[If you haven’t read Part 1, I advise you to a take a few minutes to do so before reading on…]
The second problematic tendency is the opposite of the first. Instead of disrespecting our brothers and sisters of another ilk, we respect them so much that we justify our weak points. We assume that God called them to do pretty much all the evangelism or social justice or intimate worship. “That’s their ministry, their gift, what God called them to do. Thank God because I’m no good at that stuff.” I think it’s ill-advised to so focus our attention on one tool with that we abdicate responsibility to those with a more developed use of the other tools. Though some are more gifted and compelled by the Spirit toward one or the other of those emphases, we shouldn’t relegate to them our obligation for those things.
Each person will naturally excel in one of these areas over the others. There are gifts of “evangelism” (Ephesians 4) and even of “mercy” (Romans 12) mentioned in Scripture. But as the baseball player that isn’t a natural five-tool player is advised to work on the weaker aspects of his game, we should thank God for the spiritual arena that comes most naturally to us and work on the others.
Most doctors will prescribe a good diet and exercise to overweight people. One or the other won’t adequately and sustainably reduce girth or lower poundage. They have to do both. In the same way, in order to be spiritually fit we (and our churches) have to take seriously being missional, merciful, and worshipful.
The MISSIONAL, Merciful, Worshipful Christian
I suspect that Jesus, who had previously commissioned his twelve future Church Generals – one of which was eventually dishonorably discharged – sent out this larger number of enlisted soldiers in order to make the point that it isn’t just apostles who were called to be missional. There is no position in God’s army for consumers and sightseers. Everybody gets in on the action.
Success is not measured by how many people come to our church’s services, but by how many go and serve God in the world. Way too much emphasis has been made of a church’s seating capacity and too little of its sending capacity. The missional person knows that “Church” is a verb, it’s people going somewhere. It’s not an institution, but a movement. Unfortunately, some Christians and their churches seem to be running in place so they can get in shape and look good, but they never get anywhere, carrying the message.
I like airports. People from all over the place going all over the place is oddly exciting to me. But I don’t go to the airport on vacation. It’s not a destination. I go there when I want to go somewhere else. A missional church is like an airport, with people going, and not staying. It’s a place for debarkation, not destination. A crowded airport is not really a good thing, because it means there’s a jam up of some kind. For some reason the planes are not getting off the ground and going anywhere. We don’t need a full church nearly as much as one that’s functional. Missional Christians know this and constantly and annoyingly push their churches forward.
On the other hand, these missional these missional types have to be periodically reminded that they’re really “not all that.” The seventy had so much fun pushing demons around that Jesus had to interrupt their celebration to tell them that they stop and worship that they’re even recognized in heaven. Their telling the gospel is no more important than showing it in mercy or living it in worship.
Whether or not you tend toward a missional orientation, we’re all called to be part of the “Great Co-Mission” with Jesus and with one another. Where is your mission-field? How missional is your church and how do you help it to be more so? (Hint: You might consider sending or rebloging this to others in your church who might be inspired toward their mission…)