Friday, August 27, 2010
Are You a Missionary? - Part 2
I see it as a five-step process.
4. Develop relationships. You can’t make someone be your friend. All you can do is be available and open. But if you have followed the first three steps, chances are you have put yourself into a position of trust. It’s amazing how many stories I have heard about Christians who work in Hollywood who talk about how people seek them out and confide in them for help and advice. These people are living missionally. They have answers. And, trust me, people are hurting. And, if they see someone whose lives and relationships are working, they want to know why. Frankly, none of this is that complicated. What’s complicated is living it day by day.
5. Build friendships. If you have reached this point, friendships start to happen. All you need to do is cultivate and encourage the friendship to grow. Consider doing something together. If you are married, perhaps have your co-worker and his or her spouse over for dinner. God to a ball game, go on a hiking trip. The key is to spend some time together and just allow the friendship to grow. Now you are in a place where you have earned the right to talk about Jesus. Chances are people willing to hear what you have to say. After all, you have proven to be authentic and real about your faith. You are not some slogan on a $20 fake bill with a cheesy Gospel pitch for salvation.
Why are we not living missionally? I think there are three types of Christians that are having a difficult time applying the concepts of a missional lifestyle. The first type is what I call drive-by Christians. It seems that today Americans want their Christianity to be comfortable, safe and convenient. In other words, they don’t want to get out of the car. If they do, it means getting involved in the lives of other people, and that could get messy.
The second type are the non-culturally relevant Christians. I know that in some circles the term “culturally relevant” is almost a dirty word, but over the past few years we have created a subculture that is cut off from the mainstream culture. As a result, a lot of young people today do not know how to conduct themselves or how to have a conversation with nonbelievers. They have nothing in common nor do they understand the culture or the language of today’s media culture. If missionaries who plan on going to the foreign field will take two years to study the culture and the language of their people group, how can we expect to reach our culture if we don’t understand it ourselves. And if we live in a Christian subculture, how are we going to relate to people in the mainstream culture?
Christians who do embrace a missional lifestyle are a rare group. When you embrace the five steps, you allow yourself to be lead by the Holy Spirit. It is then that God can use you to draw people to Him. It becomes a matter of balance and properly ordering your life to fit into God’s plan. This five-step process will work anywhere, including Hollywood, the school you attend, your workplace or your family and friends because they are all a mission field.