The Basic Idea of Being Missional
Missional is a word that is thrown around a lot today in various parts of the Church. It is popular to be called missional and it is also an invitation to get verbally smacked around by some well-meaning believers. What it all means is subject to some debate, of which I have no interest getting into.
But, how do I understand it to mean? It is simply the call by Christ to be on mission for His Name. The message is the gospel and the means is by willfully developing relationships with unbelievers with the purpose of showing them an authentic Christian who weaves the message of the gospel into his speech. The goal is to make genuine friends with the hope that God might bring them to Himself. But even if they never come to Christ they remain friends. In other words, this not like the old Amway gatherings where a neighbor invites you to a part only to turn it into a sales pitch.
Some will simply say that this is being “evangelistic.” If you are one of these, then fine. But I have found that many people will speak much of evangelism and yet never really get around to doing it. They are all for evangelism and are ready to do it when the opportunity arises, but it never seems to do so. And when I have examined the reasons why, a common point comes into focus for me–they don’t know any unbelievers. Maybe an aunt or mother, vaguely the neighbor or co-worker; but when it comes right down to it, they simply have little or no interaction with unbelievers. Even more sad is that they have little desire to be with them and have worked overtime in trying to keep their families shielded from their influence.
This is where this term, missional, comes into play. It is that simple application of Mark 16 and Acts 1 where our Lord made it clear that the gospel was to go out into all the world and be preached. This was never seen as a work of the “few” but of the “many.” It is all of our responsibility. And it is, in many instances, only going to be done as we seek to be friends with unbelievers. I remember how Jim Odens put it when he was at our church a few years back. He told us that we are to be purposeful in making friends with unbelievers with the goal that we might proclaim all the excellencies of God to them through word and deed.
All of this is simply an introduction to an excellent post by a seminary student down at Southern Seminary in Kentucky name Timmy Brister. Here is a bit of a taste of his article:
“Everyday I go into work, I want to feel the thrust that I am being sent into this world for the sake of the gospel and the glory of His name. I want to know who God is sending me to, and I want to be ready to listen before I speak, love before I lead, and pray before I preach. I want their world and their lives to be radically impacted by the power of the gospel, and that this power often comes in the form of a seed – a seed that must be watered, cultivated, and spread always and everywhere as a farmer expecting to have a great crop.”
I recommend the post to you and trust that it might encourage each who read this to renew their efforts to break out of any rut they are in and seek new relationships. If this means meeting one less time with a Christian for the sake of getting to know a non-Christian, then do it. But make sure you do it.