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The Path Less Traveled is a teaching series of Society Church where we will be learning about how to live a life of worship for God.
Engaging in Mission as Worship is to be our response to the Mercy of God.
Because our worship stems from a VIEW of the mercy of God, one of our paths of worship is to live on mission in our everyday rhythms of life. As we experience his love, it propels us out to share that love with others, sharing the good news of the gospel in any and everyway we can find.
Jesus said it this way in Acts 1:8-
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The church is meant to be a Community of individuals on Mission: Alan Hirsch a modern missiologist, church planter and missional movement catalyst writes about this “Missional, Incarnational” Impulse of the church, the church sneezing outward and digging in deep. Going towards a people (feeling called or compelled to an un-reached people group or individual) and then contextualizing the gospel to those people, learning their culture, language, prefferences, idols, views and values and finding a way to present the gospel in a way they can understand,
The church is God’s primary mission strategy in the world. Our strategy must be to litter the world with communities of light pointing the world to Christ.
So how do we practice this way of worship, this way of mission?
7 thoughts about how to live on mission:
1. Removing Stereotypes and Stumbling blocs
One of the reasons that I don’t like being addressed or identified as a pastor is that it tends to cause people to immediately place certain stereotypes on me that can hinder the opportunity to build any relational trust. People will sometimes avoid me, or intentionally avoid any form of meaningful conversation out of a fear that I will somehow flip it to, you should come to church, or did you know Jesus said…
If anything is a hindrance to people being introduced to Jesus, then it must be disposed of. Yes, the cross offends; Christ crucified will always be a stumbling block. But we must remove every other offense. We must do all we can to live in a way that exposes and manifests the true nature of the cross.
2. Moving from Programs & Projects, to People
At the heart of this mission strategy are not services, courses, programs, and activities but ordinary lives lived for God’s glory.
Evangelistic programs used to be much more effective than they are today because of the secularization of Society. People are highly unlikely to come to any form of evangelistic gathering, let alone a program where they know you will be talking about scriptural based truths.
Evangelistic projects are not ones that are widely embraced by the 50-85% of population that has no interest or does not see any value in being a part of a church community.
3. Step into a place of living on mission everyday
But when we make our lives about people, not relying on a program, a project, a tract, or a script it makes us much more vulnerable. When mission becomes about our neighbors, friends, or people you see during your regular rhythms of life, it becomes much more difficult. That means its about the people that know you, that see your flaws, shortcomings, and frustrations. This is the way we will reach a post-Christian culture with authenticity, vulnerability led by the spirit of God to be a witness to the light of life.
Tim Chester from Everyday Church points out
“Notice where mission takes place: in the neighborhood, in the workplace, in the home—not so much in the meetings of the church. We reach a hostile world by living good lives in the context of ordinary life. Everyday mission. “
4. Make your life an evangelistic event
Tim Chester goes on to point out
“It is easy to get intimidated by the likes of brilliant Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Christopher Hitchens, or a colleague or friend going on about the stupidity of Christians. How do you silence them? By doing good. “Faced by critics who want to moch and criticize? Don’t answer back, just act 1 Peter 2:15 tells us: ‘for it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men’ . . . The truly Christian way of winning a good reputation for the gospel is for the local church to begin thinking seriously about what practical good can be done in its local community.”
Part of the reason most of our community groups meet in Cafes is to be the church amongst people in there everyday lives. To not hide away our faith and Christian Community but to carry the light of the gospel amidst the culture that surrounds us. The context for this gospel-centered community and mission is not events but ordinary, everyday living.
5. Consider the cost of living on mission
Living on mission will not make you the most popular person in your neighborhood, school, or bar.
We have become strangers because we have become strange! Our values, lifestyle, and priorities are radically different from the surrounding culture. Our faith makes us strangers in our own land. We do not fit in. We are pushed towards the margins of society, just as Jesus was. Marginalized
6. Establish common ground with others first
We must develop discernment to adopt, reject or repurpose cultural views and values because there are some things that should be affirmed within any culture and we must find common ground before digging into differences.
Tim Keller in Center Church teaches an important observation that,
“ALL CULTURE IS MIXED- there are some things in every culture that through Gods common grace that roughly approximate what the Bible says to do.”
There are many things within a culture that are also wrong, false, erroneous and potentially damaging.
Principle of Affirming A doctrines vs. B doctrines:
A doctrines- Things the Bible says that culture will agree with
B doctrines- Things in the Bible that the culture will hate, because they disagree with it.
In order to share B doctrines we must lead with an affirm A doctrines and then when appropriate show and explain how A doctrines & B doctrines are linked together.
7. Become a student of culture
We need to rediscover or relearn the culture. We need to get to know our neighborhood, its people, and their stories, values, worldview, and culture. If we do not spend the time to listen we will not be given the time to talk.
Ask questions, listen to answers. Be available to talk with, slow down and make time for people. Help people process through life.