Back in the old days (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I used to teach marching band. Believe it or not, it takes an army of staff, parents, and kids to pull off a competitive High School performance. Anyone who has ever done it is fully aware of the countless hours spent in the band room and on the football field perfecting the show. I personally poured my heart and personality into every show. I do the same with directing musical theatre as well. It’s a part of who I am. I work hard and always enjoy going above and beyond the call of duty.
However, it infuriates me when people make suggestions and critique what we do when they have absolutely no idea how it all works and all the effort that goes into it. We call it the peanut gallery. In addition, it agitates me when people judge out of their caption. For example, if the color guard judge makes a comment about wrong notes being played by the trumpet section, that would be considered out of his realm of expertise. He has no business making the comment. Moreover, what really grinds my crank is when someone (like a parent) tries to start directing the show by giving contradictory instructions to his/her child (and several others) without even asking the staff!
So what in the world does this have to do with the church and/or living the missional life? That’s a great question! I’m so glad you asked! This happens in the typical church. We treat the church as a building with a service we attend once or thrice a week to consume goods and services. Yet if there’s something the consumers don’t like, they criticize the pastor and/or call a special business meeting to VOTE on proposed changes. It drives me up the wall. I have a hard time believing that Jesus suffered, bled, and died so we could sit in a building for an hour or two a week being entertained, going to endless Bible studies (where we constantly learn and never apply), critique those that are called by God to lead, and try to coach from the stands.
Furthermore, Christianity (in many churches) has been boiled down to learning a church language and improving our behavior. Do YOU think that’s what Jesus died for? Did He die so we could build mega churches and have great worship bands? I don’t think so. Jesus gave us one mission: to make disciples. So it amazes me that so many Christians (and churches) spend their time, resources, and their lives doing anything BUT making disciples. For some reason, they think it’s someone else’s job. However, if we want to make disciples in America today, we must embrace the missional lifestyle (ALL of us). What is the missional lifestyle? Read any one of the Gospels and observe the way Jesus and His disciples lived. Read the book of Acts and discover how churches were planted, disciples were made, and the Word of God spread.
Too many churches assume they’ve achieved success if they have a great church service, children’s programs, and big numbers. But I beg to differ. Numbers and finances often do NOT tell the tale. After all, didn’t Jesus say it was a narrow road and few find it? So why do we think God wants or expects huge numbers? I don’t believe God cares about the numbers at all. He cares about us making disciples. Behaving better is nice (and good), but at what point are we good enough? Didn’t Jesus die for our sins? Aren’t we forgiven? I hope so! We have a much better righteousness because of the sacrifice of Jesus!
Yet if we ignore the one thing He told us to do (make disciples), I can’t imagine that He’s a happy camper. So what does the missional lifestyle look like? How does discipleship happen? There are tons of blogs and books available that tell us how to be missional. And many of them are great reads. I recommend reading a few and applying what works for you. Just keep in mind that there is no one right way to do it. Personally, I feel like since so much effort has been placed on being missional in cities and suburbs that much of the focus goes to pubs and parties. And those are good things. I love a good beer!
Nevertheless, those are just a few tools in the toolbelt. They are not the whole tool box. And what about missional life out in the country? People in the woods and on farms need Jesus as much as people in the metro areas! So below are 7 simple steps to take to begin living a more missional lifestyle no matter your location and population: Bless; Listen; Encounter; Serve; Shabbat; Equip; Devote. Try them out. Just remember, however, that these are simply suggestions to get started. You might come up with some of your own or variations of what I (or others) have written. There is no one right way to do it! Just let God lead as you endeavor to make disciples and start living the BLESSED life!
Day 1 – Bless
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt.22:37-39 NLT).
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:8-10 NLT).
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord…Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them…‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom.12:10-11 , 13-14, 20-21 ESV).
