How to do Mission
I received a phone call from someone last week and they were asking me about our mission. Hopefully by now you know it -- our mission is to help people connect and reconnect with Jesus. They said they knew our mission statement but weren't really sure what it meant or how to do it. I love that they asked! I love that they are interested!
So, in a nutshell, this was our conversation. Connecting and reconnecting people with Jesus means we want to help people have a sincere, life-changing relationship with Jesus -- as Savior, Master, example, and true love. But that won't happen if we just sit around and wait for people to come to us, or if we just cluster with our Christian friends. That's why we MUST intentionally step out of our comfort zones to begin to build bridges with those who need to connect and reconnect with Jesus. And, as I've admitted to you before -- I've got to make myself do this just as we all do...and it feels weird and awkward and I make mistakes at it and sometimes I look back and smack myself on the forehead for something I missed or didn't do. But I strive to be obedient and I pray for God to use me and the Holy Spirit to move.
I shared in this conversation what this looked like in a particular relationship in my life. I get my hair cut about every 4 or 5 weeks and I like cheap haircuts (let me rephrase that...I like the cheap part; often not pleased with the hair part; but my unwillingness to spend much money on a haircut often means I suffer with the not so great cut). So for years I went to the same place. They usually went through a lot of employees but there was one young woman who was there for several years. She cut my hair a few times and we struck up a conversation. Then I started asking for her...if she wasn't in, I would come back sometime when she was available. And over the months we started talking about family, and kids, and then spiritual things. Now, the goal of our mission to is to help people connect with Jesus...but part of trying to help her connect with Jesus was inviting her to our church. She came for a holiday service, enjoyed it, and started attending pretty regularly with her kids when she wasn't working on Sunday. And then, as she continued to cut my hair, our conversations went into deeper and deeper spiritual territory! But, sadly, her husband took a job south of here and they moved away...but I know that seeds were planted and I pray that God has someone else in her life and in her family's life who is watering those seeds so connection is growing.
I would have loved to have been able to see where all of that ended up in her life. But what we are discovering is that living our mission means simply living with gospel intentionality -- planningto spend time with people who need to connect and reconnect with Jesus. It might mean inviting a co-worker to lunch to get to know them better; it might mean inviting neighbors over for a backyard bbq; it might mean always asking for the same server at a restaurant; or consistently going to the same coffee shop and striking up conversations with the same person; it might mean volunteering to help someone.
But eventually it means introducing Jesus into the conversation. That can be by sharing something as simple as: "I will be praying for you," or using Bible wisdom to give advice, or sharing something Jesus is doing in your own life, or inviting them to church (Easter is coming!). And, of course, it means the whole thing has to be covered and bathed in prayer.
We're told by Jesus to initiate and be intentional--because we are to "go" and "make" disciples. Jesus modeled for us how to do that--He entered into relationships with His disciples.
So, either this week or next, take a step of bold faith and do something to live on mission!
Jon B. Stradtner