One of the great challenges each Christian faces is learning how to live out his/her faith in such a way that he/she continually on mission. Relegating our mission involvement to periodic short term “mission trips” is just not enough. Most believers long for more and desire to let their lives be an example of Christian mission, but have difficulty in knowing where to start. How can we be on mission in our neighborhoods? How can we be on mission at work or at school? Where are some places where we can cultivate relationships with people who are far from God with the hopes of bringing them closer to God? I want to share ten practical ways to help us come closer to living on mission in our everyday lives.
1. Have lunch with people who are un-churched – One of the quickest and most disarming ways to get to know someone is over a meal. There is something about sharing a meal with someone that breaks down barriers quickly. Look at the number of times in the gospels that Jesus ate with people. This can be a very strategic ministry time.
2. Walk your Neighborhood – One of the best ways to get to know your neighbors is to get out and walk the neighborhood in the evenings. This activity is particularly strategic in the summer as people are outside more. What can begin with casual waves and hellos, can quickly turn into to “get to know you” conversations the more you are seen in the neighborhood. You can be on mission in your neighborhood and get healthy too.
3. Participate in Hobbies with un-churched people – If you’re a ball player, fisherman, hunter or a gamer, find a way to join up with un-churched people who enjoy doing the same things you enjoy. For instance, if you love playing softball, join a city league instead of a church league. If you’re a fisherman, find ways to strike up conversations about fishing with men/women along the river. Start with something you both love.
4. Spend time with co-workers – How well do you know those with whom you spend a lot of your day. Find ways to interact with your co-workers, whether it’s through inviting them to lunch, taking breaks together, or inviting them to hang out after work. The more conversations you can have with your co-workers and the more they get to know you, the more opportunities you’ll have to share the gospel with them when the opportunity arises.
5. Get involved in your kid’s activities – One of the best ways to interact with un-churched people is through your kids’ activities. Whether your kids play sports, or are in the band, or any number of other activities, get to know the other kids’ parents. You already have the common ground of your kids sharing the same activity, so those become great relationship starters.
6. Do Neighborhood cookouts around holidays – This activity might be more conducive to the spring, summer, and fall holidays, but holidays provide a great way to get the neighbors together to eat and hang out. Go up and down the street and invite your neighbors to all gather at your house for food and relaxation and just take over the whole street.
7. Serve your neighbors – There are any number of ways that we can serve our neighbors and be a great help and example to them. In the summer, mow your neighbor’s yard. In the fall rake your neighbor’s leaves. If you love to bake or cook, take food to your neighbors for no other reason than to show them you want to be a blessing.
8. Get involved in your city’s social organizations – Another way to build relationships with un-churched people and help your city as well is to become a part of your city’s social organizations. Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club are great organizations in which you can connect with other city leaders. Non-profit organizations are always looking for help and are great ways to connect with people. Joining up with people who care about the things you care about is always a good recipe for mission.
9. Volunteer in the local school system – Local schools are great places to serve and volunteer. Whether you get involved with the PTA, after school tutoring, or just serve as a room parent; serve the school. This gives you an opportunity to build relationships with teachers, students, and the students’ families as well. The local school provides great opportunities for mission.
10. Become a regular – Find a place that you love and visit it often. These “Third Places” can be gyms, coffee houses, restaurants, book stores, etc. . . . Get to know the people who work there and also the other regulars that love the place you love. Create a place where everybody knows your name.
It goes without saying that these are just a few ways to create opportunities in our every day patterns of life for mission. If you want to do some more reading in this area, I recommend Right Here, Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People by Alan Hirsch and Lance Ford. If we go through each day with eyes wide open and minds attuned to God through prayer, opportunities will open up. The disciples prayed for boldness in Acts 4:28, may we have the courage to pray the same prayer. God give each of us boldness to live on mission.
David McClung is a Church Planting Strategist on the Church Planting team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He served on the Evangelism and Church Growth Team for 4 ½ years prior to joining the Church Planting Team and served churches in Arkansas and Texas before joining the ABSC. He and his wife Christy live in Sherwood, AR. with their four children.