14th Apr, 2008

Missional Synchroblog – What Does Missional Living Look Like To Me?

“Missional” is a term that can be defined simply as “related to or connected to God’s mission or purpose.” Given that “[m]any are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails,” Proverbs 19:21, I want my heart’s plans and desires to line up with God’s purpose and heart. It truly is all about God, even from the Beginning. Thus, when I think of missional living I see it as my frail attempt at grasping for the mind and purpose of God, through the grace He bestows on me because of my faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and communicating what I have learned by walking by faith in the promises of His Word.

It is more action than concept.

It is an lifestyle, unfortunately, that many struggle to identify with because we tend to live by “faith in our culture” more than we do by faith in the Word of God.

Sailing

In the gospels we see several commands that have been coined as the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 is generally the most quoted:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The “Great Commission” is such a perfect name for these verses as it demonstrates that this is something we join with God in doing. We are commissioned to God’s purpose for the nations. It is something we do with Him. How exciting is that???! He doesn’t need us at all, but He loves us and desires that we join together with Him. He even gives us all the authority we need to accomplish it. Just as Jesus was one with the Father, we are called to be one with Them and go and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the Kingdom, teaching them about Jesus and His commands, going with His authority and call!

So, having defined “missional” (“connected to God’s purpose”), I must now try to explain what missional living looks like to me. Conceptually, I think it is living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. I think it is living each moment in constant expectation that God will speak to you to guide you as a representative (an ambassador) of Christ during your time on earth, praying for God’s Kingdom to come and for His will to be done wherever you live and serve, just as it is in Heaven. You are Jesus’ sheep and you can hear His voice (John 10) – listen to Him and ask Him daily “What is your purpose for me? How can I serve You today?” And, as He speaks, answer with your prayers and with your life, “Here am I, Lord, a living sacrifice, worshiping you with all I have, use me.”

Practically, I see it as hearing God’s voice when you pray and obeying. If God tells you to be a mobile phone salesperson and to make disciples of those with whom you work, then do it, asking Him to show you how you can accomplish that all the while (but at the same time don’t be surprised if He tells you to go somewhere else). If God tells you to go to Nepal and preach the gospel, then do it, asking Him to show you how you can accomplish that all the while. If God asks you to sell everything and give it all to the poor, then do it with joy and ask Him to show you more!

It is a constant submission to Him, seeking direction from Him in prayer 24/7. We are to pray without ceasing – doing so is missional living. Missional living is worship and worship is giving your body, your heart, your soul, yes, even your wallet to God for whatever purpose He sees fit.

When I was a young boy missionaries were funny looking guys in bad polyester suits who never talked to me. They showed slide shows of grainy pictures on an overhead projector and I thought that missions meant living in a hut and spending years trying to learn some clicking sounds that people in the jungle called language. These odd-looking missionary chaps claimed to have a wife but you never saw them. It didn’t seem like anything I could ever do.

Jesus, however, told us, His disciples, all of us, to go and make disciples in all the earth. It is what His followers do. Given my picture of what a missionary (or missional living) was, I struggled greatly with this. And given what I saw everyone else in the church doing – talking about the bible but not living it – I just began to doubt that those “go and make disciples” words were for today.

I didn’t realize until just a couple of years ago that every Christian can invest of his or her gifts and talents into the Great Commission. It doesn’t just mean on one hand writing a check or on the other hand going and living in a hut. It also doesn’t just mean people who preach or who can use a hammer can serve internationally. Instead, God can use all giftings to support missions all over the world, and He made all of us fearfully and wonderfully to do just that in an infinite number of creative ways.

My family is now in full-time, support-based missions as a result of seeking God’s will for our lives and endeavoring to missional living. It may not be God’s call for you, but it clearly was for us, and although we have left our careers and families and gone to another side of the world, we are living more abundantly than ever before because we are walking in God’s ways and plan. John 10:10.

God gives all of us incredible gifts so that we can give them away. It seems if we want to keep something in God’s Kingdom we have to give it away. As we learn to do that, giving up everything, we find ourselves living missionally without even knowing it.

