What does MISSIONAL LIVING mean? That’s one of our new “Core Values” and it is important that we all start to get a feel for what it’s about.
First and foremost, we understand Missional Living to be an individual matter that begins in the heart of the believer. You have heard me on many occasions ask you, “What is it that breaks your heart when you see it?” Is it hunger, homelessness, poverty, oppression? Is it random violence, sexual crimes, racism? We believe Missional Living begins at that moment when the life of Jesus works within our hearts, sees an injustice or a tragedy and says, “I cannot sit quietly by and do nothing—I vow to do what I can.”
It is possible that you, as an individual, can make an impact. But isn’t it also true that together, we can accomplish so much more? So maybe the next step is to seek others who share your passion. Our church will be a partner in another Habitat For Humanity House this Fall. We will need 22 volunteers to work on a Saturday. Is this a place where you feel your heart tugged? To use your hands to build a home for a family that could never have a home any other way? You’ll have the chance to sign up, soon.
I noticed a story in this week’s Tennessean that the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church (East Tennessee) has partnered with A.S.P. (The Appalachian Service Project—an agency with Methodist DNA) and with Habitat For Humanity in order to rebuild the homes of many who lost them in the Gatlinburg Fire. That sort of creativity almost certainly began in the heart of one person who then sought out others and eventually engaged entire agencies to accomplish a goal. That would be a terrific example of Missional Living.
Here’s another example: Lily Wilson needed a project for her Gold Award in the Girl Scouts (the equivalent of the Eagle award in Boy Scouts). It’s a big deal and the leaders require a serious project. Lily’s heart was touched by the needs of school-aged children in our neighborhoods who wouldn’t have the proper supplies needed to succeed in school and so she conceived of the “Last Minute School Supply Store”. Fast forward from an idea to now Lily has over 300 children identified who need supplies and she enlisted the help of our church and others around the area to collect the needed supplies. It is a perfect example of what Missional Living can look like.
So by yourself, with two or three others, or with hundreds or even thousands—“What breaks your heart today?” Our goal is to ask each and every person connected with our church to be engaged in a mission in the coming months. You may never have been asked to be a part of one—get ready because you will be. Better yet, come see us and tell us what’s on your heart. Let us help you find the place you can serve.
At one of our cottage group meetings, one of you said this—“we need to come to the place where missions are not “events” in our church, but our reason for being.” That is better said than I could possibly say. Over the course of the next months, we will be looking for ways to engage each other to Live Missionally—precisely because it is our reason for being.