Bless. This one is first on the list for a reason. In our culture, Christians are too well known for what we’re against without people knowing what we are for and what we’re all about. But Jesus said it well. He said we’re supposed to love the socks off of each other! We’re to show love to God, each other (in the church), and to our neighbors (that’s everyone else). Blessing people can range from the everyday things to the extreme. My wife likes to call this Acts of Random Kindness (ARK). If every one of us would look up from our phones for just a minute and look away from how to please ourselves, we might actually notice what might make someone else’s day.
So if you want to begin living the missional life, like Jesus, check out your neighborhood and discover ways to bless people. Perhaps you might mow your neighbor’s lawn (just because), buy the new neighbor down the street a pizza and a six-pack to welcome them to the neighborhood, or offer to babysit for a young couple that’s slightly overwhelmed and in desperate need of a date night. Bless the teachers in your kids’ school by making them goodie bags with a Thank You note attached. Look for daily ways to bless people. It doesn’t take all that much effort.
You can look for more elaborate ways to bless people as well. Perhaps there’s a big project that needs to be done and you spend your weekend helping a co-worker to get it done (no charge) just to make their life easier. Or perhaps you decide to send someone on an unforgettable vacation (because they can’t afford it and you can). The possibilities are endless. If we want to be Good News to people, we need to stop studying information from the Bible and start living it like Jesus and the early church did. Bless your family. Bless people in your Missional Community. Bless the rest of the people in your little corner of the world (non-believers). Bless people.
Day 2 – Apply
Think about and pray about who you can bless today and in the coming weeks. And then get started and do it! Think about and pray about how often you want to bless people. It could be daily things, weekly, monthly, etc. Once you start blessing people on a regular basis you won’t want to stop. But take the time to think, pray, and do. Don’t just ignore and skip over this part! Bless someone today!
Day 3 – Listen
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19 NLT).
“Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28 NLT).
Listen. Listening is a lost art. People don’t naturally listen anymore. They simply talk and form responses before the other person is even finished speaking. But if we can learn the fine art of listening to people, we might just discover something new. We might find out what the people in our lives need. We might learn why they’re hurting. We might realize why they’re so angry, depressed, and/or lonely. If life is all about relationships (and it really is), then we need to realize that there are at least two sides to every story. It’s not about the Unholy Trinity of Me, Myself, and I. If we really want to get to know people and BE Good News, we need to listen.
Can I share a secret with you? People often tell me they feel so much better after talking to me. And it makes me smile. But it’s not because of anything I’ve done. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s because I’ve learned to shut my pie hole and let someone emote (spill their guts) for however long they need. My wife would call that not being stupid, since everyone sounds smart until they open their mouths. You don’t need to be a pastor, theologian, or a Bible scholar to listen. You simply need to close your mouth, open your ears, and not actively prepare a response until the other person is finished and you’ve had time to process what was said.
A common phrase among actors is that acting is reacting. However, in order to react, we have to first hear what was said. We can’t have a prepared response ready to go. We must react to what’s being said. That, my friends, is the lost art of listening. If this is particularly hard for you, I recommend duct tape. It is indispensable in correcting so many issues. Furthermore, it’s available in many modern colors and designs! I don’t know how the world operated before duct tape! Listening is vital to relationship. Without it, we only have a monologue being spoken by a very lonely and selfish person. Listen.
Day 4 – Apply
Think about and pray about who you need to listen to. Is it a friend, neighbor, and/or a family member that needs someone to listen? Are you not sure about who to listen to because you don’t normally listen? Talk to God and ask Him to give you some names and to help you to be on the lookout for opportunities to offer a listening ear. He might give you the chance today or another day. Just be ready when the opportunity comes up! A great way to practice is when you’re with your family, friends, and co-workers. Just try listening to what they say without saying anything at all in return. Simply listen and don’t respond unless they specifically ask you to respond. This will take more than one day to master. However, try it out today. Don’t move on until you’ve actually listened. Then make it a habit over time.
Day 5 – Encounter
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:22 NLT).
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matt.28:19-20 NLT).
