Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are You a Missional Christian?

One of the things I love about the internet is the ability to glean from wisdom shared long ago.  I found this post, today in 2011, that was posted June 2007 by Scott Welch on his blog.  Immediately I knew that God can use this to communicate with my network.  I benefited from this and hope you will too.  Please pray that I may ever increasingly apply this wisdom in my daily life.

 Blessings, Rev Vicki Gladding.

10 Characteristics of Being a Missional Christian
Bob Pratico from Sojourn Church in Huntsville Alabama offers the following (the post is a couple of months old) guideline to determine if you are in fact Missional in your Christian walk:

1) A significant number of your friends are unbelievers. (Unbelievers like to spend time with you. Jesus seemed to spend a lot of time with unbelievers in the gospels and they were apparently comfortable with Him for the most part. Jesus was the friend of sinners – Luke 7:34. It was the religious hypocrites that felt threatened and couldn’t stand Him.)

2) Many of your Christian friends are from other denominations and churches. (You’re comfortable with the whole Body of Christ, not just your local part. You value the rich diversity in the Kingdom of God – 1 Cor 12:12-26)

3) You listen more than you talk. (You want to know where people are coming from and where they’re at. You genuinely seek to understand what people are telling you, not merely use it as an opportunity to mentally formulate what you’re going to say next. Jesus always began interacting with anyone by listening. Luke tells us that at age twelve, Jesus was in the temple with the Doctors of the Law, listening to them and asking questions – Luke 2:46. Before he healed people, Jesus listened to their stories of illness, loneliness, and rejection.)

4) You see no distinction between sacred and secular. (Everything you do in life is enthusiastically for the glory of God – 1 Cor 10:31. You live for and look to Christ in everything you do.)

5) You’re painfully aware of how little you really know and how far you have to go. (You never stop learning. You read a lot. You’re not afraid to say, “I don’t know.” The more you learn, the more you realize just how little you really know. Job learned this hard lesson in Job 38:1 through Job 42:3 - read through all 4 chapters!)

6) You take risk – enough so that you sometimes fail.
(You like to push the envelope knowing those that never fail, never live to their full potential. You’re more afraid you won’t use your full potential than you are of failure. The words of Jesus in Matthew 25:28 as translated by “The Message” ring for you: ’Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’).

7) You have a long-term perspective. (You understand following and serving Jesus is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in it for the long haul. You realize evangelization takes time; long-term results are more important than short-term trends. You don’t quit. Heb 12:1 exhorts us to “run with perseverance (endurance) the race marked out for us.”)

8) You tune in, not dial out, the culture. (Your unbelieving friends see you as a part of their culture – not outside it. You stay abreast of where the culture is and where’s its heading. You know how to connect with the culture without necessarily embracing it. Christ’s words in 1 Cor 9:19-22 as translated in “The Message” apply: “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living im-moralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”)

9) You differentiate between essential and nonessential. (You know when to fall on your sword and when not to. Not every battle is climactic; many are small skirmishes best fought with patience and love instead of brute force. In Luke 10:41, Jesus gently reminds Martha that some things are more important than others.)

10) You care for the poor
(Your care goes beyond writing a check for a tax deduction. You give, not out of a guilty conscience, but out of loving desire. The wealthy loved Jesus until he started to talk about loving the poor (Luke 18:18-23.) In the gospels, Jesus spent far more time with the poor than with the rich. He exhorts us to give to the poor (Luke 12:33). It’s interesting that Paul records the other apostles only request of him to be that he remember the poor (Gal 2:10)

adds the following to make sure that you are missional in the biblical sense:

"One guideline I would add that is central to what it means to be truly 'missional' is a heart for the nations, a passion to see all peoples, tribes, and tongues worshipping Christ for eternity. Without this you're not really missional in the biblical sense."

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