As I think more about missional living and missional ecclesiology. The problem many of us have is, “How do we get started? What do we do?” I’m not sure, either, but I think there may be a good place to start: Avoid Christians!
I’m serious about this. Since I’m professional clergy, I spend most of my time with other Christians, so this might be a little easier for me to say, but the problem with many of us Christians is that we hang out so much with each other. And it doesn’t take a genius to understand that if we’re never around non-Christians then we are going to have a hard time understanding and hearing their stories, finding out what God is up to in their lives and being the message of Jesus to them. So here are some hopefully helpful tips:
- Choose the non-Christian option. Deliberately opt out of the Christian alternatives. For example, find a regular summer camp to do instead of or in addition to church camp for your children to go to, one with sports or other interest, be a chaperone and seek those who need the message of Jesus.
- Re-ignite your high school passion. If you were in band or drama in high school or college, pick-up the trombone again or dust off your acting chops and join the community band or theater group in order to meet new people.
- Spend time in your yard. Hang out in your yard, get to know your neighbors, take your kids for walks around the blocks and stop and talk to your neighbors, there’s no telling what God will do.
- Join a league or a team. Go bowling – or whatever you’re interested in – every week with the same people and be God’s kingdom representative there.
- Take a class. Where I live in Katy,the local community college offers dance classes and other interest classes where new people can be met and new relationship can be formed.
- Start a club. It can be a book club, running or cycling club, whatever you’re into someone else is into it too.
- Do your reading at the coffee shop. Just don’t do it at my coffee shop – Port City Java – that place is crawling with Christians already.
- Leave church. Choose seasons to lesson your activity at church to intentionally spend time with those away from church. Seriously
This is not an exhaustive list, just something to infuse your own missional imagination. I want to also add that we Christians need to get better at balancing these kinds of intentional relationships and our urge to “witness.” I’m not sure how to do that either, but maybe you do.