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15 NLT).
Encounter. This is another major lost art among Christians. Somehow along the line, Christians decided that they needed to cut themselves off from the rest of the world. They decided that they needed to be in church several times a week and only surround themselves with other believers. They go from Bible Study to Bible Study and learn so much information. Sadly, it never gets applied out in the real world because they’re hiding out in ChurchLandia. However, the simple truth is that we can’t be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission if we’re not out in the world encountering people that don’t know Jesus. And yes, it is uncomfortable at first. It’s hard. But what do you think Jesus did? He left the comforts of His home (Heaven), moved into our neighborhood with a bunch of dirty rotten sinners (like us), and encountered the very people He was trying to reach! He didn’t expect us to come to Him. He knew we wouldn’t and couldn’t. He came to us!
So what can this look like? The sky’s the limit! God designed you in a certain way. He didn’t design us all the same. So I’m not one of those that says you HAVE to do it a certain way. You don’t have to hang out in bars. You could. But you don’t have to. You don’t have to invite people into your home and cook a meal for them and sit awkwardly around a dinner table if you don’t cook and don’t have a family. You need to pray about how YOU can encounter people in a way that works with the way God designed you. And then do it!
Since I am married and have 4 children, Olivia and I like to do family things. We do like to invite people into our home. We like to set up play dates for the kids and get to know their parents too. We don’t have a dump and run philosophy. We like to have pool parties, cookouts, and outings to the local ice cream shop. On a personal level, I enjoy going to coffee shops and sharing a cup with a friend (hence the whole Coffee Shop Pastor thing)! But that’s me and my family. You might be different. Pray about ways that you can meet people and build solid relationships. Obviously, not everyone will become your best friend. Not everyone will become a part of your Missional Community. No worries. At least you’ve made another friend!
Just get out there and start encountering people. You might want to join a local gym, get in shape, and meet people on the StairMaster next to you! You might be a mechanic and own your own shop. So perhaps you can talk to your customers as you work! Be creative. But most importantly, be YOU. Don’t copy me. Just apply the principles and be YOU. You might even be sick and in the hospital. Why not be a blessing to the doctors, nurses, and staff? They need Jesus too! We can’t make disciples if we’re alone and/or with other Christians all the time. We need to encounter people that don’t know Jesus. We must get out of our comfort zone and actually DO what the Bible says, not just memorize it. Knowledge alone, without application, is worthless.
So encountering people is anything we do that builds relationships (gym, coffee shop, workplace, home, meals, sports, etc.). In addition, encountering people means doing life together. As we move beyond initial ways to meet people, the relationship deepens as we hang out and build on what was started. So as we really get to know each other and move on from the superficial aspects of relationship, we earn the right to have Gospel Conversations. Once people get to know us (and our Missional Community), they will share what they believe and ask us questions.
And that’s when we need to be prepared to give an answer. The Bible never says to be prepared to shove Jesus down someone’s throat. It says to be prepared to give an answer. And if we’re giving an answer, it means that someone has asked us a question! And that usually happens over time. If we show up at someone’s door, like salesmen, we’re not going to be greeted with happy thoughts. I’ve been there, tried that, and the door has been slammed in my face. It doesn’t work! Get to know people first over time. Make a friend. Encounter.
Day 6 – Apply
Pray about and think about who God wants you to spend time with and encounter. If you’re new at this, it’s not hard because you can think about the people you encounter every day at work, at home, neighbors, friends, etc. If you’re a little further along in your walk and you’ve already exhausted those options, you’re going to have to start thinking like an apostle. Pray about and think about what God wants you to do to meet NEW people. It might mean coaching your son’s soccer team, joining a gym, joining the PTA, and/or volunteering at a local establishment (library, fire department). It might take several tries before you find something that works for you. And yes you will stumble and screw it up. I’ve stumbled a thousand times. If you’re a church planter, it’s discouraging to have to start over from scratch. Trust me! I’m doing this the second time around and it’s overwhelming to start over and not know anybody in town. It’s not easy, but hang in there! Give it time. Rely on God. Get out there and encounter people. He will bring the right people to you.
