Georgie is one of the girls at my church. Both her, and her husband, work. They have young kids. And yet she feels bad about not having enough time to do missional things. Can you relate?
What if missional living didn’t mean doing anything extra? What if Georgie saw her workplace as a place where the Holy Spirit was already moving in people’s lives and asking her to join in? Isn’t this what mission is really all about?
Pretend your everyday ordinary life has a posture. It’s sounds silly, but pretend it is walking. The walking around life is how everyone naturally views the world; it’s what we’re used to. Your worklife is part of the walking life. So too, cooking, family, shopping, even having a shower.
Now, when you understand the Holy Spirit is working in people’s lives in the everyday, ordinary places, it’s like we stop walking and start crawling. Our perspective changes. We still go to work but we’re on our hands and knees. We still cook and shop but the angle changes; we see things slightly differently.
Adopting a missional posture is making this change. It is understanding that mission isn’t an additional thing that we tack onto our life but is an invitation to join with the Spirit’s work in the midst of our everyday life.
How to Develop a Missional Posture?
I was asked this near the end of a missional workshop a couple of weeks. The group came up with a couple of thoughts but kept coming back to asking God to make aware of what he’s up to every day. It’s a great answer really, because at the end of the day, we need God to open our eyes to see him. But, if you’re like me, it’s easy to forget to do it every day. The Soma Churches have articulated some rhythms that help us to be mindful of seeing where God is at work.
Rhythms of the Soma Community of Churches¹
The rhythms of the Soma community of churches aren’t specifically missional, but more a way of being a disciple in the midst of everyday life. Nonetheless, the rhythms themselves call Jesus followers into mission as they do life with him.
Hunger is an in-built rhythm calling you to recalibrate your life around God. It is a three-times daily reminder that God is provider and opportunity to worship. Inevitably we eat with those who don’t follow Jesus at some point during the week. How does our practice of eating invite them see God as provider?
The posture of a servant is listening. Listen to the Father tell as you that he loves you. Listen to the Holy Spirit telling you what’s going on around you. As you meet people, listen to those you are serving. Learn the questions they are actually asking, not what you assume they are.
Stop talking, and start listening.
The dominant story in a person’s life is the lens through which they view the world. People’s stories tell what is important to them, the things they treasure, their joys and the wounds they bear. As we are shaped by the Gospel story and start listening to people’s stories we have the opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to help us hear the areas he wants us to speak into.
God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. This was fulfilled in Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we continue to carry that blessing to others as the Holy Spirit lives in us. Blessing others is not just gift giving. It is also opening their eyes to see their part in God’s story.
Listening to the Story + The Desire to Bless = A Unique Act to Serve.
Ask anyone in the community if followers of Jesus are known as those who have the biggest celebrations? I imagine the answer is no. It’s strange because a celebration, Passover, was the primary event God’s people remembered what God did. Jesus did his first miracle at a party. And Jesus points to a party, a wedding feast, as a picture of his return.
Celebration breaks down divisions. It brings people who have nothing in common together. In a spiritual sense, celebration invites the secular into the spiritual. This means parties can be holy occasions where we invite inside the aspects of life normally left at the door of the church.
Missionally, here’s the question, What would it look like if we began to see celebrating as a way of pointing people to seeing who Jesus is? What sorts of things would we celebrate? How would we celebrate them?
When followers of Jesus celebrate together it should be a foretaste of a better party to come.
You know what it’s like to feel tired. We strive so much because we are searching for approval. We work hard so our boss approves. But what if knew that God already approved of us? What if we went to work resting in the knowledge that God is our true boss, and instead of striving, we could simply do our best knowing he already approves?
God is creative. It is who he is. And it’s how he’s made us. God has made you unique. Followers of Jesus should be the most creative people out there, not in the musical, or artistic sense, but because God has wired you up with specific gifts and talents, and he wants you to use them. But too often we try to fit into the mold. What difference would it make if we embraced our creative uniqueness because we knew God approved of who we were?
When did life get so busy? The rest part of the ReCreate rhythm helps us stop striving for approval. The playful part reminds us to make time for others. Sometimes we need to just stop and have fun – to be with people. My wife reminded me of this last night as I complained about how long it took to get the kids into bed. They won’t always want it. Treasure it.
A ReCreate rhythm frees us to play with people and as we share life together show them to everything Jesus has for them.
Back to Georgie
Now, Georgie is actually pretty good at connecting with people. She just doesn’t realise it. She’ll notice when others ‘just aren’t themselves.’ She has workmates ask her to pray for things from time to time. Georgie just never saw this as mission and then would feel guilty.
But things have changed. Georgie is on mission right where she is. She doesn’t have the guilt of feeling like she needs to do more stuff, she is free to join with what God is doing in those around her.
What about you? Are you going to continue to see mission as an additional task you need to do? Or what rhythms will you adopt to help you how God is at work in the lives of people around you and join with him?