Missional Focus Week – Day 2

Yesterday we kicked off ‘Missional Focus Week’ at Immanuel. We’re trying to stimulate ideas of ways that we as a church can make more concerted efforts at reaching the UIC Area with the gospel.

First, as we think about greater missional engagement, we need to get to know our neighborhood, its people, and their stories, values, worldview, and culture. We need to ask the kind of questions that missionaries ask when they enter a new culture, questions such as:

Where?

· Where are the places and activities we can meet people in the UIC Area (the missional spaces)?

· Where do people experience community?

· Are there existing social networks with which we can engage, or do we need to find ways of creating community within the neighborhood?

· Where should we be to have missional opportunities?

When?

· What are the patterns and timescales of our neighborhood (the missional rhythms)?

· When are the times we can connect with people (the missional moments)?

· How do people here organize their time?

· What cultural experiences and celebrations do people value? How might these be used as bridges to the gospel?

· When should we be available to have missional opportunities?

What?

· What are people’s fears, hopes, and hurts?

· What gospel stories are told in the neighborhood? What gives people identity (creation)? How do they account for wrong in the world (fall)? What is their solution (redemption)? What are their hopes (consummation)?

· What are the barrier beliefs or assumptions that cause people to dismiss the gospel?

· What sins will the gospel first confront and heal?

· In what ways are people self-righteous?

· What does the articulation of the good news sound like for people in this neighborhood?

How?

These are big questions. Now how do we go about doing it? There are many answers. But to start with, missional living doesn’t have to be that hard. Begin thinking of all the activities, however mundane, that make up your life: (1) daily routine (traveling to work, eating meals, doing chores, walking the dog, playing with the children); (2) weekly routines (grocery shopping, watching favorite television programs, exercising); and (3) monthly routine (gardening, getting a haircut, going to the movies). You should have a long list of activities. For each one, ask whether you could add: (1) a community component by involving another member of the church; (2) a missional component by involving an unbeliever; and (3) a gospel component by identifying opportunities to talk about Jesus.

Adapted from Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 42-43, 90.

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