I’ve been blessed to be a part of five of our overseas Short Term Teams. One of the most surprising realizations I’ve had from these trips is that missionaries are normal people. Missionaries do normal things. Missionaries serve in many ways that I can replicate at home. I can be just as missional in my life as they are!
Life IS mission.
We are all missionaries. YOU are a missionary, whether you recognize it or not.
In the familiar passage in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus is commissioning all His followers to be His witnesses in all places. He instructs us to go to the ends of the earth (which includes our local neighborhoods). In Acts 1:8 He tells the disciples “you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” He started sending them to their local areas. It’s both/and; here and there. We are all called to mission.
What does it look like to live life on mission, and how am I supposed to fit that into my life? Living life on mission may require or inspire you to make a major change in your life, but the most important change is the mindset in how you live.
Let’s briefly refresh our minds with what life is really about. Our core purpose on earth is not to achieve the “American Dream,” but to glorify God and to bring others into glorifying God with us.
Start the day with prayer, asking God to give you a missional mindset. Then, begin doing the things you normally do with greater intentionality, remembering that God works in the little things. Keep praying throughout the day, asking God to be involved in directing every situation. So with that frame of mind, let’s talk about some specific examples of how to live on mission.
Make time in your day to say “hi” to your neighbors. Get to know them.
I’m living in a neighborhood for the first time in several years, so I have been relearning the skill of adding buffer into my day for this. I’m working to make time to get to know those around me. I try to listen to the story of their life. I try to hear how the gospel would be good news to them.
In order to do this, you may have to learn to look for where the gospel is good news to you every day. I think we are out of the practice of being aware of how the gospel impacts us every day. Daily life is hard, and I certainly need the gospel! I can forgive because I have been forgiven. I can love because I’ve been loved with the greatest love imaginable. I can extend grace because of the grace that was extended to me.
I recently gave myself a goal to keep a gospel journal, chronicling how the gospel was good news for me every day, in an effort to start thinking in this way (Jeff Vanderstelt has some great books that can help you with this new thought pattern).
I have learned that I can forgive because I have been forgiven. I can love because I’ve been loved with the greatest love imaginable. I can extend grace because of the grace that was extended to me.
I challenge you to do the same. When we see the gospel appear in our lives, we will better recognize how it would be good news to others around us.
Be intentional about loving people. Be intentional to talk about God in casual conversation. Talk about God as if He is a natural part of our day (which hopefully He is!).
What you think about most and find yourself doing will most easily come out in conversation. The devil tries to spread his lie that no one wants to hear about God, but that is a LIE!!!!! This The gospel is fresh air and water in the desert for so many people. So talk about Jesus!
You don’t have to do it in a pushy way. Having a unique “hobby” of leading trips to Serbia gives me a unique outlet to talk about God. It’s one of my favorite things to do, so the topic naturally comes up. Some people will be interested, some won’t. That’s ok––keep the conversation going with those that are interested! Pray that God will give you opportunity and courage to talk about Him to the people around you.
I recently prayed for the chance to talk about spiritual things with a specific co-worker. God gave me that chance, I took it, and I discovered that this co-worker is more than happy to talk about spiritual things. I pray that this will lead to additional conversations in the future.
As we listen to how the gospel would be good news to the people around us and get used to talking about Him more in normal conversation, we can share the gospel in a way that sounds like good news. Pray that God will place people in your life that are hungry to know Him more, and will want you to help them know Him better. How cool would that be?!
Maybe that person is your child, your child’s teacher, your co-worker, your neighbor, your bus driver, or a student in your Young Life group.
Pray for God to fill your mouth with things about Him.
DO IT TOGETHER
Be on mission with fellow believers, too.
We need to speak the good news of the gospel into each other! I have a not-so-secret desire to see everyone in the church have someone mentoring them in their faith, and have someone in their life that they are encouraging. This is SO incredibly biblical!
Look for someone younger than you spiritually to invest in. If you have children, they are your first responsibility. Don’t forget to look outside of your family, though. I personally would love more people investing in me!
Who in your life can you invest in spiritually? GSCC’s Discipleship 1-1 is a great way to get a taste of what this can look like. Individuals sign up stating that they want to learn more about God. You are trained and given a curriculum that walks you through the foundation of our faith and the Christian life to go through with your mentee. You get to talk about God and see someone’s faith and knowledge grow!
Discipleship isn’t always this structured, however. Discipleship is about living life together and encouraging each other to live in a way that points to and glorifies God. Letting someone in on your daily life can allow you to model to them how to interact with a spouse or with kids in a godly way. Some people don’t see forgiveness and love modeled at home. Demonstrating how the gospel plays out in your daily tasks and daily encounters is just as important as anything else!
RELY ON GOD
Rely on God daily. Every moment counts. An overseas trip is often (if not always) out of our comfort zone. You can’t do it well without relying on God. Time is short, and it is important to make the most of the time on the trip. God shows up and does amazing things in, through and around you. But do we really have to go to another country to experience this?
He is doing big things around us here in the USA. Most of us (myself included) get into the habit of living life in our own strength, and not living life in a way in which we must rely on God. Pray for strength to live life in your current area of influence in such a way that you have to rely on Him. Or ask Him to reveal an opportunity that will push you even further. God has brought the nations to us.
Portland alone has countless nations represented in it. There are people from un-reached nations here in our home state, if not our county! We have the ability to share Christ with people from some of the countries that are the most hostile to Christianity. They may not have free access to the Bible in their home country, but they do here!
Perhaps God is leading you to get involved in Rockwood, bringing Jesus to the nations without leaving the country. The point is to live life in such a way that you are constantly relying on Him for strength, wisdom, and direction as you live on mission with Him.
You were created by God for His mission on earth to bring all to know and worship Him. Let’s refresh our perspective on life and live on mission with God. Pick one thing that you can do this week to live life more on mission.
What is your next step? Share it with friends or family and encourage them to do the same. We all need each other to keep our minds on the things of Christ, not on earthly things.
Let’s serve Christ together––in the little and the big things of life.