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Missional and Being on Mission – More Than a Focus, A Time to Act

August 30, 2010

Last week I had to opportunity to attend a conference on church leadership development. It was held for pastors, ministry leaders, and others who are involved in ministry both inside and alongside The Church.  It was a great day.

Before the conference actually started I had the opportunity to meet someone face to face who I have only known online. We ended up in a discussion about being Missional. The church plant I am a part of is called Missio, and we have a Missional focus and approach to ministry. My new friend shares that focus and approach to ministry, and we talked about what it looks like to approach ministry Missionally. Our conversation was short, but because of it I entered into the rest of the day thinking about that question, “What does it look like and mean to be Missional?” How, as a leader, will I model, lead, encourage, empower, guide, and live out Missional ministry? Processing through several things the Lord had been showing me that week, and then entering into the conference with that mindset and those questions on my mind made a huge impact on my thinking. I think I finally get what being Missional is, and how it will affect my life, including ministry. My life and mission just changed! (Thanks J.P. for being a part of that!)

Matt Carter, lead pastor at Austin Stone Community Church shared at the 2010 Verge Conference, “What I am seeing is this growing tension in the everyday person that is sitting in the pew, reading their Bibles wondering why the scriptures and the stories they see in the book of Acts is not being lived out in the American church. There is this growing tension that I am seeing in just the everyday person when they read the book of Acts, they look at that and say, Wow, that’s a Christianity that I’m not experiencing. And they begin to wonder out loud, the people in our groups and the people in our churches are beginning to wonder out loud…when do I get to get in the fight?”

I have been propelled toward Missional thinking and focus because of the conflict I experience between what scripture says and what I have experienced in the life of The Church. A few years ago I was abused in the church. It shattered me and completely altered my view of life and faith. I tried to recover and to return to The Church but I faced difficulties that I didn’t know how to overcome and found little help from others. In fact, sometimes others became the obstacles. My faith failed. I still believed in God, but I no longer knew how to live a life of faith in the way others demonstrated that life. Christianity had to be more than what I experienced or everything I had based my life upon was a lie. I hit a wall, not being able to reconcile those differences. My life and faith were shaken to the core. My life as a Christian was fraught with a type of failure, and but rather than giving up or giving in, I fell forward into my failure and onto my face before God. My failure became the fuel that led me toward discovery and seeking to work through the questions and frustrations. It led me to a new faith, a new life, a life of mission. I now read the book of Acts and state, that’s a Christianity that I want and I will pursue it with all I have. I am entering the fight, putting action to my faith, and living and believing with all I have. My life is not built on a lie, and neither is Our Church or The Gospel.

Alan Hirsch, a South African-born Missiologist and a leading voice in the Missional movement of the Christian West states, “If you aim for ministry, you never get to mission, even if you intend to do it. However, if you aim at mission, you get ministry as well because ministry is the means by which you do mission.”

This is the heart and tension I carry. Everything I do is about mission. I am always on mission. My mission is simple, it is to glorify God. Everything, every moment is focused toward this mission. I serve, give, lead, work, relate, encourage, inspire, advocate, communicate, and love because of this mission. It is a life of action. A life of intentionality that compels and guides everything. Mission is the manner by which we live, love, and do ministry.

On Saturday my church plant had the opportunity to partner with others to serve and make an impact in our community. We got messy and dirty. We worked hard. We gave sacrificially. We laughed and played. We inspired. We shared. We did not do ministry, but we lived out mission.

A short time ago I received a message from my pastor which sums up our heart of mission, the heart that I want to drive my life every day. “Portland needs the church; it needs the Gospel. Thank you for your commitment to the church but more importantly to the fame of Christ.”

Mission … it is not about us, it is all about Him!

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