Missiology as Trinitarian Theology

My brother-in-law, Scott, has five daughters.

A month or so ago his second eldest daughter went to China with a teen missions organization. She’ll be there for another month sharing her faith, learning about serving Jesus abroad, making friends she’ll have for the rest of her life, and learning principles of her faith she really could not have learned anywhere else. This is her first trip.

This morning his wife and eldest daughter hopped a plane for Costa Rica to serve the poor and underprivileged in Los Anonos and to work with a team of permanent missionaries our church sent there last year. They took along with them a team of 10 young people from our church. For some of them this will be their first trip, but not for Scott’s wife and daughter. This is their fourth or fifth overseas mission trip.

So, Scott is managing the household and the other three daughters alone for the next week-and-a-half until his wife returns. Half of his family is scattered across the globe. Separated by distance, united in purpose. He remains home fasting and praying for their missional success, their growth in God, and their safe return. This is headship and submission. This is what we call Biblical complementarity.


There was a gigantic explosion in the evangelical blog world this week connected with a post I referred to in a post earlier this week. Some excellent follow up responses meant to clarify the original post are found here, here, here and here.

How are these two subjects related? What’s the point, you ask? Simply, true headship and submission empowers, enables, encourages. It is a loop in which two or more people are meant to operate harmoniously toward shared objectives. In the marital bed, headship as successfully and faithfully expressed in all other areas of the marriage, will empower Biblical love-making. It is from this foundation of headship and submission, God’s good design for marriage, that all other facets of family life benefit and derive their operational and functional purpose as they mirror the sacrificial empowering that is displayed by the “heads” of the family, mom and dad. All facets of the family life benefit from this design, even the facet that has to do with missionary work overseas.

My brother-in-law, Scott, is a phenomenal husband and father, and very much as a result of his headship (which is borne from his simultaneous submission to Jesus), his 5 children and wife are flourishing in what it means to be a gospel-centric family: A family who realizes that they are not simply a family, not merely flesh and blood, but they are instead a sent family; the Great Commission informing their life as a microcosm of the Church, God’s family.

What empowers this kind of family life? Headship and submission: the proper understanding of responsibility and role within the marital relationship. It mirrors the relationship we see in the Holy Trinity as each member (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), though eternally co-equal, displays a sacred understanding of who they are and what they are to do.

Jesus came, in submission to the Father’s will, on a mission to save the lost. He demonstrated his submitted relationship to the Father, empowered by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, as he lived a life not merely of faith, but of faithfulness, on mission, sacrificing, laying his life down, dying for you and more me, for the forgiveness of our sin, that we might inherit eternal life. Thank God that we have such headship and submission demonstrated in the God-head to show us the way. This is how the posts earlier this week connect to Scott’s family, scattered all over God’s green earth, separated by distance, united in purpose, for the joy of all people and the glory of God.

So, if you think of Scott’s family this week, after having read this post, feel free to pray for them, lifting them up before the Father, asking for his grace to drench them all and for continued faithfulness to be the hallmark of their family name.