We define mission not so much as “doing stuff for God,” but more as “joining with God in what He’s already up to.” Jesus said “I only do what I see the Father doing,” and we’re trying to learn from Him how to live like that.
One of the ways our Missional Communities (MCs) begin discerning what God might be up to is simply by planning events and get-togethers that help facilitate greater relational connectivity among the people in the MC and those in the mission context, and it’s the reason we sweated through two intense games of kickball last month in 90-degree heat.
We had a neighborhood kickball game planned for a few weeks, and had spent a few evenings prayer-walking and handing out invitations to folks in the neighborhood. Remarkably, despite the heat, we had a solid 35 people show up for kickball on a Saturday in June. A few new relational connections were made, and others were strengthened. Everyone had a lot of fun and there was ice cream, which makes any event amazing.
It’s hard to pinpoint concrete fruit from an event like this, but it’s all part of the slow work of sowing kingdom seeds. Events like these are oftentimes a great first step for people who are skittish about “church” to experience informal Christian community, and perhaps learn that it’s not as weird as they thought. Events like these help the people in our MCs learn to listen to people and begin to discern what God might be up to in their lives.
Events like these tune us in to the frequencies of the relationships in our mission context and help us pray for people. If we are intentional about listening and noticing, events like these make us more aware of the movement of the Spirit in people’s lives so we can join in with what God is already doing.
It seems to me that there are two ways to “miss it” when it comes to these kinds of things:
- Assuming that if God wants to move, he’ll be obvious about it and send an angel to tell us what to do. This is the mistake of under-planning, not being intentional enough, waiting for lightning to strike, spending all our time discerning and none of it doing, lagging behind the Spirit.
- Assuming that we know what God wants to do and charging ahead without taking the time to listen. This is the mistake of under-listening, over-programming, not being patient enough, spending all our time doing and none of it discerning, moving ahead of the Spirit.
Events like these, when done well, help us to keep in step with the Spirit, so we can join Him in what He is seeking to do in our neighborhoods and relational networks. So, to that end, we’ll be playing kickball again on July 4! Hopefully the weather will be cooler.
I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on this!