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What Does It Mean to Be Missional?

What Does It Mean to Be Missional?

By Micah Metz, Social Media Coordinator

Lately, I have been pushing this idea on social media that we are all missionaries. Whether you have the title of missionary or not, you have the duty of a missionary. If you claim to be a Christian, there is a call on your life to live missionally. But what does it mean to live missionally? Without a solid understanding of what living missionally means, we are in danger of considering everything we do as missions; after all, I’m a missionary.

Go out to eat and leave a tip: missions. Watch a movie and buy someone’s popcorn: missions. Smile at someone: missions. This seems silly, but often Christians in our culture define being a Christian as being a “good person.” I recently spoke with WGM President Dr. Dan Schafer about the persecuted church, and he said something that was profound. “In other countries, people are losing their families, their jobs, being beaten, outcast, and have the threat of death over their heads just by accepting Christ. The cultural idea of lukewarm Christian does not even register to them. They just don’t understand how someone could commit halfway.”

I had a thought that I shared with Dan: “That makes me wonder if, at times, our religious freedom and lack of persecution is a hindrance to our faith.” What do we have to lose by accepting Jesus? Religious freedom is a gift but so are things like riches and talents. However, they can be abused and warped. Back to the question: what does it mean to be missional?

Let’s define what the mission is first. On the wall of WGM’s lobby it says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20 NIV).

There they are, our action verbs—go, make, baptize, teach, obey. Earlier last year, my brother Nathan, a missionary to Uganda, touched on the word “go” in one of his sermons. I think the sermon was called “Here I Am. Send Me to Where I Am.” He spoke about the context of the verse Isaiah 6:8 (NIV): “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah was volunteering to go right where he was because the need was great right there in his own town. All nations means ALL nations.

This is the main misconception we are fighting with our push to encourage people to live missionally. The mission is about spreading the gospel to all who need to hear it; it’s not about traveling around and being a nice person. You don’t have to be a Christian to be nice. You do have to be a Christian to truly understand and share the life transforming message of Christ and how that relationship is necessary for eternal life. God’s call is unique to each individual person. While my brother is called to Uganda, I am called right here in Marion, Indiana. I have traveled and done missions trips to widen my perspective and change my lens for those in need, and I’ve experienced cultures around the world. My call, for now, is right here.

God’s plans are beyond our understanding, but if there’s one theme I have noticed through the thousands of missionary stories I’ve heard, it is that people never think they are going to go and do the things they are doing until the Spirit leads them there. It all started with small steps of faith and a commitment to go courageously wherever God called them to go.

What’s your first small step? Will you participate in local missions; tell someone you don’t know about Jesus; share the gospel with a friend you’ve known for a long time; or deepen your relationship with Christ first through an accountability group, small group, or friendship? What will you do today to make sure that you are living missionally and avoiding that lukewarm relationship that requires no sacrifice?

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