Tuesday, April 19, 2016

City Notes 25: A Field Guide for Everyday Mission Part 1 of 3

City Notes 25: Books in 30 minutes or less

City Notes are more than a book review. They are meant to provide you with direct quotes from some books I've read in the last year, so you can get a taste of the overall theme of the book and then begin to chew on what your life might look like if you applied what you read. 

Here are links to the previous City Notes books:

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

Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr. wrote A Field Guide to Everyday Mission, and created everydaymission.net as a companion piece, a couple years ago. I didn't just read this book. I patiently soaked in it at first and begin to apply some of it. Then I came back to it to wash in the Scriptures. Then I rinsed, repeated the wisdom they've shared, and I'm still learning how to continue to walk this journey with Jesus and others.

I've met both Ben and Bob and they are legit. Both are humble, faithful men who God has gifted greatly, and I greatly appreciate their words of wisdom and action here. For this post, I'm including the 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel that are included in the book alongside the main themes and verses that help shape these actions in walking along the Way with Jesus. As Tim Chester wrote about this book, "It will show you what everyday mission can actually look like. Not every one of their 101 ideas will apply in your situation, but many of them will." May many of the ways that do apply to your life inspire you to pray and participate in the mission of God to redeem, restore, and renew the world around you as you trust that Jesus is and will one day complete His work to make all things new.

Everyday Mission Ways 1-32: Why Should We Even Care and Who Is My Everyday Mission Field?

Question 1: Why should we even care?

Answer 1: We care because God saved us and gives us a new identity. 

Scripture 1: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

(1) Fix broken things: Jesus saw blindness and other disabilities as symbolic of spiritual brokenness; we can too. Pick up trash, paint fences, help a neighbor with rehab, or clean a park.
(2) Be generous: Sacrifice your time, money, and resources for the good of others. This echoes the generosity, sacrifice, grace, and initiation God first showed you.
(3) Back up your ministry with your message: Be aware how the work of the gospel is echoed in your cleaning, fixing, renewing, and serving. Be willing to explain when asked.

Answer 2: We care because God specifically sends us.
Scripture 2: Matthew 28:16-20

(4) Build relationships: Stories get deeper, trust is built, and needs are expressed, only as relationships get stronger. Make time, ask questions, and visit often. Share your story and remember as they share theirs.
(5) Take  or teach – a class or lessons: Do adult education, cooking, fitness, art, or whatever you're passionate about. If there's no class offered in an area of your skill or passion, start one.
(6) Don't forgo Christian practices in not-yet-believers' presence: Speak truth. Encourage, exhort, or rebuke others in love, as you normally would. Demonstrate the difference your faith makes.

Answer 3: We care because mission is an act of worship.
Scripture 3: Romans 11:33-12:2

(7) Foster or adopt a child: Reflect God's adoption of you by bringing someone out of a poor situation and into your family. Or financially, emotionally, and practically help a friend as they do the same.
(8) Support international orphan prevention: Organizations are now working to keep children in their homes and cultures, and help them from becoming orphans by reconciling brokenness in families that would eventually put them on the streets.
(9) Consider your week: How much are you alone? With other Christians? With not-yet-believers? If the last group gets the least time, leave your home, be outside more, invite them in ... how can you look outward?

Answer 4: We care because we all praise something – and only God is worth it.
Scripture 4: 1 Peter 2:9-12

(10) Look at your social media: Intentionally talk or tweet about Him, as much as you do the other things you enjoy and talk about, but would claim are less important than Him.
(11) Interact online with grace: Few people are swayed by a social media rant or angry blog post. If you're social on social media, display grace and truth in your tone and comments.
(12) Perform an "idol" check: Where do your time, money, and other resources go? What do you think about in your free time? Are those false gods/ functional saviors?

Answer 5: We care because God alone sent us to our mission fields.
Scripture 5: Jeremiah 29:3-11

(13) Be involved in your city: Serve your councilperson, or be a volunteer firefighter. Even consider running for your city council or school board.
(14) Join your neighborhood association or local boards: These exist to serve, beautify, build relationships in, and fight for your neighborhood.
(15) Don't just join these groups; get involved: Step into leadership, and help organize and influence the direction of your neighborhood or city. If these don't exist, be proactive and help create them!

Question 2: Who is my everyday mission field?

Answer 1: Our workplaces and schools are our mission field.
Scripture 1: 1 Corinthians 7:12-26

(16) Work in a public space: Even if you have the opportunity for a corner office, choose a space you can interact with coworkers. If possible, telecommute from your neighborhood, coffee shop, or pub.
(17) Invite the new guy to lunch: Remember how nervous you were on your first day, and bless him with good food and a first office friendship.
(18) Spend lunch hours and coffee breaks with coworkers: Instead of retreating for a few moments, eat in the break room or cafe next door. If that won't work, shoot for happy hour or breakfast.
(19) Invite coworkers into your nonwork life: After a few meals or drinks, invite them to your home, family, and community. Make individual relationships corporate through meals and hobbies.

Answer 2: Our actual, literal neighbors are our mission field.
Scripture 2: James 2:8-13

(20) Build short fences: Tall fences don't actually make good neighbors; they distance and privatize you. Remove fences between you and your neighbors, or if you must have them, build them low.
(21) Serve your neighbors: Help with yard work, then enjoy a tasty beverage and admire your shared masterpiece. Pick up mail when they leave town. Babysit on their date night. Get creative.
(22) Host events: Summer barbecues, movie nights on your lawn, a community garden, progressive dinners  all offer opportunities for neighbors to involve themselves in one another's lives.

Answer 3: The marginalized in our society are our mission field.
Scripture 3: Matthew 25:31-46

(23) Volunteer at a school near you: Nearly every school has more needs than they can fill. Serve however teachers and administration need. Tutor students, and even bless their families at times.
(24) Serve with an organization: Don't reinvent the wheel; find groups meeting a need you're passionate about, or become passionate about some local need. Find a group and serve well.
(25) Work with organizations that aren't specifically Christian: Bless those the organization is serving, but also meet and serve alongside not-yet-believers.

Answer 4: The world – both here and there – is our mission field.
Scripture 4: Acts 11:19-26

(26) Serve refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants: Agencies help you meet them. Show them the city, teach cultural nuances, help them learn English, invite them to meals and holidays.
(27) As a community, adopt a people group: Child sponsorship, sending resources, short-term trips, meeting actual and felt needs, and building relationships are all first global steps.
(28) Pursue your sister city: Many cities in the United States have a "sister city" in a different country. Learn where your city's is and get involved. In this, you bless your own city and theirs.
(29) Build a relationship across the world: Whether through your job or school, a "friend of a friend," or social media connection, pursue people in a nation where God might be leading you to engage.

Answer 5: Our families are our mission field.

(30) Start when they're young: The earlier your child hears you pray, talk about the gospel, model fruit of the Spirit, etc., the better. Intentionally train your child, before you think you should.
(31) Be proactive with extended family: If they live nearby, initiate get-togethers and include them in celebrations. If farther away, call or video chat. Check up; let them know you're praying for them.
(32) Bless your family: Be the first to meet needs. Be the most generous with giving gifts or providing food. Be the first to both repent and forgive. And be willing to explain why.

If you'd like to read and watch some more quotes and video clips about Everyday Mission, check out: A Field Guide Conversation with Steve Timmis Jeff Vanderstelt Helen Lee Matt Carter.

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


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