Search Results for: missional living

Missional Living: When People Leave, Rewards Feel Scarce, and Things are Hard

In Christianity, missional living is the adoption of the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the gospel message. Or at least that's what Wikipedia says.
I've talked some about what it looks likes to "live missionally" and even some practical tips for being missional in your community. As Facebook friends watch from afar, I'm sure it seems easy enough to #missionalliving to just about anything we do around here but today I wanted to share about when people leave, rewards feel scarce, and things are hard.
While Missional Living is simple, it's rarely if ever easy.
Starting off in a new town, community, and neighborhood is all together terrifying and exciting. Nearly 5 years ago we came to land where we are with a strong call on our lives to plant a church here. We did lots of research on the town, even visited other churches in the area to make sure we weren't doing what was already being done to spread the gospel, and then of course wrangled some other hopefuls in order to begin what we now call The Valley.
In our first year, we had typical pumps like staffing a nursery even though we were all so eager to take part in the services and meet new people, muster up creative ways to serve our community with little to no capital, find those to place in leadership with all the right motives, and even figure out how to branch out our ever growing small group. As that year pasted, we finished up some details on our meeting space and were beaming with pride right before a massive tornado took that space from us. The only affordable/available property in tiny but quickly expanding town. Even so, God showed up in a BIG way; providing us with an unexpected platform to share His gospel among the despair and for a bit, an influx in nickles and noses. People were yearning for the peace we had among the chaos.
Then, slowly, those nickles and noses faded. Due to misplaced faith, self-assurance returning, boredom, or even the lack of religiosity among us, people left our regular meetings to either better suited places or back to a state of being de-churched. I'm here to share the not-so-enticing side of church planting and missional living. Not to look for pity, to scare you away, or to say everyone's experience with this is the same but merely out of realness. When I google my experiences, no one else seems to have dealt with this and I have a hard time believing no one has, just that no one had share it yet.
Missional living articles will tell you how to share Christ as you are going. {HELLO- I am one of those, hence my blog name} Don't segregate yourself. Be involved with what you love, your passionate about, things you already enjoy and simply take Christ with you. A huge component of The Valley is the truth that The Church is not a building or a service we attend. The Church is the body of Christ, the believers who have made Him Lord, and live their lives accordingly. What most missional living articles will not tell you, is that so many of us have been religified, leaving us with no love, passion, enjoyment in anything that doesn't have a churchy purpose or title attached to it. We lack a life outside our churchy click. Even when we try to "share Christ as [we] are going", those we are among already know Christ; or at least think they do.
Missional living articles will tell you that leading someone to Christ takes masses of time. A true friendship takes an average of two years to develop. Reading someone the Roman Road in your first encounter will likely hinder that development. Sharing bits of the gospel as you develop is discipling. Allowing someone to belong before they behave is what Christ would have us do. What most missional living articles will not tell you, is that even after investing more than two years into a relationship, gradually sharing the gospel in applicable situations, allowing and encouraging someone to belong before they behave can still lead to them eventually claiming faith in Christ, all while running from you, spewing hatred about you and how you chose to lead them there. That the changed lives around you are slow and hard to count. That teaching adults biblical disciplines seems religious when they're coming from abusive-church backgrounds thus leading to immature believers.
Missional living articles will tell you that loving people on mutual ground is beneficial for everyone. That putting down the white-hero complex and admitting our need for aid from those outside our part of the church allows mutual respect to grown, aids relationship development, and benefits The Church as a whole. What most missional living articles will not tell you, is that some people will still feel like a project. No matter how hard you try to find giftings and ease your way into recruitment, we live in a consumerist world {at least as Americans} and people are very possibly looking for a church to meet their needs rather than sacrificing together for the furthering of His kingdom. People may choose to church-hop in the same manor that we store-hop looking for the best deals, only utilizing a store for parts. Caving to the pressure to offer services to keep someone will only result in them eventually leaving because no one/where can offer everything...oh, and because it's NOT about us.
Missional living articles will tell you how to live outside your home in order to love your neighbors. Be gracious with sinful lives. Be hospitable, with doors always open. What most missional living articles will not tell you, is what to do when people move away as quickly as they move in. When seasons change and neighborhood kids no longer want to play. They don't talk about people avoiding you out of their own self-shame because of their sinful lives. They don't tell you how to handle relationships that don't develop, even after two years.
Missional living articles will tell you being bi-vocational is one of the best routes for a pastor. It saves The Church money, allowing funds to be utilized in facilities, ministry, and missions. What most missional living articles will not tell you, is that while that is VERY true, finding the right vocation that allows enough time, income, and flexibility to still know your family, live where you're called to serve, and lead others in creative ministry to your community is beyond difficult therefore leaving certain areas of life to suffer.
Missional living articles will tell you is this way of doing ministry: living on mission for Christ, making everything you do no matter how big for small it seems, believing every relationship -new or old- is part of how Christ wants to use you in the every day to make much of Him. What most missional living articles will not tell you, is that doing such is hard, requires constant focus, yields little tangible [worldly] rewards. Living this way feels, at times, lonely as the rest of the christian world is counting their nickles and noses asking about yours...or lack there of. Living missionally feels that your meek, humble, quiet life is making no difference; especially compared to those creating huge non-profits, new ministries, innovative ways to change lives.
But God.
But God had called us all to different parts. I have to believe that in the Body of Christ, in some seasons, you can be a leg and others be an ear hair. All important. All loved. All utilized by Christ. Some of us will be called to wait upon God to "give us a child in our old age" while the rest of our lives we sat silent but steady. Some of us will begin to follow Christ in our last season and "die a martyr's death". Either way, we are loved and called to His purposes the same. Be encouraged today that no matter how pretty the insta-filter, everyone is trudging. Some seasons are sunnier than others.
What are we supposed to do when we are living out what the Bible says and things don't "fall into place"? What are supposed to do when you have to fight to serve a community?
Love Jesus. Seek Him and His will. Search for ways to do good and be love in His name. Pray for peace in what He continues to call you to and find contentment in His joy through the hard days. I wish I had better advise. Some days suck. Some weeks, months, years, "seasons" are super hard. Persevere.
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Missional Living with Littles

