Continuing the series on what I’ve learned in a year of trying to build missional community. The first lesson was about focusing on developing missional lifestyles. The second lesson is…
2. Live the Life, Tell Stories
Building a missional culture is a prolonged process. I found that the group was not prepared to go where I myself (as the leader*) had not yet gone. This is a healthy but challenging dynamic: I had to ask myself some hard questions about whether I was living a missional lifestyle myself!
So now I try to wake up each morning and praying “Lord, send me today. Show me what you are doing and show me how I can join in.” I looked at my diary and examined how I was spending my evenings: what was the balance of family time, time with Christians, time with non-Christians, etc.. Intentionally scheduled time with friends, got myself out the house, tried to build strong relationships.
As I started to put things into practice, however feebly, I tried to tell stories to the rest of the group, to fire their imagination and reset their ideas of what ‘the normal Christian life’ might look like. This is slow going but it is the work of foundation-laying, the essential groundwork without which everything is just theory.
This is where leadership brings real responsibility and challenge. I would really rather explain frameworks and teach people the principles of mission and let them do it! But no. We do need to lead from the front… but (as Hugh Halter put it, I believe) occasionally jam the brakes on so the rest of the group pile up behind, before setting off again!
Recently I was chatting to a church leader who wanted to move his church into mission. He suspected he had to be being more missional himself. Too right! Like everyone else, full-time Church workers have to figure out how to make their entire life their mission field, how to serve both during and beyond their day job, and how to build meaningful relationships with non-Christians. It wasn’t hard for him to find an avenue. He loves cycling – so it seems a simple thing to get stuck into to the local cycling community. This is going to be a great way for him to live the life and have stories to tell.
* actually deputy leader. Hey, Jesus is our leader!