This month the Resonate Global Mission Great Lakes regional team hosted discussions on the book Sentness: Six Postures of Missional Christians by Kim Hammond and Darren Cronshaw. About a dozen pastors gathered to discuss and dream together about helping churches move from a consumer to a missionary mentality.
We all agreed that this missional shift is far from easy, that it won’t happen quickly, and that it won’t happen at all without leaders who are intentionally moving us in that direction.
What motivates us to make these changes at all?
We are learning that part of the danger of Jesus’ call is found in being involved in restoring the world from situations that bring tears to our eyes and break the heart of God. Who of us is willing to count the cost and create safe spaces when our neighborhoods are distant from God’s dream and needing restoration? (page 113)
Our heart has to break for what breaks God’s heart. Through listening to the stories of our neighbors, we begin to learn about what “good news” looks like to them, and we hear God’s call to join the Spirit in this work of restoration. For example, when we listen to our neighbors who experience the injustices of racism on a daily basis in the United States, we develop a Christ-like love and compassion that prods us to set aside our discomfort to support movements of justice and reconciliation.
One of the first steps in helping our congregations from a consumer to a missionary mentality is exposing them to the stories that help us develop empathy for the broken-hearted and provide us with opportunities to join in God’s restoring work.
Consider connecting with Resonate partners in the Great Lakes region to learn from their stories and be shaped by the communities where they are seeking restoration:
- Over the past few months, the West Michigan Friendship Center has delivered more than sixty twenty-pound boxes of food to refugees and immigrants, mostly from Muslim countries. Contact Laura or Sal to learn about it is like for people to live as strangers in a foreign land, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. They always have opportunities for volunteers who want to build these relationships, and their e-newsletter shares stories of their impact.
- Hesed Community Church, located in Detroit, Michigan, is on the frontlines of how racial injustices have affected and continue to infect a whole city. Pastor Mark would love to share this story with you, or he suggests reading Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination by Herb Boyd.
- Sometimes “good news” is found in a friendship that replaces loneliness. Students at Grand Rapids Community College who struggle with cognitive and learning disabilities often feel rejected by their peers, but they find acceptance through Jabez Ministries and Pastor Peter’s leadership. These students have incredible gifts and tenacity, which they would love to share with you at any of their weekly gatherings (currently taking place online).
- If you’re looking for more ideas, especially on how to expose your youth to new places and stories after your summer mission trip has been canceled (or even if it hasn't), check out the article When Your Summer Mission Trip Is Cancelled.
Written by Amy Schenkel, Resonate's Regional Mission Leader for the Great Lakes region.