Participation in the Missio Dei (“The Mission of God”) is largely misunderstood as either a new form of Christianity or a radical branch. Phrases like ‘being missional’ have been hijacked to mean all sorts of things that it was never intended to mean. People now use missional living as an excuse to do the sorts of things that they always wanted to do anyway.
“Hey man, don’t judge me hanging out at the bar every night, I’m just being missional!”
And while hanging out at the bar may be a good way to meet non-Christians and introduce them to Jesus, missional living isn’t a license to do as we please in the name of Jesus. Instead, it is an intimation to join God in his desire to restore, redeem, and bring peace to all things and reconcile all of creation under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
What this means, is that missional living, participation in the Missio Dei, is not always large or grandiose, in fact most times it’s the exact opposite. Instead, it is daily faithfulness and adherence to the teachings of Jesus: like how to be a good neighbor, care for the poor and needy among you, and feed and shelter those that are hurting.
The problem here, is that for many, the idea of missional living is largely a foreign one. The basic premise is to live your life as an extension of God’s mission. What the majority of Christians have been told, from preschool age and beyond, is that there is a dedicated or special class of people that are equipped to handle the struggles, frustrations, and visions of ministry. These people, almost exclusively male, were told (or at the very least communicated to those that would listen) that they were the ones that were good enough to handle the daily pressures of ministry.
Instead, we must rethink the paradigm not only of leadership (who is called and qualified) but of followership (what it looks like to be faithful in all things).
Participation in the Missio Dei is an equipping of all people for acts of service and an empowering of all Jesus followers to live out the Good News of the resurrection. And good followership, is about discerning where God has called you to be faithful this day, in this moment.
Here are three ways to start actively participating in the mission of God.
1.) Do what God is calling you to today. Maybe he’s calling you to prayer, or to talk to that coworker you’ve been avoiding. Faithfulness isn’t about only following God in the big things There’s a good chance you’ll never have to be faithful in the big things if you can’t be faithful in the small things first.
2.) Shift your paradigm. Missional living is about exposing people to Jesus. To do this, the best approach is centered and not bounded. Pay attention in the rhythm of life to not only your own arrow and direction (is it pointed towards Jesus in faithfulness or away) but in how it will look to start pointing others towards him as well.
3.) Look for and engage a person of peace. Let’s face it, a big motivator for all of us is success isn’t it? A person of peace is someone that God reveals to you who is open to hearing more about the Gospel and is interested in Jesus. Ask for God to lay on your heart people around you that are open to hearing about Jesus and then begin to interact with them and intentionally invest in them and their family. They aren’t a project to be completed but a person to be celebrated. So take time to get to know them and expose them to your regular rhythm of life in Jesus. As they see you pursue God, they will be captivated by that as well and want to know more. Find intentional ways to expose them to Jesus.
Participation in the Missio Dei is about continuing the work that Jesus started, he even promised us that we would do greater works than he did (see John 14). For us to do so faithfulness means that we need to soften our hearts to where we see God leading and calling us as his people. We are all gifted, we are all equipped, and we are all called. May we all be found faithful.
This article is part of a MennoNerds Synchro-Blog on Missional Spirituality for the month of February. MennoNerds is exploring through this event Spirituality through an Anabaptist lens and what it means concerning participation in the mission of God.
For a full listing of articles and the entire blog series, please visit MennoNerds.com