Thinking Like a Missionary

I’m trying to think like a missionary.

It’s Sunday morning and for the first time in years I don’t have to be anywhere. I am so used to getting up and going to “church” and leading worship or preaching or doing whatever the “pastor” is supposed to be doing that particular Sunday. But here I am for the first time in my “professional” ministry career, churchless.

As I write this, I am sitting in a Starbucks sipping an Americano and trying to figure out what a church is going to look like for this community.

The danger for me is to start doing what I’ve always done: organize groups and fellowship activities etc. invite the community to come and expect them to do so. I am convinced that those kinds of strategies are not going to work very effectively any longer.

Regardless of whether I live in the South, and whether or not we continue to be labeled as the “Bible Belt,” the reality remains that we are living in a post-Christian world; the Bible belt is getting tighter and tighter as the body of Christ continues to lose weight.

In my community, I am told that everyone goes to church somewhere. Really? I am looking around this coffee shop and seeing more people sipping coffee, reading the paper, and surfing the net than there are in many of these little churches this morning. There is a group of 6 ladies sitting across the room from me who have what appear to be scrapbooking items scattered on a couple of tables. They are laughing and enjoying each other’s company (sounds like something we might try to organize in one of our typical churches).

I don’t mean to sound cynical. I am just convinced that there has to be a better way for us to do church than simply recreate what has always been done.

I think people want to know that what they do matters. And that includes the time they set aside for “church.” I think that many people will continue to attend worship services on Sunday mornings because that’s what they’ve always done. Some may even serve on boards or committees, volunteer to teach a Sunday school class, or help out with the children’s ministry because it makes them feel like they are doing something for God. But I can’t help wonder about the majority of people who simply “go to church” on Sunday morning, check the box indicating that they have fulfilled their spiritual obligation, and then leave the building to go live their ‘real” life for the rest of the week.

I think Jesus expects more from His church.

They sent me here to plant a church. I intend to do that.

It just might not look like every other church in town. In fact, it won’t.

I’m trying to think differently.

I’m  trying to think like a missionary.

Comments

  1. Sean, after chatting with you about this - I too noticed how many people were out and about this past Sunday (before I got to church) doing things other than heading to church... I think you are right on. We need to radically change our way of thinking, responding, serving... no more status quo. Jesus never settled for same old same old. We shouldn't either.

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  2. When thinking as a missionary one must be aware that sometimes the natives are hostile. Plunging into the deep jungles of Crestview you may meet the dreaded quilting ladies or as you saw the cropping crew. Be careful as you move among the coffee drinkers of Crestview for they tend to be a little on edge...could be the caffiene. If you move from among those in the coffee shop you will find that you may be met by the old men sitting on the corner. Beware of these old men for they tend to have strong opinions that few understand. Other fresh ground to approach on Sunday would be the one and only Walmart. As you find your way among the mountains of food and consumerism you will notice many natives on Sunday morning walking about aimlessly seeking comfort in the mundane.

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