Being a Missional People
I have always had an interest in international and domestic missions. I have been on multiple mission trips both in the US and around the world. I love the missional idea of contextualizing your message to the people you meet. For example, you don’t go to the Czech Republic and do everything you do in America. You don’t go to the Masai people of Kenya and do everything like we do in America. You live a missional life.
Jesus certainly was the master at crafting the message of the gospel to meet a specific need. He spoke to the woman at the well right where she was. He talked with the religious leaders in language they could grasp. He demonstrated the ability to deal gently with those who were hurting and harshly with those who needed a wake-up call.
Paul was certainly a great example of contextualizing the message of the gospel to specific areas based upon their religious and societal backgrounds. He did this on Mars Hill, he accomplished this in Thessaloniki, and in every area he went. He did not have a cookie cutter message or a cookie cutter process for evangelizing an area. He did have a strategy which was to go into a town and straight to the synagogue then to the Gentile people. He was fervent in his speech and led people to the Lord, yet he was patient to speak over and over again to the people if it required.
The church in America today could learn a lot about being missional. For a long time we could have a cookie cutter church in different parts of the country with great success. You could walk into a Baptist church in the 1950’s in Texas and read their bulletin. You could then go to Georgia or Florida and experience the same type of service. Today many churches understand that they cannot exist in a vacuum but rather must take on a missional strategy in their own community. We do not live in a “Christian” nation anymore and thus must be compatible to the community around us. This does not mean the gospel message changes but the methods might change.
Many times churches struggle with what to be in the area of music and clothing. I gave an illustration to our church once that went something like this…”If we did a study of DeLand, Fl and discovered that Polka music was the one type of music that would reach our community then we would be non-missional if we decided to do music that was not polka music.” The idea that we will boldly say that we are going to stay the same because of tradition and not meet the needs of our community is like putting a sign out front that says “WE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU AT ALL.”
May we live lives that are missional and have churches that are missional as well. May we reach our nation and our communities!