My kids are much better about choosing action over good intentions!


They know there is a small window of time between the school bus dropping off neighbor-friends after school and evening activities each separate family has every night of the week but that doesn't stop them.

They understand that quality, meaningful, authentic time with their friends is better than the great intention of spending mass quantities of time with them somewhere down the road. The "it looks like it's about to rain", "I'm not sure if they're home", "they might not want to", "there's only __ amount of time" excuses just don't cut it in their God-given love for people.

I'm learning to put aside all my excuses and let them live in the moment, not wait for the perfectly planned playdate, greatly fashioned gift-wrapped treat, or ideal weather. Loving people should be natural. Loving is what we are called to do as we are living not a detailed ministry opportunity we suck all the life our of.


Love is dependability.

Love is bonfire-smoke-induced-tears.

Love is forgetting who's toys belongs to who.

Love is bandaging skinned knees from other homes.

Love is sale Easter candy oozing out of children as they laugh.

Love is hearing hurts from a once-stranger child under hushed shame.

Love is splintered bare-feet from racing flying actions figures in hand.

Love is stale hotdog buns with gobs of compensation ketchup.

Love is street ball with dog-slobber-coated basketballs.

Love is side-walk-chalk-covered-dresses.

Love is a guaranteed hug.

Love is availability.

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Missional Living Room Layout with Lots of Littles

We finally took on the challenge of "rotating" our living room.

 Missional Living Room Layout with Lots of Littles

Have you ever viewed your home's layout as intentional for furthering the Kingdom? Call me crazy, but I'm starting to see everything in my life as a possibility to share Christ...even down to how I decorate or arrange my home. Let me explain, I'm sharing over on Successful Homemakers, how and why my family recently rotated our living room.

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5 Simple Missional Living Ideas

I can't believe I forgot to tell you all that I had my monthly post go up on Friday. Ugg So behind. Any how...

We have literally just moved into the town we have planted a church. After over a year of planning, meetings, launches, commuting, selling a house, and finally buying a new home, we are “in the field”!

To hear my 5 Simple Missional Living Ideas that any Christian can do, head over to A Common Bond!

Click for the exact The Missional Times edition.

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On Andy Stanley and The Size of Your ‘Church’

I believe Andy Stanley's statement hit a cord with so many in a negative way because there IS an [element] of true in it and as most things that sting, it's because there's a hint of personal guilt.

