March 25, 2013

living missionally

in our life stage group on sunday morning, we discussed whether or not the way we do church today is what God intended church to be. we broke off into small groups and discussed how God emphasizes community, the study and learning of His word, and making disciples/living missionally. 

on sunday morning, T and i were feeling like crap. straight. up. crap. he came over for breakfast and i was feeling nauseous and drained while he was battling a headache and major body aches. it was so bad that he denied coffee and i only had 2 sips of my mug. it was one of those mornings where i thought, "it would be so easy to fall right back asleep and skip church this morning." but we've made church a non-negotiable in our relationship. the only reasons we don't attend are because we're out of town or deathly ill, but otherwise, we're there. it doesn't matter how tired we feel, how much homework we have, or how many things we need to get done - sunday morning is God time, with our community. so we prayed for strength and healing, and let me tell you, i am so glad we made it to church that morning. 

in our 'sunday school' time, we received a hand out on "8 Simple Ways to Be Missional," and i loved the ideas so much, i thought i'd share them here. 

the overall idea is that living missionally doesn't mean doing more, it simply means doing what you already do differently. it's a shift in perspective. it's the way we simply do life. here are a few ideas:

one | eat with non-Christians
we all eat three meals a day, so why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a non-Christian or a family of unbelievers? share lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. focus on the conversation. cookout and invite your neighbors. escape the christian bubble. 

two | walk, don't drive
make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or campus if you're able to. say hello to people you don' know. strike up conversation. you may run into friends or have encounters with strangers that you would have missed had you been locked up in your car. 

three | be a regular
this one made Travis and i laugh, because we're a little embarrassed to admit that we're total regulars at our local starbucks. so much so that the other morning, when T picked up breakfast for me and surprised me at my front door, the barista said, "tall skinny vanilla latte for deb? tell her i say hi!" then yesterday, when i was studying in the coffee shop, the same barista said, "hey, where's Travis today?" it obviously means we spend a lot of time there, but that's because it's something we just love to do, and it almost means we have built a connection with the employees there. building that relationship, even though it's just a stop for a latte or iced coffee, can still have eternal impact. every encounter can. 

four | hobby with non-Christians
do you have a hobby? maybe it's knitting, or skateboarding, cycling, or singing. get involved with local groups with people you might not know. you already have common ground, so use that to build relationships. if you have a skill, like photography, consider offering classes or workshops where you can help others and build relationships with them. that's probably one of my favorite things about photography - that it's a passion that also creates new friendships. i've been thinking for a while about offering a photography course, like how to use that big fancy camera you have to its advantage. 

five | talk to your co-workers
this is a big one for me. it's so common for me to use my breaks or my lunch hour to just escape from my co-workers. but i constantly remind myself that God has placed me where He has for a reason, and even my job is a mission field. how can i pray for my co-workers or reach out to them? 

six | volunteer with non-profits
serve your community. just by setting aside one day in the month, you can make a huge impact. 

seven | participate in city events
instead of isolating yourself, get out there and be involved with your community. go to a concert in the park, a summer show, fundraisers, or a beach clean-up. pray for your city. love your city. 

eight | serve your neighbors
i think it's really common in our southern california culture to disconnect ourself from those around us. we're such a private culture, understandably so. after sitting in traffic for 2 hours or hustling and bustling through the crowds, nothing sounds better than shutting all the noise out and being alone. but then i reflect on Jesus' life. He never isolated Himself from those around Him. yes, He prioritized personal time with His Father, but he never ignored his neighbors because He was too tired or too busy. Travis and i have talked a lot about how excited we are to open up our future home to our friends and neighbors, to invite them over for dinner or a cup of coffee. we want our home to be inviting and hospitable, and we want it to be an extension of God's love.

tips taken from Jonathon K. Dodson's article through Gospel Community Mission 

this was such a good reminder that living missionally isn't about doing more, it's about doing things with an eternal focus. i am challenging myself to apply at least one of these ideas to my daily routine and to filter my activities through the lens of missional living...who knows what awesome things God can do! 

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