While leading a workshop in Sitka a few weeks ago one woman posed a question. What is the difference between mission events and missional? And then she answered it herself. It would seem that in some churches mission events are planned where Christians are given an opportunity to do good...serve in a soup kitchen, conduct a food drive, go on a mission trip, etc. These are very good things for churches to do.
However they should not mean they can ease our guilt for a few months until the next big church mission event. The world needs missional Christians today. This is an orientation towards those pushed to the margins of society. Being missional means that we believe God can use us to be the incarnational love that people need from God's people. It is a way of looking at people with lenses that does not allow prejudice and judgment to reach our minds, but rather a child of God who needs love.
I fully support mission events in the life of the church. We need to be doing all the good we can. But let's also remember to encourage our people to be missional. This means we activate our spiritual radar while we are going about the business of our daily lives so the Spirit can help us truly see people and their needs. Sometimes being missional is offering a simple smile to someone who appears unhappy, or offering to help an exhausted young mother while waiting in the grocery line, or stopping to get to know the man on the corner with a cardboard sign.
The world is hungry for God. And many people will have a hard time seeing the fullness of God unless we become the lens that helps them see the living Christ.