Most of our homes are scattered with the leftovers of our desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Those of us who are older may even bump into that pet rock that we bought in the 1970s. Others of us have closets bursting with Beanie Babies. We have trinkets, books, magazines, clothes with logos and trademarks—every one of them proclaiming our desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
God invites us into something bigger than ourselves, namely, being a missionary community.
A missionary invites people to be a certain kind of people and live a particular type of life. There are all kinds of missionaries in our world (many of them work in advertising!). God's missionary people issue a unique invitation. They invite people to join in living as a beloved community of shalom rooted in Jesus. Communities of shalom model and bring God's vision of flourishing, justice, and reconciliation to the world.
Being a missionary community is an extraordinary calling, but sustaining this life as a beloved community can be difficult. There is a reason why our closets now hold our pet rocks, our Beanie Babies, and so much more. We lost our enthusiasm for what we were collecting. We lost our desire to spend time and resources on these fads. The truth is our enthusiasm for being a missionary community can also fade. Life brings pressures, COVID strikes, the beloved community we are forming no longer feels so beloved and more.
To be a missionary community, we remember (remember in the Hebrew sense of both recalling and acting) four beautiful and wonderful Biblical promises:
- We are Adopted | Wanted | Loved: Living as a missionary community is rooted in being adopted children of God who are wanted and loved by our Father. Dwelling in the wonder of being wanted and loved grounds us in a life of gratitude that sustains our calling.
- Our Contribution Matters: God promises that what we do matters and shapes the future. As Paul says to the church in Philippi, "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6 NIV11)
- God's Power is with Us: God's power stands behind our work. God himself will establish our work and use it as part of his restoring and redeeming all things. The Psalmist sounds this cry and hope, "May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands." (Psalms 90:17 NIV11)
- God's Missionary Call is Worth our Lives: Joining God in mission to set the world to rights is worthy of our lifetime commitment. Knowing that we join this work not on our own but as a community called and equipped by the Spirit helps us see how we can bring missionary influence to every sphere of life. Jesus reminds us that being part of this kingdom movement is worth our lives, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:45–46 NIV11)
To sustain our missionary calling, we need to remember the beautiful and wonderful promises of God.
As we endeavor to sustain our missionary calling, let's help each other out. Tell us:
- How has your congregation remembered these promises?
- What other promises have sustained your congregation?
Want to discern your congregation's God-given, hope-filled, mission-focused future? Connect with us at Vibrant Congregations.