What does it mean to live missionally? Author and mom, Helen Lee, takes a compelling look at the Christian’s call to missional living. Why live missionally or have a mission-oriented mindset? Because Christ did it and he calls us to follow in his footsteps.
I recently discussed Lee’s “The Missional Mom” with a small group of women from my church. After reading Chapter 1, however, it was clear to me that this book is not just for moms. This book is for any Christian who seriously desires to actively take the gospel to all nations. Missional living begins in our homes, extends to our neighborhoods, and hopefully to other areas of influence and beyond.
Unfortunately, the practical call to missional living is not often addressed in the church. In addition to the “Mommy Wars” concerning what women, particularly mothers, should be and do, the church takes on friendly fire from brothers and sisters who senselessly argue whether it is more important to “preach the Word” or “practice justice (ex. be the hands and feet of Christ to the lost world is what some equate to missional living).” It is my strong conviction that God calls us to intentionally do both as complements to each other. Yet, we must keep the proper prospective in our lives.
Lee reminds us that, as Christians, “our primary calling is to be with God (20).” Being with God, knowing and loving him must be our priority in life.
Missional living simply means that we respond to our second calling presented by Lee and spoken by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
These two callings work in partnership so that we can effectively live out the Great Commission as stated by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
There you have it, Missional Living embraces our:
Primary Call: To be in intimate and fellowship relationship with God.
Secondary Call: Love God and love your neighbors.
Who is my neighbor? Answer that question with a relevant example, here.
Missional Call: Make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey the Lord.
So, if you want to know what it means to live missionally? Look to Jesus’ earthly ministry as presented in four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The gospels reveal that “[Jesus] was on a mission to redeem all of Creation; our God is a missional God (pg 22).”
As mothers, it is important to keep the proper perspective of how our relationships (especially those with our children) “intersect with the bigger picture of our primary calling and mission (pg 23).” As Christians, we all need to be reminded of this truth.
When we reflect on the life of Jesus, we see that missional living is not easy. Lee reminds us that we must intentionally resist cultural pressures, engage the needs of the world and advocate on behave of the least of these among us (practice justice), take discipleship seriously, and cultivate a community of mission-minded people in our families, churches, and among our friends because God requires that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8).
Are you living missionally? How have you expressed love for God or neighbor this week?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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A Word from Author Helen Lee – What It means to be a Missional Mom
One Woman with One Voice – Shayne Moore
2 thoughts on “Natasha’s Study: Missional Living”
Good stuff, Natasha.
Last week I taught “missions” to about thirty 3 and 4 year olds each morning at VBS. We talked about Graffiti 2 Community Ministries’ Andrew Mann and his “missionary dog” Proof in NYC, Chris and Melody Julian and the ZOE Church in Sao Paulo – Brazil, and the IMB’s Fusion group. The thing that most struck the preschoolers (aside from the ZOE Church baptizing new followers in a blow-up pool in a backyard) was that a dog might be a missionary. The key was obedience. Simply put to the preschoolers: if we do what God asks us to do, He can use us as missionaries. . . anywhere, everywhere. We have to be willing to love others and boldly tell others about Jesus. Perhaps that’s simplifying it, but I believe it’s pretty clear and eliminates any disputes about politics, etc. It’s what were supposed to do, and each person’s mission field will be uniquely situated by our God.
(I think some of the disputes come when we start trying to frame some mission fields as more worthy or important than others.)
I’d love to hear more from other moms on what cultural pressures/influences they find that are perhaps robbing them of blessings they might otherwise experience! The cultural pressures/influences can be tricky since some of them are so ingrained in our society.
Emily, Loving others and boldly telling them about Jesus is indeed a simple truth that we all should live by.
Reach out to some moms and get them dialoging here as I too would love to discuss the cultural pressures/influences that are robbing us of blessings we might otherwise experience. I see a clear tie in between Helen’s challenge and those presented by Tripp in “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.”
The challenges of cultural influence is ringing everywhere in my ears these days. The problem (as I see it) is that Christians have not stepped out to boldly speak and live the gospel as God commands. We are not the influencers that we are called to be – salt and light, city on a hill, etc. Rather we have consciously or subconsciously accepted the many lies and deceit presented by the culture. Now is time to engage as a peculiar people.