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What is the Missional Life?

October 18, 2006

Briana’s recent post reminded me of an excellent article I recently read by Eric Simmons. He wrote an article for 9Marks (a website geared toward pastors) about what it means to live a missional life:

“Think about it for a moment. What kind of missionary would go to a foreign city, find a place to live, find a source of income, find where to buy food, maybe find a hobby and a wife, and then kick back and enjoy his surroundings, never befriending the locals. We wouldn’t call him a missionary. We’d call him a resident.

Some of us have lost the fact that all of us are missionaries, and we have taken up residency.”

So true! I was really convicted by the whole article. I also really appreciated what he had to say about how we speak to unbelievers. So many people I’ve worked with have shared horrible stories of “Christians” who’ve shared the Gospel with them in terrible and un-Christlike ways (and I’d say, distorted the truth) that make me cringe. That’s why I love what he says here:

“We Christians need to learn how to communicate. Sometimes what works in our church doesn’t necessarily translate out there . . . When that happens, we can just look at our non-Christian friends and say, “I’m sorry. That’s just Christian talk, here’s what I mean…” [. . . .] At times, I become concerned when the whole thrust of our churches’ teaching on evangelism is “be bold.” I am all for being bold. Sharing your life and Jesus with unbelievers takes boldness. But in our desire to be bold, we can sometimes be arrogant. Scripture teaches us to be bold and to be humble. Every time you speak to an unbeliever, concentrate on how you say things. Concentrate on your attitude and your motive. Let the words you speak be marked by a humble—not arrogant—orthodoxy. Remember our motive needs to match our message.

Paul also says to let our conversations be seasoned with salt. Do you know what “salty” means? It means “witty and full of life.” Let your conversations with unbelievers be witty and full of life. Let your joy come forth, so that they can see it.”

Want to read the whole article? Read it here.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2006 11:24 am

    Danielle, Mark Lauterbach is doing a series that relates to this right now on his blog. You should check it out.

    I agree with you…sometimes as Christians we get so wrapped up in our little church circles we are no longer reaching out to the lost. Or we are so concerned about how we think things should be done in things that don’t really matter. We align ourselves with political causes or how we school our children or whatever and we come across in a way that is arrogant and not mission oriented. I am constantly having to remind myself that no cause or thing other than the gospel is so important that I give myself completely to it neglecting how others may feel differently and how that might effect my witness to them. Yes I don’t compromise on my morals or beliefs but remind myself that being so passionate about those things can alienate me from the very peope God wants me to try to reach out to. Those things are not central to the gospel. I also firmly believe we should be examples to our children. If I am not interacting with those in my community and making an effort to befriend them and share the gospel what kind of example am I giving my children.

    Lots of great things to think about…and hopefully act on. 🙂

  2. October 18, 2006 11:43 am

    That was awesome!

  3. Ashleigh permalink
    October 18, 2006 6:41 pm

    Great post. When I have time, I’ll have to check out the rest of the article, as well as the link Bethany provided.

  4. October 18, 2006 7:21 pm

    Your article, and Eric’s, is very thought-provoking and challenging, but so good to read. I laughed at his example of salty speech!
    Recently our church began a series about evangelism, and it was surprising how many of my friends didn’t have a single non-Christian friend or acquaintance! (and I guess me, too…I think I might have one or two!)
    And we wonder why we aren’t effective in spreading the Gospel?!

  5. October 18, 2006 10:22 pm

    I can’t wait to read this whole article. I love the points he makes in your excerpts. Yes, why don’t we pray for joy more often than boldness? I am convicted that I spend more time at church or on my couch in the comfort of God’ Word –I mean the Bible–:) than any time with the lost. I don’t work outside the home, and most of my neighbors do, but I still have so little contact. As Charles Simpson said at Celebration, “There no impact without contact.”

    Okay, what’s another word for “lost”? Even that word is overused, I’m afraid. In a way it helps to have unbelieving family members because I can’t get too cozy without being reminded that I may spend eternity apart from them, and they’ll be in hell. Not that their destination is on my shoulders, but it sure keeps the fear of God in me!

  6. October 18, 2006 10:43 pm

    Okay, I’m back, after having read his article. Hilarious and fresh. I wish I’d had it tonight for care group. We were praying specifically about missions, missionaries, mission fields. This is the first time I’ve heard the word “missional,” though. Where have I been? The only “lingo” words I read in his article were “strategically” and radically. I guess he put his pastor hat back on!:)

  7. October 19, 2006 9:35 am

    good comments

  8. October 22, 2006 1:35 am

    Thanks! I appreciated your sentiments on that. 🙂 I needed that today!

  9. October 23, 2006 2:21 am

    Got here through Mag, and I agree good work!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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