Want to be missional? First - I know it’s quite the buzz word, by it I simply mean living with a bent towards always being on mission for God, aiming to always overflow with God’s good news in word and deed. Living with this bent towards joining God in what He is doing in your neighbourhood, what he is doing right around you where you live, work, play, church, go to school, go to the grocery store… So want to be missional? Spot the needs around you.
One way to notice spots where we (you, your family, your housemates, your youth group, your church) can join God in His good work is to notice the needs around us.
Become inquisitive of the needs around you – both blatant and hidden needs. Where is there poverty of spirit, of relationships, of priorities, of finances, of food, of community, of hope, of support…
Statistics are part of the story – what are the stats telling you for your community? Things like demographics, literacy rates, food bank usage, homelessness, unemployment, and graduation rates.
Every stat represents a person, a story.
When I was first moving to Saint John about six years ago I met a young man, in his teen years, at a community meal and as we were chatting I asked him, “I’m moving to Saint John, what’s good about it, what should I know about it?” The young man began by explaining where in the city I could go each day of the week for either lunch or supper. To him, that was the highest priority, the most important thing I could know about my new city. I suddenly realized his reality, he was a face, a real story of the stats I’d heard of poverty in my new city. He was just one of the stories behind the number of meals served in that church each week. I’ve enjoyed how God has allowed this young man’s story and my story to intersect as we have both been changed by God’s grace over community meals and fellowship together. Each stats has a face and story.
Leaders, get to know stories behind the needs, behind the statistics.
One day, when there was a large crowd around Jesus, a women who had been bleeding for 12 years, touched Jesus in the crowd and was healed (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus knew something had happened, but He didn’t know who had been affected, He hadn’t seen the face or heard the story of the person behind the drive-by healing (actually, walk-by healing). It was not enough that she was just one of the crowd, one of the stats. Jesus wanted to hear her story - for her to know his personal care, she wasn’t just a number, He wanted to see her face, look in her eyes, and know her name.
Leaders, get to know some of the stories behind the needs, behind the statistics in your community and church.
God will show you how you might become a part of each other stories. How together you might fully live out God’s Kingdom come to earth as it is in heaven, how you might be good news to each other.
You, your family, your group, your church cannot meet all the needs. But which needs, which stories are you hearing most often? Which are sticking with your heart and mind? How can you start showing and telling God’s good news to those with similar stories and needs? And it’s always ok to start with just one in God’s mustard seed Kingdom.