Friday, June 28, 2019

Baby Steps into Mission

I have spent a fair amount of time on this blog critiquing individual Christians, churches and
If Bob can do it, so can you!
ministries for failure to engage in mission. However, I recognize that I have not offered much in the way of help for folks who want to do mission but aren't sure where to start. Over the course of the next few blogs I'm going to try to remedy that, and lay out a few baby steps for you to take if you are ready to move into mission. (Of course, if you live in Fort Myers and are ready to dive in you can just write or call me!)

First, a couple of disclaimers:
1. I'm assuming that you are already praying about this... keep praying!
2. I'm assuming you are attached to a community of disciples.
3. When I say mission, I mean revealing the Kingdom of God to people who are not disciples of Jesus in word and deed, with the goal of inviting them to become disciples of Jesus.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way let's get to it.

The number one question we need to answer is: who is God sending you to?

I'm assuming you're not sure about that (otherwise you'd be doing something already, I hope). That's totally normal. That is the baseline question though, and one that we will come back to again and again. So start praying about it.

As we begin to think about that, let's take on a couple more questions:
1. What people are currently in my life?
2. What sort of relationships do I have with them?

A great way to answer this question is to create a relational network map. Here's are instructions on how to do this:

1. Put your name in a circle in the middle of your paper.
2. List your different network “locations” in other circles (work, neighborhood, gym, etc.).
3. List all the people you have a relationship (of any sort) with around these circles.
4. Determine (roughly) how many hours a week you spend in each circle.
5. Create a simple ranking of relationships. Like 1 for an acquaintance, 2 for casual friend, 3 for close friend, etc.

Now, look at your relational network. What names on the paper stand out? Who is a believer without a community? Who is a nominal Christian? Who doesn't know anything about Jesus?

What needs or issues do you see in your network?

What common interests or passions do you see in your network?

The reason we do this is because, more often than not, God sends us to the places we already are. And this is a good thing for a variety of reasons. One, because we already have an insider's level of understanding in most of the places we inhabit. Two, because we are a known entity (and hopefully in a good way!) in these places. And three, because most of us lead busy lives and are not ready to make the scheduling sacrifice necessary to engage a new mission field. (See previous post. Of course we will be looking hard at our schedules in future posts, so be prepared!) By going on mission where we are we don't need to add a whole new program- we just change our focus in the places we're at.

Note: However, if your relational network has very few people in it who are not already disciples of Jesus then we're going to need to get you in some new places! 

So, start working on your relational map, start praying over it and asking for God's leading, and I'll be back next week with next steps!

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