Day 7 – Serve
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NLT).
Serve. Olivia makes fun of me when she sees me reading a book. I’m an underliner. Along with things I want to remember and/or quote, I underline everything that jumps out at me. So when she watches me underline three-quarters of every page, she tends to laugh at me. That being said (and if I were you), I would underline this whole section on serving. In my humble opinion, if we as disciples of Jesus could only pick one out of all the missional principles in BLESSED, this one would be it! Nothing can make us more like Jesus than to serve people!
Jesus left the comforts of heaven, relocated to Israel, and was an even better neighbor than Mr. Rogers! He set the ultimate example of what it means to serve and not to be served. On the surface, it might be confusing to differentiate between blessing people and serving people, but they are distinct. Sometimes you can kill two birds with one stone as you bless and serve together; however, I see serving people as helping them do things they can’t do by themselves. They might need a little help. Blessing people is the little things we do just because we can. Those we bless may or may not NEED what we bless them with. Yet we bless them because we love them and because God blesses us. Truthfully, sometimes God blesses us with things we don’t need or deserve, but He blesses us anyway (just because He can). Nevertheless, serving is more like recognizing a need and satisfying that need.
If you belong to a Missional Community (MC), serving your neighborhood is a great way to build relationships. Your MC could adopt a park, a school, a fire department, or whatever you come up with. Once you choose something (or someone) in your community to serve, find out what the needs are. Figure out what you as a group can do and then DO it. It might cost money. It might cost time. But the rewards are everlasting! The actual project you do might not seem that exciting, but the relationships built along the way (within your MC and the people you serve) are the important thing. Serving is a bridge to relationship. Serving is a way to BE Good News. Jesus came to serve and not to be served. We should do the same. Serve.
Day 8 – Apply
Brainstorm with your MC and make a list of ideas. Come up with things that you guys can do as a group. Think about and pray about the who, what, when, where, and why of what you want to do. And then take steps to do it. Serve your community. Keep a running list. Don’t let this become a one-time thing. Keep a running list of ways to serve your community. And then check each one off your list as you accomplish each one over time. You can do this with your family as well. Perhaps you can adopt a sports team that one of your children is on. You can find out what the needs of the families are that are on the team. And then go from there. You can also make half-time snacks. You can give kids a ride if they need it. Serve people.
Day 9 – Shabbat
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28 NLT).
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Ex.20:8 NLT).
Shabbat. Shabbat is REST. This one should be self-explanatory; however, people in our culture do not know how to rest. We are on the go all the time. Unfortunately, I’m one of the biggest offenders! Yet what goes UP must come DOWN. We can’t be on the GO all the time. We need rest. In fact, God set one whole day aside every week for that very reason! In America, most of us are blessed with TWO days of rest, yet we rarely take them because we fill them with more work.
But what if we actually took a day off once a week for rest? You might be thinking, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. That is true. Nevertheless, your lack of rest might be sending you to that grave earlier than you want! My daughter cracks me up. I can always tell when she’s exhausted at the end of the day. She’s in a really BAD mood and she’s rather unpleasant to be around. There’s usually a lot of temper tantrums and screaming involved as well. At that point, I always know she’s tired when she screams out those famous words: I’M NOT TIRED!!!
So take a day once a week to rest. It can be by yourself, with your family, and/or with your MC. But take time to relax and chill. Don’t do any work. It’s not about legalism. It’s about resetting our clocks so we can get through the next week without collapsing or stressing out. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). The point is that we need REST. We don’t need more religion. We just need to rest physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.
We all need down time, slow-down time, and stop and look around time. In addition, at least once a year we need extended time off for a vacation to recharge for the coming year. Again, our example is Jesus. He took time to rest. So why shouldn’t we? Go ahead. I dare you! REST! But if you don’t, stop complaining and throwing temper tantrums that you’re too stressed out and busy. You are in control. You can step on the brakes. You can take a day off. The world will survive without you for one day! Shabbat.
