As Immanuel, we desire everyone not only to enjoy the gospel, but to live lives of service and mission, so that others can also enjoy the gospel and its wonderful benefits. We are told to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. After Jesus rose from the dead, He commissioned all believers not only to observe all that He commanded, but to make disciples who do the same! These passages depict God’s heart for the role of the church in the world. This mission — a way of life for followers of Jesus — results in building a community from all cultures where Christ is King. The following are principles of living on mission as we reach out and advance Christ’s kingdom.
Principles of Being On Mission:
Make mission a lifestyle, not a series of “events”
Sadly, a lot of people consider ‘making disciples’ to be an event or going to a church building to participate in some “event”. Although these programmed events serve their purpose, we believe that living on mission should affect everything we do. If you live in ‘this’ neighborhood, work at ‘that’ job, and participate in ‘these’ things, then it really is in ‘this,’ ‘that,’ and ‘these’ places that God desires us to be His people on mission, both proclaiming and displaying His gospel! Wherever we find ourselves, we can pray and ask God to provide opportunities and stamina to be advancing his kingdom. As Immanuel, we ask ourselves, ‘If I don’t bring the gospel to my neighbors, friends, workplace, and other places I go, then who will?’ If you feel overwhelmed, then you’re in the right place. God gives grace to the humble!
Be intentional with your current relationships
Each of us interacts with people every day. We each have family, friends, employers, co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates, or team members that we relate to on a daily basis. Imagine if you were more intentional in listening to, eating with, and simply enjoying their company more often in hopes of proclaiming and displaying the gospel to them in tangible ways. God calls us to be in others’ lives for the long haul; to be prayerfully intentional in proclaiming the gospel. Ask yourself the question, “Is anyone asking me for the hope that I have?” If not, then we encourage you to be intentional with those around you in sharing and displaying who Jesus really is! When you do have others asking questions, provide them with answers, spend time with them, ask them to have a bible study, to visit your gospel community group, or to come to our Sunday morning gatherings.
Find ways to cultivate new relationships
If you lack such natural relationships with those around you or want to have more influence for the gospel, then consider these ideas for cultivating new relationships. Remember it’s not about adding something new to your schedule, but about making your current schedule intentional in advancing the gospel.
- Walk across the street to introduce yourself to your neighbors and begin a new friendship.
- Host parties on the holidays and invite your neighbors.
- Volunteer with your kids’ sports teams and meet the players and their families.
- Repent and ask God to change you from being self- absorbed.
- Participate in various city sports leagues with other Christian friends.
- Enjoy walks in your neighborhood and introduce yourself to your neighbors.
- Invite other neighborhood moms to a park day or walking for exercise.
- Participate in city events: volunteer to serve or at- tend in the hope of meeting people.
- Join your neighborhood association and participate in their activities
- Invite needy people to stay in your home.
- Be a regular at local businesses, coffee shops, an restaurants and get to know the employees and other regulars.
- Volunteer with local organizations that do good in your area.
- Enjoy your hobbies with others by starting a group or attending an existing one.
- Attend lectures, discussion groups, or book clubs, taking part in the conversations.
- Attend the Apartment Complex gatherings if you live in an apartment
- Host regular and creative events in your apartment complex and invite everyone to come (basketball games, Saturday morning breakfast times, game nights, etc).
Listen and speak meaningfully
One of the best ways to be on mission is to listen well and speak the gospel in ways that make sense and apply directly to others’ situations. Everyone has an opinion about the origins of the world (creation), the problems of the world (fall), the solution to the world’s problems (redemption), and what the world would be like if those solutions were realized (new creation). Its our job to listen and understand how they think about these issues and then to speak boldly about how the Scriptures give us the true and big picture of ourselves and the world around us. In order to do this, we need to testify to God’s story, so they can make sense of their own story.
Take some risks
The life Jesus calls us to is hard, yet exciting. It requires great sacrifices, yet offers profound rewards. Being a disciple and making disciples is God’s calling for every believer. It’s quite easy to be busy with ‘Christian things’ we find easy and controllable. At times we even excuse ourselves from advancing God’s kingdom because we’re gifted at other things. Nonetheless, God calls every believer to ‘Go’ and make disciples. There is nothing easy about it, and quite frankly it is risky. God doesn’t require you to know everything, he requires you to trust him to will and to work through you for his good pleasure and then to walk by faith in the good works he prepared beforehand for you (Phil 2:13, Eph 2:10). Brothers and sisters, take some risks, speak up, be bold, and love others for the sake of advancing the gospel! As you do, take heart, God has promised, ‘ “I’m with you even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).
Partner with our Gospel Community Groups
It is possible that pursing a life on mission means a radical reorientation of your way of life and it may be a daunting task! Whatever the case, you’re not alone. As Immanuel, we encourage everyone to be a part of our Gospel Community Groups which provide community, care, and partnership as we live a life on mission together. Being on mission doesn’t mean being a lone ranger; instead, it can mean partnering with others to be on mission together. As you think through the principles of living on mission, consider ways you can do these things together with your brothers and sisters. If you’re weak in the area of mission, then tell your Gospel Community Group and ask to partner with those already on mission. Watch, talk through, and learn from the examples of each other. Additionally, there may be ways the whole Gospel Community Group can partner together to live on mission. Consider these examples:
- Plan a time together at a park to eat and play with each other and friends you’re trying to reach with the gospel
- Plan a holiday party and ask community group members to join you in hosting the party and meeting your neighbors
- If needs arise among your neighbors, ask your group to help serve in meeting the need
- If friends of a group members began inquiring about Christianity, invite them to the group so they can see Christians loving each other
- Host a Bible study