Other bloggers are writing today about this same topic – check out what they have to say:

Ben Wheatley – Are Things You Are Living For Worth It

Blake Huggins – What does Missional Living Look Like

Alan Knox – Living in the Love of God

Dave DeVries – The Missional Challenge

Jonathan Brink – Meeting God Where He’s Already Working

Tim Jones – Living Like the Word Says

David Wierzbicki – We Are Missioning

Nathan Gann – Inevitability?

[photo from Jonathan Brink]

Responses

“It is more action than concept.”

i love that. wonderful post.

blake’s last blog post..Missional Synchroblog: What Does Missional Living Look Like?

I love your definition: “I think it [missional living] is living each moment in constant expectation that God will speak to you to guide you as a representative (an ambassador) of Christ during your time on earth, praying for God’s Kingdom to come and for His will to be done wherever you live and serve, just as it is in Heaven.”

I agree that expectation plays a huge part in living a missional life – and also living a life of faith.

-Alan

Alan Knox’s last blog post..Living the Love of God

This was a good synchroblog. I enjoyed reading everyone’s submission and writing my own.

Nice job!

I especially loved the realization that “every Christian can invest his or her gifts and talents in the Great Commission.”

I read some of the other synchr-bloga on the topic as well.

Good stuff from all!

I was a bit suprised (but not really) that hardly anyone mentioned the God aspect of all this. In so much as He is the one that is doing the work. After Jesus says, “Go…” the next thing He says is …baptising…”

I find the order of the indicatives interesting. Baptising comes first. To me, this tells us right from the start who will be in charge of this operation.

God, tells us that this is how we bring disciples into the faith and that after that we should teach them.

I think this puts the onus on Christ and what He does istead of us and what we do. We are tools and God will build His Church of believers to His exacting specifications using the sharpest, as well as the dullest of what He finds in the box.

Thanks very much Bryan!

– Steve

Steve Martin’s last blog post..?Which Jesus??

Thank you, Steve. I definitely think our shared enemy, Satan, desires that we get caught up in what we can do for God rather than focusing on God and His work. That is a serious danger.

I think of it like this – God tells us to ride a horse and follow Him and His ways. God, of course, is filled with dualisms that to our finite minds seem inconsistent (dualisms like living water and consuming fire, merciful and judge, grace and truth….). We, in our frailty, often grab hold of one part of these dualisms and major in that… which causes us to start leaning on our horse and we eventually fall off… Sometimes we get back on and compensate by leaning too far the other way and fall off again….

The only cure is fixing our eyes on Him.

haha ? the one who is posting the comments 😀

than done. Because we are there for the long haul, we are confident that God will cnnoect us with local persons of peace who will be the bridge to their existing communities (Oikos). As you know, urban work is more about networks of relationships than geography/location. So, we don’t expect to engage minority unreached groups bunched together in the same location. We will engage them through their networks of relationships, then the Holy Spirit will work out the logistics from there.. where/when/how. 3. Some unreached groups occupy only a small amount of a megacity population b/c they are an unliked or repressed minority group. It’s proven challenging to pursuade near-native believer to engage these minorities. We are confident God already has chosen the persons of peace who will be the catalysts for a movement among their own people. We will follow His lead as we take each step leading us to those key super spreaders or cpm men of peace. One of the things that we are putting into place to help us discover those people a school of mission that will train/mobilize those cpm mops to initiate something new. This school will not be an institution, but more of a on-the-job mentoring process. We will filter through a lot of people to discover the effective disciple makers of disciple makers. 4. It’s been a beast for our groups to learn language/culture of the minority group while living in a megacity composed mainly of a majority population. We don’t require our people to learn the language of minority groups. Again, we are confident that we will discover near culture and inside culture disciples who will speak the common trade language and then turn around to reach their own people in heart languages through catalytic disciple making to multiply disciples, leaders and churches. These types of indigenous leaders are much more effective than a foreign westerner in making disciples and helping to spark a movement.

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