5 Tips For Missional Living
‘Missional’ is a huge buzz word in certain Christian circles at the moment. Mark Driscoll quipped at one conference that, “if you googled the word missional to find out what it actually meant, you’d probably blow up your computer.” He wasn’t far off being right.
However, if we are to look at 5 tips for living missionally, it might be worth while to look at another word which should go hand in hand, side by side with the m-word. Intentional.
Being ‘missional’ is all about living life like a missionary where ever you are. Missional living is about living like a missionary without having to raise support and changing continent. Missional people realise that there’s a mission field, ripe for harvest, right on their door step. The problem comes when claims of being missional are a in fact a cover for compromise and laziness on the Christians part. This is why, in conjunction with being missional, we need to strive to be intentional.
Intentionality means that everything we do is done with a purpose. It means we don’t simply live our lives in the hope that an opportunity to share the Gospel arises, but view our entire lives as an opportunity to share Christ with those who don’t know Him.
Surely the concept of missional living is a welcome wake up for the Church in the post-christian West. But, just as surely, it needs to be done in conjunction with a certain deliberateness. Be missional, be intentional.
As we look at 5 tips for living missionaly we’ll see that on their own they cannot be considered evangelism or Christian witness, but used intentionally they could present us with new opportunities to speak the truth of Christ to others. That is, using these missional tools for the express aim of building relationships in which the Cross of Christ can be proclaimed.
No. 1 – Eat
Believe it or not we can be both missional and intentional in the way we eat. There aren’t many things which break barriers down, start friendships and generally get us feeling like we belong together like eating food. The truth is we all eat. Most of us 3 times a day, some of us a few times more. Why not eat for Jesus.
Think about it. In terms of “winning someone for Christ” the likelihood is we’d prefer to take them through ‘2 Ways to Live’ than to share a bite in order to get to know someone and figure out exactly how best to apply the Gospel to their lives.
What’s more, if we eat with others in a missional and intentional manner we might just get the opportunity to share a garlic bread and 2 Ways to Live.
People will say yes to food. It’s not an end in itself, but it might just be a good place to start in getting them to say yes to Jesus.
No. 2 – Walk
All too often we spend our lives like battery farm chickens, cooped up in our homes, offices and cars. Traveling and the time we spend doing it could be a really good opportunity to met people in your locality and begin to build relationships with them.
Think about it. Do you recognize those people who you drive past day in and day out? Often I feel like I know those people who I regularly see on the pavement from the comfort of my car. The problem is we could never smile, talk to or share the Gospel with them because we’re too cooped up!
Luckily I can walk to my local shops. It takes 5 minutes and I pass a lot of my neighbours on the way. I can walk to Church. It takes 30minutes (almost exactly) and I pass a lot of neighbours on the way. Surely these relatively short journeys should be intentionally used to craft relationships and opportunities to share the Gospel.
Get out of the coop. Get on the pavement. Get your face known so that you can get Jesus known!
No. 3 – Be Regular
The great thing about caring about ‘doing local’ is that you get to be a regular. My ‘regular’ consists of getting my bread from the same bakers every Saturday morning, my coffee from the same coffee shop every Friday and my shopping from the same Tesco’s every week (my local Tesco is small enough that I can get to know the staff who serve me).
Think about it. Being regular is a great way of building relationships. Relationships are a great place to start telling people the Gospel. I think someone famous once said, “When preaching the Gospel always use words” (sic).
Words are vital. Words are more effective when someone is listening.
No. 4 – Go Clubbing
As Christians we tend to spend all of our time in one of three places. The home, the office (or other place of work) and church meetings. If we are to take the Gospel to people (i.e. live missionally and intentionally) we need to get out more.
A great way of meeting people, who you’ll most likely have a natural affinity with, is to join a group or club or team.
Think about it. You’re likely to go regularly because it’s something you enjoy doing. You’re likely to make friends because you’ll enjoy the same thing as those doing it with you. You’ll meet people you can pray for and share Jesus with. It’s that simple.
Bottom line (you should be noticing a trend here) is that you can’t tell them unless you know them. So go know them. Intentionally.
Think about it. How much time do we spend trying to create community events versus time spent participating in the events the community has already produced? A lot of what we do as ‘Christians’ is trying to recreate (poorly) what is already out there. “Ah,” the good churchman claims, “but we do it..with Jesus!” Indeed, but instead of trying to bring these community events to Jesus, why not let’s take Jesus to these community events?
Busyness is not a real excuse. I know, it’s hard watching the latest ‘must see’ American drama with our lives in order to be ‘missional’. But if we don’t get out of the house and into the community we’ll never get the chance to make those awesome Gospel links we’ve been thinking up off the back of Lost.
This list is by no means complete. This list is not even applicable to everyone. But the principles are for the entire Church. Getting out of our comfort zones will necessarily require some discomfort. But if our desire really is to see our friends, family and neighbours worshiping side by side with us in glory then we’ll put up with it in order to gush about our wonderful Lord and Saviour. Maybe these 5 tips are exactly what you needed to read and you’ll implement them straight away. Maybe they’ll prompt some thought about what it means for you to live missionally. Either way, live intentionally for God’s kingdom.