How to be Missional (without leaving your neighborhood)

Author: Wesley Jank
"And the Word became flesh and moved into a neighborhood."
~ The Message

Every one of us is a member of a neighborhood or community. But hold on, this is where things get interesting: God's plan for reaching YOUR neighborhood includes you!

God declares through the apostle Paul, "So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us." (2 Cor 5:20)

Think about that for a second.

God.

The One Who created the world from nothing.

The One Who sustains our universe by His Word.

The One Who has the authority and the power to reach your community in any way He chooses.

HE—has chosen you.  

He picked us, ordinary humans, to be the vehicles by which His extraordinary message of reconciliation goes out.

The fact is, we have an incredible opportunity here. We have the privilege of partnering with the living God in this grace-filled transformation of our communities!

But what does that look like practically? How do we, as believers, go about being God's ambassadors?

It starts with a mindset shift.

In our modern Christian culture, we tend to think of discipleship as an activity that we add to our day. Maybe it's a program that we participate in, and that's fine. But we can't stop there.

At its core, being active ambassadors (disciples) of Christ looks more like regular life than it does a program. The problem with the traditional view of what it means to be a disciple is that it's too narrow in focus. We've removed it from the context of our ordinary lives. It's something we GO to rather than being something we ARE.

Therein lies the problem.

God wants to use the everyday moments of our ordinary lives to reach those around us. How do we engage God in this way? We open our eyes to all the opportunities that he has placed in our own backyards, across our streets, and in our neighborhoods.

What are people in our communities doing?

It's so easy to get absorbed in our lives. It's so easy to exist without ever learning the names of the people who live around us. Yet—if we are to partner with God in seeing our neighborhoods transformed by the grace of God—it is essential that we become aware of those who live near us.

• You could start by taking a walk around your neighborhood and praying. Ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities that are around you.

 • When you are out mowing your lawn or shoveling the snow, why not consider helping your neighbor.

 • At the time of this publishing, we're still in the grips of a global pandemic. Many people are practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Human connection has been significantly restricted in our society (when's the last time you went to church?), more now than ever before people need to be seen. People need to be heard. They need to know they are not alone.  

 • The supermarket experience has gone through significant changes as well. Grocery stores are limiting the number of people allowed in, and cashiers are tucked behind glass panels. In this Covid-19 world, it is easy to withdraw, but don't do that. Take this time to learn the names of your frontline workers, and the next time you see them greet them by name. Doing so will go a long way in connecting you to the people in your neighborhood.

Our communities are filled with people who desperately need to know Jesus.  If we are to lean into our calling as ambassadors, we must live with intentionality and on mission.

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Our neighborhoods need us.

By God's grace, we can be people that partner with God to see massive transformation in our communities!

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