Supposedly on blogs and such we can be open and honest and real. Right? Mmmmm….well maybe not entirely, but I will make a leap here none the less. I am kind of tired of the word missional. I am kind of tired of the phrase “being the presence of Christ.” I am frankly not very certain that either of these communicate what we want it to. Like so much other Christian lingo, it says something to those of us who are churched. On second thought, I am not sure it says something to those who are churched. It says something to those of us who keep up with the current terminology in church. This is disappointing to me because I think there are so many incredible examples of both out there. We hear the stories of those who do something that resonates with us numerically i.e. so many in Bible study, so many clothed or fed, so many houses built, so many communities transformed, so many churches started, so many baptisms, so much money given. These are great. Yet I don’t feel they wholly represent what it means to be missional or to be the presence of Christ. Let me share a few examples.
A small church in a small town has seven families from India move in. They decide to help them obtain green cards. Another small church in another small town has one Muslim family move in and they invite speakers to come and help them understand how to build a relationship with their new neighbors. A retired woman loves her Muslim women friends and wants others to share in her joy. So she arranges a tea that will bring Muslim and American women together helping them to become comfortable interacting. A family has a farm. They offer it to International students for a time away from the city. A retired woman has an apartment where she lives in Miami and she offers hospitality for several days to visitors from Iran.
I hear these stories. They bless me. They are missional. They are the presence of Christ. They are not programs. There are no numbers. But lives are forever altered because someone realized that Christ was asking them to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Now even in our smallest of towns, the nations of the world are present. Imagine! We have the privilege right where we are to be missional, to be the presence of Christ to the nations.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has eight mission communities. I facilitate the one concerning Internationals. In this next year of our off field assignment, my goal is to share stories of how God is using our people to welcome the nations with this community. Do you have a story to tell? I would love to hear it and I would love to share it.