I think some of us believe in “missions” or the act of being on mission, but many of us are complete failures at it. Mostly, I believe, because we fail to give mission time to mature. We are too busy to be on mission for Jesus because we are on mission for ourselves. We live in a society that is impatient, and selfish, unwilling to invest in a place or city. We are more concerned about what is next that we miss the value of the NOW.
See, living on mission takes time. Maybe I could say it differently, living on mission is according to the Holy Spirit’s timetable, not your own. You never know when it’s going to occur. One of the errors the local church has experienced in recent generations is to confuse mission with an event you tack onto your already busy life. Mission should be the way we live, not something we add onto life.
Look at two places the Bible speaks about this:
– As you go, make disciples. . . (Mt. 28:19)
– Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:2-6)
One of my favorite books from last year was from James Hunter who says we should be “faithful present” in our city, or wherever we are. I LOVE that! Often, the key to living on mission is being present where God has planted you! As an aside, this may also be in your family. Just being in the same room is not the same as being present. Being present involves engagement wherever you are. (Putting phone away, exiting off social media, turning the TV off, etc.)
So, in coming to Bellville, we set out to explore how we could serve and be present in this city. One of the ways was to make myself a “regular” at a local bakery/coffee shop where people in the city gather. It’s one of the easiest strategies to being on mission: Be a Regular. Being a regular is simply me trying to have a “Cheer’s Moment.” You know what I’m talking about? It’s walking in and people know you by name. It’s happened at the local meat market, but you don’t just go there and hang out – that’s weird. They know me by name because I like red meat, and spend money.
Well, the other day, I had my Cheer’s Moment at the bakery by way of a gift.
This mug is from Newman’s Bakery. Not many people have a mug like this with their name on it. Few in fact. But the other day, the owner of the shop pulled me aside and with tears in his eyes said, “Welcome to the group.” I’m living on mission. People are welcoming me into this city… and I’m grateful. Being a regular is opening doors for me to share the gospel. The gospel matters very much to me, and it should to you too – but we cannot give the gospel until others see that we care enough to know them. And because we know them, we are given the opportunity to share the gospel.
Where can you be a regular today? Living on mission takes time, so go, be a regular.