Friday, June 29, 2007

Live Intentional, Live Missional

We were blessed to have Tom and Suzie Brock speak at our church this week. Thankfully they are faithful servants who go where they feel the Lord leads them, rather than numbers and finances. They both always challenge the church to get beyond ourselves and move into a new fullness of what God has for us.

They've been sharing the last couple of visits about the need to get out of the pews, out of the church walls, and out to the people who need a touch of the kingdom of heaven. I hope that the people who read this blog DON'T need this encouragement, but it is a good word nonetheless.

Tom speaks deeply but also has a talent for pithy sayings. I don't think theology should be summed up in sound bites, but in this case it works as an easy reminder when you're out in the world and you remember what he is saying.

One point was the fact that Jesus told the disciples to "follow Him." We do that well in the modern church, but we lose sight of the second part, "and I will make you fishers of men." We hole up in our comfy chairs that can stack, link, or be moved easy, with contemporary music and seeker-sensitive messages, and wonder why the lost don't flood into our churches. You have to go where the fish are to catch them. Jesus didn't usually hang out in the tabernacle - He was out among the sinners. He would be with the Pharisees one time, then another time he was around a prostitute.

Tom encouraged us with the following: Belong, Believe, Behave. First we need to make people feel like they are a part of something, without the hope that they will just be a body for nursery or ushering. We are awfully busy anymore, but people lack community or belonging in what they do. We need to intentionally befriend people, honestly reach out and fulfill a need. If we are genuine in what we do, people will see the light in us and be drawn in to our community.

He also exhorted us about the idea of letting them belong first. Develop the relationship first. Don't try to clean them up or force belief on them. As they spend time with us, they will come to the place where they are open to the truth, and will then come to believe. After they believe, then the Spirit will work on sanctification, and the behavior will come into line.

The other main idea was to live missionally. Tom is not a part of the "emergent church" movement, and the term missional often gets associated with it. Despite the pros and cons of the emergent movement, we shouldn't let the idea of living missional to get overlooked. Everything we do can be missions to the people around us.

I love foreign missions, and I want to see Christians released to the ends of the earth, so that every people group can have a witness of the gospel. I would like to be involved with that one day, but I can reach people right now, where I am. I recognize all that I do can be used for His glory. I love soccer - so I coach my son's soccer team and try to build relationships with kids and their families to show them the love of God. I use my internet time to build a case for Christ, whether here or on a Star Wars fan site. If I'm aware and sensitive of the Spirit's leading, everyday encounters can be used by God.

So, live a life intentional: determine right now that everything you do can have a greater purpose, and go out with the intent to share the Kingdom wherever you go. Live a life missional: sharing the love of Jesus. Build relationships. Find a need and see if you can serve someone. Watch for the opening to speak about what Jesus has done for you.

I'm tired of playing church. It's not that fun. I want to see the Kingdom come where I live right now. I'm not waiting for the sweet by and by in the nasty here and now. I can make a change for the better today. Won't you join me?

Thanks for sharing Tom - keep fighting the good fight!

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