I think somewhere along the way we’ve gotten distracted. Like ADD distracted. Squirrels and shiny objects abound in the path of the church and we’ve gotten off track. In order to be spiritually healthy, one must be part of a believing body of Christ. It is part of what makes us strong. The rest of the body strengthens us and helps to make us healthy. And part of being healthy is being missional.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about being a missional church. Well, that’s all well and good, but what the frak is missional? Missional emphasizes an urgency on the presentation of the Gospel message. It means that we as a church are to be a missionary outpost in a brave new world. It is getting back to the urgency of proclaiming the coming kingdom of God as we see in the Gospel of Mark and in the book of Acts.
Okay, so now I’m getting all technical and stuff.
But wait, there’s more.
Being missional means that you no longer view missions as something done out there, something done in a foreign country, but instead something done in your backyard. For too long we’ve seen mission work as something done by other people in a foreign land, usually eating weird food and living in huts. For too long, evangelism was seen as calling people back to faith. But that’s a wrong misconception. In being missional, we are to be missionaries in our own worlds.
The problem is, is that we get distracted. We get distracted by the squirrels of the past. Things used to be this way or that way. And yes, they were. But if we’re to survive, we must not cling to the past. Things have changed in the last 20 years. We need to stop trying to catch up to the 1990′s.
I am in a rural setting right now, a rural world. And believe you me, there are those who are in need of the Gospel message. And we can’t afford to be distracted by things of the past. We can’t afford to be distracted by running around chasing after things that can no longer be. There is an urgency here for the Gospel message to be proclaimed to those who are far from God.
Not just that, but there is a need for people to become part of the body of Christ. There is a need for people join in with the fellowship of believers. And when we’re not missionaly focused, we loose sight of that.
When I was in the Black Hills this last summer, I was playing with our camp fire (it’s a guy thing I think). One of the things I did was take a stick and poke it into the flames. The stick caught on fire. And so I pulled it out. Soon the fire went out and the tip of the stick became black and cold. Soon I poked it back into the fire again and it caught on fire. The same is true when we’re part of the body of Christ. We need to be active in it. We need to be part of it. And when we do, the fire of Christ continues and spreads.
But we need to be missional in nature in order for it to be on fire and spread. Too many times we get distracted by other things. We crank the beat up to 11 and yet reduce the volume of the Gospel. We try to appeal to the consumer, appeal to those who are in the church. Or we try to make things so appealing that we lose sight of what is so important — the pronouncement of the Gospel message.
One writer on missions put it this way: God is a missionary God and so his people are to be as well. This is our goal as followers of Jesus Christ, to be the missionaries of God’s word. Jesus sent out His disciples and us as well when he said
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
This is called the Great Commission not the Great Suggestion. It is something that is commanded of us to do. To increase the church, to make it strong.
So let us not get distracted about it. Let us not lose sight of the main objective. There is health and vitality found in being missional. Yet when we get distracted by things of the past, but things of catering to a consumeristic view, then we get all off track. Instead, focus. Focus on the mission of God found in Christ and step forward in being a missionary in your own backyard.