Many followers of Jesus struggle to live missionally. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t mature enough in our faith. Sometimes we don’t know where to begin. Maybe we we don’t think we have time to add another thing to our schedules. These are reasonable issues, but what if there were easy ways to live missionally?
Living Missionally doesn’t have to be hard work, but it will take effort. My sister-in-law once told my wife there will always be a reason to delay having children but at some point you just need to decide to try. She’s right. We could have waited until we had more money or owned a house but we bit the bullet, and had children. And we haven’t looked back. Living missionally is similar. You can always find a reason not to join God’s mission, but sometimes you just need to decide to go for it.
2 Small Shifts to Help you Live Missionally
1. Changing Perspective
Busyness is one of the standards people often use for judging success. It seems the busier you are, the more successful and vice-versa. This isn’t really an accurate way to judge success or importance, but it’s one we use. Given this, most people find themselves busy. Sometimes it is not possible, or too stressful, to fit mission unto our already busy lives. What if you could live missionally without adding anything to your schedule?
We need to change our perspective. Many see mission as something we do. However living missionally is all about the posture we take. It is deciding that whatever you do, and wherever you are, has a missional dimension to it. Rather than something we add onto life, it is asking in the midst of life “How is God leading me to cross boundaries, make Jesus known and be a bearer of grace?”
JR Woodward writes that our mission is joining God in ‘bringing a greater sense of beauty, justice, reconciliation, mercy and healing’ to those near us and inviting them to be reconciled to God. This isn’t a to do list. To live missionally is to bring Jesus’ presence into your work life, home life, social life, etc.
What would it look like for you to live missionally in your everyday life?
2. Joining the Story
I grew up in church. I learned all the Bible stories at Sunday school. What I lacked was the framework to see how they related. Let me explain. I knew David, Samson, the Exodus, Jesus but they were all individual stories rather than part of the story of God.
Often the gospel is presented in this way. We have a problem – sin. God sent Jesus to take our punishment. Jesus did this on the cross and his resurrection shows our sin is dealt with forever. This message is true but it lacks context. It treats Jesus in isolation rather than the centrepiece of God’s continuing mission. Is it any wonder many struggle to live missionally when their relationship with Jesus is stripped from it’s missional context?
From Genesis to Revelation, God is on a mission to redeem the world through Jesus. It is in this missional context that God sends Jesus to the world. The Father sends Jesus. Jesus sends his followers empowered by the Holy Spirit. Thus embracing the gospel of Jesus is stepping into a missional story. David Bosch speaks of missional living in the New Testament as ‘the result of an encounter with Christ.’ In other words, mission starts with God. It is his initiative but he invites us to join him. Here’s how Jeff Vanderstelt puts it:
‘God dwells with his people, and they are missionaries whom he sends into the everyday stuff of life. Jesus intends to saturate the world with his presence through his Spirit in his people – his sent ones.’
Do you see your relationship with Jesus in isolation or as part of joining God’s on-going mission?