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8 Ways to be Missional (without overloading your schedule)

April 7, 2009

Missional is not an event we tack onto our already busy lives. It is our life. Mission should be the way we live, not something we add onto life: “As you go, make disciples….”; “Walk wisely towards outsiders”; “Let your speech always be seasoned with salt”; “be prepared to give a defense for your hope”. We can be missional in everyday ways without even overloading our schedules. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Eat with Non-Christians. We all eat three meals a day. Why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a non-Christian or with a family of non-Christians? Go to lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family dinner. If it’s too much work to cook a big dinner, just order pizza and put the focus on conversation. When you go out for a meal, invite a non-Christian friend. Or take your family to family-style restaurants where you can sit at the table with strangers and strike up conversations (Mighty Fine Burgers, Buca di Peppo, The Blue Dahlia, etc). Have cookouts and invite Christians and non-Christians. Flee the Christian subculture.
  2. Walk, Don’t Drive. If you live in a walkable area, make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or campus. Instead of driving to the mailbox, convenience store, or apartment office, walk to get mail, groceries, and stuff. Be deliberate in your walk. Say hello to people you don’t know. Strike up conversations. Attract attention by walking the dog, taking a 6-pack (and share), bringing the kids. Make friends. Get out of your house! Last night I spend an hour outside gardening with my family. We had good conversations with 3-4 neighbors. Take interest in your neighbors. Ask questions. Engage. Pray as you go. Save some gas, the planet.
  3. Be a Regular. Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same places. Get to know the staff. Go to the same places at the same times. Smile. Ask questions. Be a regular. I have friends at coffee shops all over the city. My friends at Starbucks donate a ton of left over pastries to our church 2-3 times a week. We use for church gatherings and occasionally give to the homeless. Build relationships. Be a Regular.
  4. Hobby with Non-Christians. Pick a hobby that you can share. Get out and do something you enjoy with others. Try City League sports. Local rowing and cycling teams. Share your hobby by teaching lessons. Teach sewing lessons, piano lessons, violin, guitar, knitting, tennis lessons. Be prayerful. Be intentional. Be winsome. Have fun. Be yourself.
  5. Talk to Your Co-workers. How hard is that? Take your breaks with intentionality. Go out with your team or task force after work. Show interest in your co-workers. Pick four and pray for them. Form mom’s groups in your neighborhood and don’t make them exclusively non-Christian. Schedule play dates with the neighbors’ kids. Work on mission.
  6. Volunteer with Non-Profits. Find a non-profit in your part of the city and take Saturday a month to serve your city. Bring your neighbors, your friends, or your small group. Spend time with your church serving your city. Once a month. You can do it!
  7. Participate in City Events. Instead of playing X-Box, watching TV, or surfing the net, participate in city events. Go to fundraisers, festivals, clean-ups, summer shows, and concerts. Participate missionally. Strike up conversation. Study the culture. Reflect on what you see and hear. Pray for the city. Love the city. Participate with the city.
  8. Serve your Neighbors. Help a neighbor by weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, fixing a car. Stop by the neighborhood association or apartment office and ask if there is anything you can do to help improve things. Ask your local Police and Fire Stations if there is anything you can do to help them. Get creative. Just serve!

Don’t make the mistake of making “missional” another thing to add to your schedule. Instead, make your existing schedule missional. Check out this related article on integrating Gospel, Community and Mission into everyday life.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen Witmer permalink
    April 8, 2009 11:13 am

    Jonathan, great post. I found it very helpful, and will link to this.

  2. April 8, 2009 11:21 am

    Great thoughts here, Jonathan. To borrow a phrase from John Dickson, being missional (or promoting the gospel) is really “all of life for the cause of Christ.” It’s not an add on as you make clear in this post. Thanks.

  3. April 8, 2009 12:31 pm

    thanks man…I think this will have great impact upon our crew here @ HCC. I shall be circulating this…
    We will pray for you all tonight!

    Much grace man,

  4. Lacey P. permalink
    April 8, 2009 2:02 pm

    Thanks! This will add some good things to our City Group talk.

  5. April 9, 2009 1:55 am

    Awesome follow to last sunday’s message. The two complement each other very well. I don’t really have anything else to add, as it’s 3 am and I need to go to bed.

    It’s not hard to missionally engage the lost in a social way, but taking that to something more meaningful is where I usually struggle.

    I had a great conversation with an experimental physicist the other night (oddly enough, we’re both members of a team of online gamers playing an FPS…considering your topic on violent video games, it makes this next bit interesting).

    He, like a lot of intellectuals, doesn’t have any concrete or strong opinions. We talked about how religions are very similar, and I explained the distinctiveness of the gospel.

    It didn’t go much further than that, but I think the most important way to be missional is to be ready, at any moment, to explain how the gospel invades whatever topic you may be discussing. Because the gospel invades everything. Being so saturated in it is a vital part of missionality.

    How many mission words did I invent in this post?

  6. Craig Sayle permalink
    April 14, 2009 7:33 am

    Superb. Very Practical. I hope you don’t mind me using it to help Scotland.

  7. April 14, 2009 2:22 pm

    Just found this through Nate’s post on Facebook. So this means that we can, in fact, afford to join the YMCA this summer! You guys want to as well? The one on 183. AWESOME kids pool! One more hint– getting off the cell phone at check out lines (or your cell phone in general)– now that is a TRUE way to be missional:)

  8. April 27, 2009 9:51 am

    these thoughts spin about me constantly… and here is where I was called to go.. as a voice , thoughtful and smiling , in my ever present life. 2 grace filled encounters at the mailbox a few days ago, have still left me full. It can sometimes be more “difficult” in many ways.
    Thanks for the reminder that we can do good and be blessed in our own communities .


  1. 8 Ways to Be Missional (without overloading your schedule) « Windham Baptist Church’s Blog
  2. dodson on everyday missionality « Interstitial
  3. TOO BUSY FOR MISSION? « Nate Navarro
  4. of interest | hiddenbehindnothing
  6. Missional Church? « Deacon Duty

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