When I reflected on the value, “Missional Living” my immediate thought was of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17: 16-34, putting himself at risk and going out and preaching the gospel in a foreign land.
This may not be for all of us. I am certainly not someone who has the gift of preaching nor am I prone to taking risks? In fact, I deliberately steered away from becoming a teacher when I left school. Yet throughout my life, I have often found myself drawn into the role of teacher and mentor. With experience I have become more comfortable in this role which generally involves walking along side of someone, listening to their story, drawing on my experience, supporting their growth and gaining pleasure from our shared learning experience.
In his last sermon at GWAC, Drew used the analogy of a relay race. When I listened to Drew, I sensed that missional living is like a relay for Jesus Christ and our role is to pass on the baton, the good news of Jesus Christ, to others. We are all running in different races whether at home, at work, at school, playing sport or in hobby groups. We all have many opportunities to pass on the good news of Jesus. What we choose to do and the way we choose to do it generally determines our effectiveness. The challenge today is to move out of our comfort zones and to share the good news of Jesus wherever we are, as we are instructed in Matthew 28, verse 18, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…..”.
As I have reflected on the values and the daily Bible readings over the past 4 weeks, it occurred to me that there is a reason for “Missional Living” being last. It is last because we can only live a missional life if it is underpinned by the other three values:
we must first encounter Jesus and be transformed by God’s word;
we require the prayerful support of others; and
it requires us to be radically generous, in terms of our gifts, our time, our prayers, our encouragement, and support in the service of others.
During the envisioning process when I was facilitating a session the following elements were identified and discussed as requirements for missional living;
It is intentional;
We need to start wherever the other person is on their journey with Christ;
We need to rely on God to equip us with the skills and the words necessary just as he equipped the Apostles in Acts 2; 1-41 when the Holy Spirit descended on them and they began to speak in different languages so that every nation might hear the good news of Jesus.
We need to be open to opportunities to serve others that may arise during our conversations or activities.
In one of the daily Bible readings, Luke 10: 2-3 Jesus said when sending out the 72; “2. The harvest is plentiful, but workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field. 3. Go I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”
When I reflected on this passage I realised we can all find opportunities to be workers in God’s harvest field by our everyday actions where we serve others and share God’s word, whether it be over a morning coffee, over a meal, at school, at sport or in hobby groups. One way of identifying how we might work in God’s harvest field is to challenge ourselves with the question, “What would bring the greatest glory to Jesus in this situation”?
The dream I have for GWAC, is that GWAC becomes a “beacon of hope” because the Glen Waverley community understand that the “light on the hill” is in fact a reflection of God’s love for the GWAC community which is reflected back out into the community of Glen Waverley through:
what GWAC does as a community;
the way we do it as a community; and
how we relate with one another as a community.
So, as we move into the next phase of the envisioning process I encourage you to prayerfully consider how we might translate the themes developed during the first phase of the envisioning process into more concrete, sustainable actions and what role/s you might play in that process.