A Missional Person, pt. 8
Today I write my last installment on what it means to be a missional person. Today it seems, ‘missional’ is really the big ‘it’ word. Infact you can’t really pick up a book today that has something to do with church planting or serving the marginalized in socieity that you won’t find the word ‘missional’. I am convinced that half the people, if not more, that use this new, cool, it word don’t have a clue what it means, it seems that if you look around, the life of missional doesn’t so much rest upon the person, mission, and words of Jesus but on the embroidered shirts, $100 jeans, and hair cuts that you a pay $150 a pop for. That bugs me, a lot, because the truth is, when we see the word, ‘missional’ attached to these hip-styles, a certain lingo, or a denomination, then missional becomes some exclusive club that can only be intered if you are rich enough, poor enough, educated enough, uneducated enough, can talk a certain way, dress a certain way, and some where along the way, we forget what the whole thing was supposed to be. Heck, I bet if we made a pair of faded, ripped jeans, with a funky leather patch on the waist with the word, ‘missional’ on them, we could start a movement, and replace the ‘Lord’s Gyms’ t-shirts of the 80’s. All this to say, is that I have done my best to spend 8 posts showing us that missional is nothing that I have mentioned in the above paragraph, rather it is simply being a human being who is worshiping Jesus, as a sent person loving their neighbor and serving their world.
Yesterday, November 30th was our first ever, Serve Austin Sunday. We basically dismissed our worship gathering and sent our congregation out to ‘be’ the church in our city. We focused on three projects: A hamburger grill out in DownTown Austin to feed over 400 of our homeless citizens; we created an environment of creativity, learning, and warmth for a elementary school on the east side of Austin, by doing what is called, an Extreme Classroom Make over, and we did a landscaping project for an East Side Elementary school who couldn’t afford to make the campus look good. And while all of that was great, while we lived out loving our neighbor and serving our city, something else happen, that can’t happen by sitting next to someone week-in and week-out in our church chairs, we grew deeper in community as we worked alongside each other. Heck, I’m one of the pastors, and I got to meet people I had never met before, I got to talk to people, I usually don’t have time to talk to on a normal Sunday when I’m running around making sure everything is ready, yesterday, all over the city, we definitely served our city, but I believe we grew as a real inclusive community. We worked along side those and for those who have not entered a church service in years. We had the opportunity to deconstruct many of popular ideas of what is to be a Christian, as we were out with those ‘other’ than us instead of away from them. I believe yesterday proved that a missional person is someone who is committed to practicing faith in community.
So, what does that mean? What is it to be committed to practicing our faith in community? It basically means, we are in a community where we are all risking together, sacrificing together, succeeding together, and at times failing together. It means we live life together, we are transparent, we are open. We lean on each other, we rely on each other, and make sure we can be relied upon. We are not just a voice of the Gospel, but we live lives that prove and show the gospel. We are not just preachers, we are activists of faith, hope and love. Which means we move way beyond just proclaiming faith, we being to live by it and activate in the life of other. We move way beyond just simply proclaiming hope, but we begin to live by that hope, and thus begin to activate it in the lives of those who have seemed to have lost hope. We move way beyond saying we love someone, but we being to actually love them in deed and begin to be the tool of God that activates love in them.
Can you imagine what would happened, if each of us began to live this way? Can you imagine if a bunch of individuals began to live this way in one community? Can you imagine if this would spark a flame in several different congregations across our country, if we realized that true follower of Christ is someone who is committed to practicing faith in community, rather than just shallowly attending a church service each week!