spa of the Rockies.
Are you jealous yet? It was an incredible time. Why am I telling you all of this? Because it led to something greater.
On our fourth day, after a few days of rest and detox, we sat at a picnic table under an Aspen tree, next to the Colorado River, and we created our family mission statement. There are things we want to do as a family. We want to spend our days and our nights on purpose. We want to be a family that grows to love Jesus together, that spends our time serving each other and serving others. If marriage is a covenant of sacrificial loving and serving, then so is family.
Beyond that, we want to teach our children, and all those watching our family, that our relationship with our church is one of sacrificial love and service. So we crafted the following statement:
We seek to keep the gospel the center of our family by growing in godliness as we sacrificially love and serve in truth and action, while resting in the finished work of Jesus.
The goal of this family mission statement is to set the foundation for all that we spend ourselves on. We will be a family of the gospel. We will be a family that works hard at all we do. We will work hard to grow in godliness. We will sacrificially love each other and others in truth and in action. We will sacrificially serve each other and others in truth and action. We will do all of this, not to earn God’s approval, but from a place of rest in his already granted approval, which came through the finished work of his son on the cross.
From this mission statement, we created goals. Some are very simple. Some appear simple on paper, but are proving to be much more difficult to do in real life. Never the less, our goals help us to flesh out this mission statement and the statement helps us to have proper goals.
These goals are not laws and we do beat ourselves up when we fail to meet them, but they are goals and they do help us assess our health as a family of Christ followers.
I encourage your family to consider creating a family mission statement, evaluating your life, and orienting what you say yes and no to around an intentional mission.
I’m praying for you as you do this.
Joshua Hedger is the Pastor of Preaching & Vision at Emmaus Church. He is married to Tish and they have an adopted teen daughter and a biological toddler son. Joshua has served in several other ministry roles including Director of Church Planting at Midwestern Seminary, planting another church, a youth pastor, and as a missionary in West Africa.