When it comes to missions, we need to be concerned with the 1040 window, but also 1040 W. Window Avenue. Both are important to God!
COVID restrictions are lifting and warmer months are here. Like any season, it creates unique opportunities to engage in our everyday missional walk with God.
It is important to always keep in mind that missions is not a project that we do, but a way of life we live.
I like how NT Wright says it.
Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s prayer is about. NT Wright
Jesus has sent us into the world to be a testimony of His gospel in the middle of everyday life. This includes both the nations and our neighborhoods. Across the street is just as important as across the ocean.
- John 20:21…as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.
- John 17:18-21As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world…walking as One, like We are One, that the world may believe You sent me.
- Mark 3:14-35 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach…(35) “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Throughout the Bible, God gives us instruction for this every day missional life with the family of God
- “As you go, make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-19).
- “Walk wisely towards outsiders making the most of every opportunity you have” (Colossians 4:5).
- “Let your speech always be seasoned with salt so you know how to respond to people” (Colossians 4:6).
- “Be prepared to give a defense for your hope and do so with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
How to become stirred to live with Missional Intentionality
The account of the woman at the well is an outstanding example and instruction for everyday missions (John 4). Amid His normal routine, Jesus stopped at a well because He was tired and hungry. He sat down to drink at the well and sent the disciples to town to get food. He encountered a woman and during the dialogue, God opened her heart. Many times unexpected interruptions lead to Divine interventions both for Jesus and for us. The woman was so touched that she went into town and brought a bunch of people to Jesus.
When the disciples returned with the food, Jesus told them, “I get nourishment from joining with God on His mission so lift your eyes and look on the fields” (John 4:34-35). Lifting up our eyes and looking at the surrounding people during everyday life is the way we are to live with missional intentionality.
Answer these 4 questions to gain God’s perspective of your neighborhood.
- Do I believe that my neighborhood is a place where God is at work to redeem?
- Does God love the people in my neighborhood as much as people in other nations, and how should that affect my approach towards them?
- Are prayers for my neighbors just as important as prayers for the nations?
- Are the lost in my neighborhood as important as the lost in faraway places?
Warm weather missional ideas
Warmer months are a unique time for living everyday life with missional intentionality. It is warmer, and more people are engaged in outdoor activities. Because of this, it is easier to see, and be seen by people. It sometimes helps to have some practical ideas to prime our creative/Spiritual pumps. Often the profound is in the simple! Normal everyday things that people are already doing can be engaged with intentionality.
It is easy after a long day of work to go indoors and sit in front of a computer, phone, or television screen surfing the internet or watching programs. Let’s be intentional to get up and get out among people.
#1 Go for a walk or better yet go for a walk with family (church family). Jesus sent His disciples out two by two (Matthew 9-11, Luke 9-10). Walking is one of the best ways to be seen and engage people in your neighborhood, parks, campus, and other public places. It is good to be seen and known in your neighborhood. Have an intentional mindset to meet people, say hello, and strike up conversations. Give them a blessing, as Jesus instructed. It is simply loving and taking an interest in people. Ask questions, serve, show the love of God, pray for people, and bring up the good news of Jesus and His kingdom. Get out of your house and get into the stream of people.
#2 Prayer walking is a good thing to do as well. As you walk and pray, you will often get insight by the Spirit as you are onsite in the neighborhood. This helps in God-directed prayer for people, places, businesses, and yourself to have God’s heart for people.
#3 Take an evening a week or month to serve neighbors. Mow the neighbor’s yard, weed eat, weed their garden, or pick up trash in your neighborhood. People often move in warmer weather. Offer to lend a hand to someone moving in or out. Try to do things like this with others from your church following the pattern of Jesus as He sent out the 12 and 70 in pairs on mission (Matthew 9-11 and Luke 9-10). This is both for mutual support, and it sometimes makes it easier to interact with others.
#4 Eat with someone. There are three ways the New Testament completes the sentence, “The Son of Man came…”
- “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
- “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
- “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34).
The first two are statements of purpose. The third is a statement that is descriptive. How did Jesus come? He came eating and drinking. Warm weather often makes it easier to bring people to a meal with picnics and cookouts.
One of the missional strategies of Jesus seen primarily in the book of Luke often included a long meal stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship around a table or a fire. The whole book of Luke records events surrounding Jesus while He is either going to, eating, or coming from a meal. In the Bible, meals were a powerful place of hospitality. You can express the welcome of God as you eat with gospel intentionality.
#5 Adopt a local park, coffee shop, or ice cream shop to visit regularly. You will become known when you are a regular.
#6 Have meetings, study, or read in public spaces like coffee shops and parks. It will naturally help you engage in the surrounding culture. You may do so with fellow church members, and they can overhear your discussions. It will surprise you at who and what Holy Spirit will bring across your path.
#7 Look for things you already enjoy doing, find a group that shares that passion, and get involved. These could include softball leagues, fishing, workout groups, golf, or swimming groups. You can be missional and have fun at the same time.
Let’s get out there and take advantage of the warmer season with missional intentionality to see the power of God and the Gospel made know in our neighborhoods.