A few months ago, I got a DM from a reader asking me this very question: “What are some ways I can be on mission when I’m not in ministry?”
The question stopped me in my tracks. What a thought-provoking but also very real question. It was such a humbling question and one I really wanted to spend time thinking about before sending back some off-the-cusp or canned answer. It really challenged me – in a good but also somewhat uncomfortable way.
That being said, I thought it would be an excellent topic to bring to the blog. My hope is that this post will get the conversation started, but I’d love to hear what y’all think and get a real dialogue going here via the comments.
But I feel like before we can even talk about how to be “on mission” in our non-ministry lives, we’ve got to first look at what it even means to be on a mission in general? Like, what are we even talking about? What mission? And where did we get the notion that we need to be on a mission?
What Does It Mean To Be “On Mission”?
The question begs a few other questions. First of all, what does it mean to be on mission and where do we get the notion that we even need to be?
I’m sitting here trying to put this into words and I’m really struggling – there’s just so much to say. But I’m going to force myself to give it a shot. Basically, as Christians, we know and get the experience the abundant, joyful life that comes from knowing the good news of Jesus Christ. We’ve heard the Gospel (which literally means “good news”) and we’re called to share the joy (and news!) we’ve found in Christ. This is also more formally known as “The Great Commission” or command Jesus gives to all his followers in Matthew 28:
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
The mission is to introduce people to Jesus, disciple them to become like Christ and teach them how to repeat the process with someone else. Put simply, the answer to the question we’re addressing in this blog post is this: to Live on mission is simply to live your life with a conscious intention of sharing the good news of the Gospel with your little corner of the world.
I want to emphasize, though, that this is not a calling or “commission” for a select group of “upper tier Christians” (**air quotes**) who give up everything for God. Nope!
The truth is that if you are a follower of Christ, your life has a mission.
Our context for living out this mission may not be across the world, but the mission is the same. We are missionaries of the every day! A life on mission means that the gospel intersects with our everyday activities and routines. With the Spirit of God within you, you bring life and peace to everyone you come into contact with because you carry the message and hope of freedom! Read that again – do you believe it?! (Call me crazy, but I’m like jumping out of my seat as I type this because it’s just so exciting and encouraging!)
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “…Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” In all that we do, we can bring glory to His name! Living out mission in your everyday life matters because in all that you do, you can bring glory to the name of God. Literally, ALL that you do – I love thinking about what this means in a practical and literal sense. It could mean waiting in life for coffee, checking out at Nordstrom, or even in the way we interact with our coworkers at work – I could keep going.
So let’s bring it back in.
How Do We Apply This To Our HERE & NOW?
Before the call to pack our bags and head to far-off locales, how can we live “on mission” in our present communities? I’m not talking only within official church settings, but in barre class, coffee shops, book clubs, and dog parks. Not just at our favorite hangouts either, but ON the job, AT school, and IN our homes.
Pastor and author David Platt says there’s no better way to spend our days than to think intentionally: “How can I make the Good News known in the context of relationships that God has given me right where I live…living for what’s going to matter not just 10 minutes or 10 days or 10 months from now, but 10 billion years from now based on what I do this week?”
Turns out it’s more doable than you might think. But before I share a handful of practical ways to be “on mission” on any given day in your hometown, let’s talk motives.
Motives & Being on Mission
The desire to be used by God to increase His kingdom must—must—overflow from our love relationship with Him. We should be careful to not make the idea of mission our God. In other words, don’t get more excited about bringing people to Jesus than Jesus Himself. For the doer and the box-checker-offer, this can be hard. But the gospel message is this: Jesus already did everything to bring us into relationship with Him. His heartbeat is to be worshipped by all peoples and He is going to do that through a relationship with YOU that overflows into the lives of those around you. Be rooted in a relationship with Him, and God will drive the mission. So start there.
6 Practical Ways To Be On Mission In Everyday Life
Now that we’ve established that “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19), how can we saturate our little nooks with the gospel, through both actions and words? How can we create situations where we can share God’s heart for people?
If we think about how Jesus lived his life, he did it with other people. He worked, ate, drank, traveled, and lived among people intentionally. His life and his mission were not separate. What are the things you do everyday? Redeem the everyday moments of your life. You eat approximately 21 meals a week – grab someone who needs the hope of the gospel in their life and invite them to lunch! Invite others into the everyday moments of your life and use them to learn about the person in front of you. Know their needs, serve them, bless them, love them like Jesus.
God tells Abraham in Genesis 12 that He would bless the socks off Abraham and make his name great. Why? So others could be blessed through Him. Guess what friend? The same is true for you friend. Use the blessings God gives you to be a blessing to everyone around you. So how do we do this? Practically speaking, we can pray for others, listen to their stories, hear their needs, serve them, build relationships with them over a meal, tell them about how Jesus has changed your life. You will start to see and care for people in a more intentional way when your focus turns to caring for the needs of others that you interact with in your daily life.
Invest in People
Mission is about relationship. When we live on mission and bring others into a relationship with God, there’s an opportunity for discipleship. This kind of investment is REALLY about relationship. We need each other to grow and learn more about Jesus in the context of community. He has wired us for COMMUNITY. We can teach others what we know about Jesus, challenge each other, encourage one another, be refined together, and learn to act more like the image of God we were created to be. Investing in the lives of other people in discipleship is mission and mission is discipleship.
Rely on the Holy Spirit
Want to know the secret to living a life on mission? Relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us into God’s will. . When we submit our day full of activities to the Holy Spirit and obey his direction, he will transform your life AND the lives you come across. The Spirit gives us direction, wisdom, and guidance so ask the Spirit who to talk to, where to go, what to say. The Spirit is given to help you out so just ask!
Schedule margin each day
This is a tough one. Who has time for an extended conversation? A new friend? A meal for a neighbor? The thing is, a mission-minded person doesn’t exist for herself, but for others. She sets aside personal preferences and is willing to be put-out, inconvenienced, and uncomfortable. Jesus’s ministry looked this way. People everywhere were stopping, touching, begging, and questioning Him—all the time. Seems overwhelming? It is! But what you feel unequipped to do today, God will equip you to do tomorrow.
Go where the people are
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, folks. People in our communities are already gathering for one reason or another. Go to where they are and do like Jesus: bring the better wine. (John 2:10) This could mean figuratively, and you bring your grace, your listening ear, your search for commonality, your sincere compliments, and your time. Or it could mean straight-up good wine—ha! And as you build credibility and relationships, the day will come for boldness in sharing the Gospel. And when this day comes, let the words of Jesus from the Great Commission be your everything: “And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)
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