Reflecting on What It Means to Be Missional
We’re putting on the finishing touches to our yearly digizine, and I’m so excited for you to see it. It will be available on August 7, so keep your eyes open for a blog post announcing its arrival. In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak.
Our digizine, The Meaning of Missional, is all about what it means to live missionally, especially as a small group. And we have articles from people who have been leading the way in missional small groups including Alan Danielson of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma, Carter Moss of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois, and Scott Nelson of ForgeAmerica.
I also had the privilege of interviewing Scott Boren, author of MissioRelate and Missional Small Groups. He’s been part of missional small groups for a long time, and he’s passionate about helping churches move their small groups toward missional living. We talked about the many challenges of missional living and what it will take for small groups to catch the vision and begin living missionally.
My favorite part, though, was when Boren explained, in simple terms, what missional living looks like. Among other things, he said we need to ask, “How do we embody the way of Christ in our local neighborhoods right here, right now in a way that is attractive and beautiful and winsome and demonstrates the kingdom? Not so people will come, but because that’s who God has called us to be—whether or not people respond.”
I’ve been reflecting on that quotation ever since. I feel too often we try to be missional only with the goal of newcomers in mind; in other words, we’re asking, “How do we get people to respond to the Gospel?” When we do that, we forget that God calls us to obey him regardless of the outcome. We serve the needy regardless of whether they begin to follow him. We give generously regardless of whether we receive generosity. We love people and offer grace regardless of whether we’re offered grace and love in return. It reminds me that we don’t cause people to respond; the Spirit does.
The truth is that God has called us to live out kingdom values regardless of the outcome—just because that’s what he’s called us to do. The more I reflect on this truth, the more I fall in love with God. He’s after our hearts, not what we can produce, and that’s a beautiful thing.