Last weekend I took my 8-year-old son Ethan down to Indianapolis to watch a Pacers game (vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves) and spend the night. It seemed to me that things went "fine", judging by Ethan’s reaction to everything. Kevin Garnett didn’t play, which was too bad, but Ethan seemed to be enjoying himself, so I told my wife, when she asked how things went, that things were "fine."
Then today Ethan brought home a brief story he wrote in class about something that happened to him recently. He wrote about the weekend watching the Pacers. After gushing about how great it all was, he ended with this line:
It was almost the best day of my life.
It brought home to me again how much of an effect we have on each other’s lives without really knowing it most of the time. When we talk about "missional church" and "emerging church" and all that stuff, it really boils down to things like this, where a human life touches another human life. Missional church starts with how I treat my spouse and my kids, it starts with my attitude toward my neighbors, whether they’re good ones or not. It doesn’t start with grandiose schemes to evangelize cities, it starts in much more humble, boring circumstances: learning to put away anger, becoming more self-controlled, exercising patience (again), learning kindness, actually preferring others above myself.
You won’t make the headlines with accomplishments like that, but you will probably have a far greater impact than you imagine.