Sometimes people ask me what it really means to be missional. They hear the word and imagine their already-busy lives being consumed by yet another obligation. But while following Jesus in the way of mission is definitely a commitment that will take time, energy and money, it doesn't have to be overwhelming in the sense of "one more thing to do."
Being missional is not something we add onto our lives, it is our lives. It's kind of like walking around with polarized sunglasses on – we do everything we normally do, we just see everything in a new light. Being missional means we stop sleepwalking through our lives and open our eyes to the activity of God and the opportunities for embodying and sharing the gospel all around us.
I recently found a blog post by Jonathan Dodson that features 8 really great practical suggestions for helping us learn what it means to be missional. I have re-posted them below. Jonathan lives in Austin, Texas, so just substitute the specific localities he mentions with your own local elements.
8 Ways to be Missional Without Overloading Your Schedule
By Jonathan Dodson
1. Eat with Non-Christians. We all eat three meals a
day. Why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a
non-Christian or with a family of non-Christians? Go to lunch with a
co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family
dinner. If it’s too much work to cook a big dinner, just order pizza
and put the focus on conversation. When you go out for a meal, invite a
non-Christian friend. Or take your family to family-style restaurants
where you can sit at the table with strangers and strike up
conversations (Mighty Fine Burgers, Buca di Peppo, The Blue Dahlia,
etc). Have cookouts and invite Christians and non-Christians. Flee the Christian subculture.
make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood,
apartment complex, or campus. Instead of driving to the mailbox,
convenience store, or apartment office, walk to get mail, groceries,
and stuff. Be deliberate in your walk. Say hello to people you don’t
know. Strike up conversations. Attract attention by walking the dog,
taking a 6-pack (and share), bringing the kids. Make friends. Get out
of your house! Last night I spend an hour outside gardening with my
family. We had good conversations with 3-4 neighbors. Take interest in
your neighbors. Ask questions. Engage. Pray as you go. Save some gas, the planet.
for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same
places. Get to know the staff. Go to the same places at the same times.
Smile. Ask questions. Be a regular. I have friends at coffee shops all
over the city. My friends at Starbucks donate a ton of left over
pastries to our church 2-3 times a week. We use for church gatherings
and occasionally give to the homeless. Build relationships. Be a Regular.
can share. Get out and do something you enjoy with others. Try City
League sports. Local rowing and cycling teams. Share your hobby by
teaching lessons. Teach sewing lessons, piano lessons, violin, guitar,
knitting, tennis lessons. Be prayerful. Be intentional. Be winsome.
Have fun. Be yourself.
your breaks with intentionality. Go out with your team or task force
after work. Show interest in your co-workers. Pick four and pray for
them. Form mom’s groups in your neighborhood and don’t make them
exclusively non-Christian. Schedule play dates with the neighbors’
kids. Work on mission.
your part of the city and take Saturday a month to serve your city.
Bring your neighbors, your friends, or your small group. Spend time
with your church serving your city. Once a month. You can do it!
X-Box, watching TV, or surfing the net, participate in city events. Go
to fundraisers, festivals, clean-ups, summer shows, and concerts.
Participate missionally. Strike up conversation. Study the culture.
Reflect on what you see and hear. Pray for the city. Love the city. Participate with the city.
weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, fixing a car. Stop by the
neighborhood association or apartment office and ask if there is
anything you can do to help improve things. Ask your local Police and
Fire Stations if there is anything you can do to help them. Get
creative. Just serve!
Great post, Ben. This was a fantastic remind and challenge.
Now…the hard part: me actually living this everyday!
Jonathan Dodson says
Glad it was helpful. Grace to you in the mission.
Jeremy Williams says
This is great stuff, Ben. Just discovered your blog and really appreciate these posts. JR is right that doing this is hard for ‘professional’ Christians who are used to shuttling from church meeting to home and back – I’m talking about myself, here. But it seems more and more important the more I think about it.
Grace to you in your work. Keep it up.
darren herbold says
Great post. Also just found your blog. Appreciate the helpful tips and thoughts.