*PERSONAL JOURNEY* October 14, 2012 Alpharetta - Andy Stanley preaches during the 9 a.m. worship service at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta on Sunday, October 14, 2012. Andy Stanley, whose father was the most powerful preacher in Atlanta, has now become the most powerful preacher in Atlanta. His North Point collection of churches has 30,000 members, and is growing.In his new book, "Deep and Wide, " he tells the story of growing up in the shadow of Charles Stanley, preacher at First Baptist, of the conflict that led to him breaking away to start his own church, and of his subsequent rise to lead the biggest congregation in the city, and one of the biggest in the country. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Stanley said:

When I hear adults say, “Well I don’t like a big church, I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody,” I say, “You are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends. You don’t care about your kids [or] anybody else’s kids”… If you don’t go to a church large enough where you can have enough middle schoolers and high schoolers to separate them so they can have small groups and grow up the local church, you are a selfish adult. Get over it. Find yourself a big old church where your kids can connect with a bunch of people and grow up and love the local church. Instead… you drag your kids to a church they hate, and then they grow up and hate the local church. They go to college, and you pray that there will be a church in the college town that they connect with. Guess what? All those churches are big.

Read more of what Andy said HERE or listen to the full sermon HERE

Faced with the online outcry, Stanley apologized on Twitter, saying “The negative reaction to the clip from last weekend's message is entirely justified. Heck, even I was offended by what I said! I apologize.”

A wise WISE friend once told me something beyond profound when I message her about a big hurt someone had caused me with what they said. Fully expecting her to defend me, be upset with the other person, and tell me how right I was and therefore wrong they were she did something even better for me, in the long run.

She said, "Well, first I think you need to step back and see if there is any truth in their statement. Then you can decide if that truth means you need to fix something. If so, do it and move on. If there is no truth in the statement, move on without worry." Then she went on to give me her opinion like a sweet friend after being the spiritual guiding friend I needed first.

The question in this situation seems to be: Did Andy Stanley mis-speak OR call us out as The Church?

Don't get me wrong, I think there was a lot of false doctrine in his un-thought-out statements. That happens to the best of us when we're not careful.

  • "Church" isn't something you do or somewhere you go. It's the group of people who have become bond-servants of Christ. I so wish this one would sink in for us and a LOT of our misconceptions would be fixed.
  • 20, 200, 0,2000, or 20,000 are all just a number and each can serve a purpose in The Kingdom's work. Just like in business, there are benefits on both the sides of large and small.
  • The next generation doesn't necessarily need what a larger church. Not every large church is Bionically sound just as not every small church is.
  • Division by age, stage-of-life, gender, or any other qualifier is often the easiest way to manage large groups of people rarely the BEST for them. Maybe we could use RACE as an example here and see how that played out for us.
  • Mega/large churches are a fairly new commodity and it will take years to have any concrete studies on wither or not there are long-term benefits OR detriments. In reference to this specific topic, that means, we have no real proof if children will grow into adults who love or hate church [attendance] based on the size of their church.
  • If you are dragging your child to church, that highly indicates other issues...not with your church. Most studies indicate THE main factor found in those who leave the church is a hypocritical lifestyle lived by parents/those raising them. Meaning, living one way at home and another in front of others, ie The Church.
  • When you send your child to college, if you have taught them to group themselves only based on self-service and who looks, talks, sounds, etc like them, then of course, a larger church is where they will have the most likelihood to find such a group. But people become "dechurched", leaving church from mega and small churches.

If you were like me and initially offended by what Andy Stanley said, I think there are some questions that need to be ask.

  • Do you have the wrong view of what The Church is and what it's purpose is?
  • Are you proud of or embraced by the average attendance of your Sunday morning service? {either can be unhealthy}
  • Are you intentionally keeping your part of The Church small for selfish reasons?
  • Do you enjoy knowing 'everyone' and therefor selfishly don't care if you reach out to know [or MORE] people?
  • Are you living missionally {intentionally for The Kingdom}, chasing the lost even if that means you might have to share you church/christian club?
  • Is the effort to lead more people to Christ more important to you than the number of members your church has?
  • Do you worry about giving your children everything they 'want' rather than 'need', contributing to the entitled generation?
  • Do you attend your current church based on what it offers you and your family or based on sound Biblical reasoning?
  • Do you group you and others like a preKer sorting by colors, size, shape, and purpose when it comes to church and other facets of your life?
  • Are you bothered by small children "disturbing" the church service with typical childish behavior?
  • Do your children enjoy attending church service? Are they apart of The Church? What's the real factor there?
  • Is your church partnering WITH you [not for you] to train-up your children in the ways of following Christ?
  • Are you fully preparing your children to chase after Christ and His will for their future or are you guarding them in hopes of them leading a watered down, comfortable version of the 'christian' American Dream?


I know Andy's statements made me have to reevaluate a lot of this stuff. I hope you'll mull over both sides for you and your family as well. Your thoughts on the matter?



Related articles about the DechurchedMissional Living, and Church Planting.

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