There is and always has been an individual and communal aspect to mission.
Mission is done in community. A community shares the load of the mission of making disciples. It takes a group to demonstrate Jesus to others. A community on mission is not one that talks about it one night a week and then sends everyone to “try” in their independent lives. No, the mission is shared, and God sends us to be on mission together.
However, missional communities also scatter. Through the circumstances of life, we are sent into some arenas of life alone, where the community does not travel with us: at work, at school, and in our homes. A community can engage in those individual spheres sporadically, but the individual or individual family is the constant and consistent image of God. There is and always has been an individual and communal aspect to mission.
Mission is something that happens in our everyday lives as we follow Jesus. Mission is not merely an activity; it is our identity! Being missional is being yourself. It is making disciples where you live.
Whether you work in a high-rise office-building or in your home caring for your small children, you are sent there by God to be His agent of reconciliation. This is how God is making Himself known through His people, by sending them out into the world. God actually places more people in your life than you probably realize.
Everyone has neighbors, co-workers, friends, bartenders, yoga instructors, financial advisors, teachers, classmates, fellow PTA members, and a whole slew of family relationships. In other words, God has sent you toward friends who don’t follow Jesus or know the gospel. How do you invite those folks to believe the gospel and become followers of Jesus?
We love our cities in the normal things of life: backyard grill-outs with neighbors, lunch breaks with your co-workers, concerts, films, play dates, and happy hours. The missional church is not about adding activities to an already-busy life; rather, it is a matter of being yourself in the everyday with gospel intentionality.
ARE YOU A LEADER? BE ONE WHO SENDS.
At its core and in the bulk of Scripture, God’s mission is worked out through people, families, communities, and tribes, who are themselves God’s witness to the world, God’s invitation to the world, and God’s message. God sends redeemed and recreated humanity by His power, grace, and love. The body of Christ is God’s physical representative in your neighborhood, workplace, school, and city. Even as you may enter those places alone, it truly takes a “village” to make a disciple.
“To make disciples is to call and equip men and women to be signs and agents of God’s justice in all human affairs.” — Lesslie Newbigin
As you send your community into each independent sphere of life, send them as God’s messenger. Send them knowing they are part of a community of messengers who will play a role in their seemingly individual efforts. Gather them together for the shared and common missional purpose your community has chosen. The communal mission becomes the training ground and the tip of the spear for how the good news will move through you.
How is God using you as a missionary both individually and in your missional community?
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