I was talking to a person who went to a, in what we would normally deem as a, very successful church. I was talking with them about working with, living with, and reaching the lost for Jesus. I was talking to them about their normal, everyday life. About going to them with intention and incarnation. Their response was, “Isn’t that what we pay tithe for…”
I didn’t know if I should send hate mail to his pastor or just weep! Okay, I would NEVER send hate-mail for two reason – one it would be wrong on several levels, and two in order for me to do that, it be because I would be making several assumptions, which is not right either. However, years ago, I had a vision of myself standing in a room that was beneath the surface of this world. I wasn’t in the room alone, I was in a room full of other pastors, and we were all just having a great time in our nice clothes, enjoying the ‘fruit’ of our labor, but I was not satisfied, I was burdened, and so I turned to the door at the top of the stairs and began to run up the stairs. As I was going, some of the pastors turned to me and said, “It’s scary out there, our job is to preach, it’s dirty out there, stay in here…” I turned to the room full of ‘successful’ pastors and yelled – Jesus Christ had a vision for his church, and this is not it – as I pointed at them…
The next vision that followed a month or so after was me and another group of pastors, were outside the door that led to the ‘dirty’ world. We were all in those space like, contamination suites. And we were slowly and cautiously walking towards this group of ‘dirty infectious’ people. And we were showing how caring we were as we walked towards them in our SUITES! As we got closer, my heart began to break, and I began to shed my suite, Again, all the pastor’s were walking backwards, yelling at me about how unsafe this could be. After my suite was off, I, with tears in my eyes, embraced those people that we were once so scared of.
You can’t have two visions like this, and not have it shake you up a bit. You can’t a have these visions and take to kindly to churches and pastors who train their people on a subconscious level, that they are to go out and make money (as their part of the great commission), and herd all these lost people in the doors of their church like cattle so the pastor can brand them with their stellar message. You can’t have two visions like this and just be okay with pastor’s limiting their time to the office and pulpit, and writing it off as a ‘gift.’ You can’t have two visions like this and just be okay with an entire generation of Christians thinking that Christ’s whole reason for bleeding and dying was to make us safe, secure, and pretty. I mean, where in the entire Bible is there any reference to the climax of my calling to be a door greeter, as if when I reach that point, I am really serving God!?
Let me say it this way if you don’t have time to read the rest. The church is a sending agent, not a shopping mall enticing the lost with it’s sales people to come buy the goods – period! Our people were not given the gifts, talents, and earning capacity so they can serve the church better. Here what I am saying, not what I am not saying, I’m am not saying we shouldn’t serve in the church, I am saying that in NO way should our people ever have reason to believe that they are fulfilling the great commission by doing so. The truth is, God has formed every one of us with our personality, with our mind, with our ability, our physical capacity, and with our earning potential, not to max out at serving in the church building as an organization, but he has given us all these things so that we can be the best kind of missionary he has ordained us to be right where we already live. We have to understand and believe that it is our calling, not just the pastors, but ALL of ours to live God loudly where we already are. To be a missionary person does not mean you have to go over seas, it does not mean you have to live a different life, it means you begin to live the life you already live with a different outlook. It means you begin to live like Jesus in word, deed, and thought in front of the people you live with daily. It means you intentionally engage people with spiritual conversations. It means you are so passionately in love with Jesus, that you can’t help but be him to those around you. The truth is God created you just the way you are, to work in the place you do, to be around the people you are around, so that you could be him to them – period! This must be the priority in our lives (Psalm 139 and Acts 17).
If this is true about you, and it is, then we have to realize and actualize that we are where we are, that we belong to what we belong to, according to the predetermined plan of God, and we have to embrace, that the reason we work where we do, we live where we do, work out where we do, eat where we eat, is because those around us are in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ, FROM YOU!
So out of all this, please remember, that God has created you just the way you are, and placed you right where you are, not so you can invite a bunch of people to your church (again, I’m not saying, “Don’t invite people to church”), but so you personally can join them, and invite them to living life with Jesus right where they are.
So, in summary, a Missional person is someone who embraces their calling from God as sent missionaries to where ever they are!
So if that is my job, then what is the role of the church – we’ll get to that on the next one!