Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Field Guide for Everyday Mission Part 2 of 4: A Conversation with Jeff Vanderstelt Video and Quotes

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM GCM Collective Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities Everyday Mission

A Field Guide Conversation 2 of 4: Jeff Vanderstelt Video and Quotes

To read and watch the quotes and clip from the previous post:

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities
Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr. have written a book and created everydaymission.net that I don't want to just read through; I want to patiently soak in, apply, wash, rinse, and repeat the wisdom they've gained. And I want to take on this journey with others. Right now, A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel is sitting on my night stand, readto inspire and centralize my focus on following Jesus everyday by the power of His Word and His Holy Spirit. Potentially, this adventurous reading and living will be on the horizon for our City Groups with Emmaus City. For now, in a series of four posts filled with videos and quotes, there will be teasers for the book in how to dive into not only loving, knowing, and understanding Jesus, but also walking in His ways.


How did God lead you into missional living?


"I grew up in what was really an open household. My parents created the house in such a way that people could come in and live with us if they needed a place. ... Whenever there would be a need, we'd bring it to the dinner table and my dad would say, 'So should one of us give up our bedroom? Do one of you boys want to give up your room for a season because someone needs a place to live, a husband who got kicked out of his house, or a marriage is not doing well, or a kid who's not doing well with his family, or somebody just got out of prison and needs a place to land to help get started again  so that was a fairly normative thing for me growing up and I just assumed that was what life is like."

 "When the church doesn't expect normal every day Christians to be on mission in the every day life, then I think we've misunderstood the very nature of what it means to be God's people. ... How do we get everybody on the front line of mission? How do we lead a church in such a way that it becomes normative for everybody to believe that they're sent on mission in every day life?"

"At Christmas time, one of us would pick a family to bless that needed some extra care. We, as a family, would make everything for them  all their food, cookies, presents. And each one of us boys   I grew up in a family of four boys  we'd each go to the house to the door, knock on the door, and then share the gospel with them. 'Here's the reason we want to bless you because we've been so blessed.' Even in that, my dad was teaching us how to share the gospel in gift giving. I look back and think there were so many things growing up that were just infused with kind of a picture of the kingdom breaking into the world  though my parents could have never explained it that way."

What does living on mission look like for you?

"One of the things that's been important for us to recognize is that every aspect of our family's life is disciple making. So whether it's at the dinner table, bedtime routines, out doing work on the house, walking through the neighborhood, continually reminding my children that all of this is the ministry. All of this is the church on mission. What's been great is that I don't know that my kids have a dichotomy of 'That's church and this is home.' But rather this is church: We as a family on mission together. Helping them pray through the friends that they have that don't know Jesus. How are they going to share the gospel with them. Our kids all believe that our household is one of the best places for their friends to get introduced to Jesus. ... They know that that's the way their friends are going to come to know what it looks like to follow Jesus by being in our family with us, by having fun with us. They don't feel like they have to bring them to church to get that  'the church gathered'. They're not opposed to that, but they know that the best way to introduce their friends to Jesus is to have them hang out with their family."

"We talk a lot about how the best place to disciple our children is along the way. So there's a lot of time where we're stopping and talking about what just happened. And not only talking about what just happened, but having my children see they now can talk about it with somebody else. So trying not to only do it to them, but teach them how to do it to others. A good example of that would be I pray with my kids at bed time, each one of them and ask what they're learning, what God's showing them what's new, talk about what they need prayer for. And then I pray for them and ask them, 'Will you pray for (me)?' And so, at times they'll say, 'What do you need prayer for, Dad?' And they'll ask for prayer and then they'll pray for me. And they're learning how to pray for me in the same way I've been praying for them. ... Teaching them how to do it with us instead of us do it all to them. I think that's a key discipleship practice because if you only do it to people what you're training and you never ask them to do it back to you or to someone else, then you're not really going to train them how to make disciples."

What is one of your biggest missional failures? 

(07:55  10:35)


  "We tried to lead our people on mission without the Spirit of God, and without these fundamental truths of the gospel being the things that motivate them most. Then their motivation and their power were not Jesus and the Spirit, their motivation was me trying to inspire them and their power was their flesh. And they burned out. That's clearly the biggest mistake we made in leading people on mission."

"Isn't it crazy that Jesus Himself said, 'I can do nothing on my own' and His entire ministry was a Spirit-empowered ministry, and yet the Spirit of God is one of the least talked about topics in the Church? Especially in the missional movement of the church, you hardly ever hear people talk about the Holy Spirit. If Jesus couldn't do it without the Spirit, who do we think we are? It's interesting even in the canonical order you have Luke, John, Acts. We know Luke and Acts are a companion volume. When they put together the canon they felt it important to put John between Luke and Acts, and I think that's very intentional  because John's the one that has the most robust teaching on the Holy Spirit  chapters 14-16  I think it's the Church Fathers way of saying, 'Don't miss this.' If you're not careful, you'll read the narrative of Luke and you'll read the narrative of Acts and you'll definitely see the Spirit, but you need the teaching of the Spirit in the middle of it so we actually see what Jesus was saying about the Spirit. Because clearly the disciples knew. Jesus had taught them about the Spirit, so when it gets to Acts, they're expecting Him."

Why is living on mission so difficult? 

(10:37  12:25)

"I think some of the hardest things of living on mission are connected to personal ego and comfort. If you really are on mission in every day life, then people are in your stuff. And I think that's a good thing, but your flesh fights against that because you don't want people to know your brokenness that much. You don't want them to see you're weaker than they might have thought if they were further away. I think it calls you to daily death and so you're putting to death the flesh, which is the means to life, but we fight against it. I think that's the best thing about mission. It's the best place to be in to have to die ... It reveals your selfishness, it reveals your pride, it reveals your inadequacies. It's really discomforting in most cases to be on mission."

What is one of your favorite stories of everyday mission? 

(12:27  15:29)

"(Aim for) consistency in the same place over a long period of time. So go to the same restaurant over and over again. Get to know the owner and the waiters and waitresses ... Awesome story. Definitely check out this 3-minute segment of the video."

Who did God send on mission to you? 

(15:31  20:45)

"If Jesus is going to show up in the form of a little baby, and He's going to show up in a place He doesn't get recognized, then I think we should pay attention to the fact that that's probably how He's going to show up in every day life. And so it can be at a restaurant by just tipping a waiter or waitress, it can be an older woman praying for a rebellious kid, it can be a pastor that watches you play soccer and encourages you at the end of the game. Those things are things that everybody can do. It can be a meal that you make, it can be you creating your home as a really wonderful place where your kids can bring their friends and they love to hang out, it can be getting down and playing sports with your kids' friends  it's all those moments. And I think when Christians embrace that, and really embody the gospel in those moments, that's when I think our cities will change."  

Father, love us. Jesus, lead us. Spirit, embolden us. 
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