This week's article is from an interview with Dr. Ed Stetzer on "missional living". I hope you find it as challenging as I did. My hope is that God would shape us as a church of true missionaries to our community!
How would you define "missional living"?
Missional living is essentially living with our primary perspective as that of an ambassador for the Kingdom of God. It means making our lives not about us, but about Jesus and His Kingdom.
In an alliterated sense, missional living is an incarnational (being the presence of Christ in community), indigenous (of the people and culture) and intentional (planning our lives around God's agenda) focus on the power of the Gospel to bring the reign of God into people's lives.
What keeps people from missional living?
Believers do not live missionally for two primary reasons:
a) because they believe someone else is doing it; or worse,
b) they are selfish.
Too many Christians assume or deceive themselves into believing that someone else has explained the Gospel to our neighbors, co-workers and friends. Beyond that, believers choose their traditions over the mission. Entire congregations have decided that "the way we do things" is superior to the mission to go, be and tell the Gospel in understandable ways to the culture surrounding them.
Ten Tips for Missional Living
- Understand the Gospel. The mission of God is consumed with the person and work of Christ. As you understand Christ, you can accurately participate in God's work of redemption. So read the Gospels—a lot.
- Take an eternal view of people. The friends, neighbors and co-workers around you have an eternity in front of them. We need to see them as God does and care for them accordingly.
- Be friendly. A Christian should be the most trustworthy confidant another person has in the world. Believers should be the kind of people everyone else wants to be around.
- Watch for a chance to serve. People use up all of their energy on family, work and menial chores. Look for ways you can care for your neighbors—even if it is just cooking a simple dinner for them.
- Be truthful. Missional believers contend for the faith while speaking in a way understandable to the hearer. No matter what, be ready to talk about the truths in Scripture.
- Love like Jesus. He lived a robust life of caring for the lost. In elevating sacrificial love far beyond any previous thinking, He gave an example for us.
- Be on guard. As you work alongside the King to extend His Kingdom, our spiritual enemy will immediately attack. Guard your heart in holiness.
- Live missionally at home. Family is the first place for the mission of God in your life. When people see the impact it has on your home, they will be more willing to trust its veracity for their own lives.
- Show patience. People are farther away from understanding the Gospel than in previous generations. Do not hesitate to invite them to submit to Christ, but know that they have plenty of questions that might need answering first.
- Do it for one reason—the glory of God. The only reason to be missional is to make Christ more widely known. God is worthy of being honored by all of creation, and it should be the main reason why we participate in His mission.