Day 10 – Apply
Take a day off. Take a sick day or a personal day if you have one. REST. Chill. As you approach your next scheduled day off, plan ahead of time to relax. Don’t overschedule yourself. In fact, don’t schedule anything. Hide in your house. Sleep in. Go to the beach for the weekend. Find a consistent day each week that you can recharge your batteries. You’re not the Energizer Bunny. You may think you are, but your battery will run out if you don’t take time to recharge.
Day 11 – Equip
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor.11:1 NLT).
“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Tim.2:2 NLT).
Equip. Can I be honest? The modern evangelical church gets on my nerves! We are so good at one-half of one-third of the Great Commission. We are so good at teaching what the Bible says (to people who are ALREADY believers). We’re great at Bible study. Yet we never actually DO what the Bible says, which is a direct violation of (you guessed it) the Bible (James 1:22)! We’re not just supposed to teach the Word. We are supposed to teach people to OBEY the Word (Matt.28:20 NET)! Furthermore, our definition of discipleship is (you guessed it) gaining more knowledge of the Bible.
But what is the bulk of what Jesus said in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission? Isn’t it ACTION oriented? He wants us to love God with everything we’ve got, love our neighbor as ourselves, make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to (show them how to) put it all into practice (Matt.22:37-39; 28:18-20)! Jesus’ whole life was directed at leading His disciples. What did He tell them to do? He told them to follow Him! Jesus set the example for ALL of us to follow. And we need to pass it on by being a good example for someone else. In the end, we equip people by first setting a good example. We can’t merely talk people into being and making disciples. We need to SHOW them HOW to make disciples. In addition, if WE aren’t out making new disciples, WE have no business teaching other people how to do what WE don’t do.
So the question isn’t about how much Bible you know. The real question is how many people are you discipling (leading by example)? Your family is the first group you should be discipling (along with your spouse). The next should be someone in your MC. The next is someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus. Discipleship is a constant circle of making disciples who make disciples. And we lead by example. Memorizing the Great Commission is nice. You should memorize it! Nevertheless, DOING the Great Commission is what Jesus told us to do. Not everyone’s a leader. Not everyone’s a pastor. But all of us can set an example for someone. So who are YOU discipling? Equip.
Day 12 – Apply
Are you investing in anyone other than yourself? Too many Bible studies are ME oriented. They focus on helping us to behave better and find satisfaction in life by going to church services. But Jesus told us to make disciples. That means we have to include other people in our lives. We have to lead by example. It starts with our own family and extends out to people that don’t yet know Jesus. Obviously, that is something that takes time. Furthermore, we can’t disciple too many people at once. But how about one or two? Certainly we can include one or two people that need to be discipled. Pray about and think about who God wants you to disciple. If we’re doing life with people that don’t know Jesus, eventually some of them will come to the faith. And YOU are the one that is their example. So take them by the hand and lead them. Use BLESSED, not just for yourself, but also to develop another disciple over time.
Day 13 – Devote
“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” (Acts 17:11 NLT).
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (2 Tim.3:16-17 NLT).
Devote. This one is dangerous! I’ve seen people take this one to the extreme in BOTH directions. The one extreme is that of the folks from a traditional conservative church. This is all they do. They go to church several times a week. They go to Bible study after Bible study. They do Quiet Times every morning! They pray. They work hard. They strive to always be on their best behavior. I could go on. But for the most part, these are good people with good intentions. There is always the danger of becoming a Christian Pharisee with the constant ritual and religion, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here that the intentions are good.
The problem, however, is that if this is all we do we miss what God had in mind. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could all become highly intellectual Bible scholars. He died so we could make disciples. Sadly, if we reduce Christianity to Bible studies alone we miss six of the seven principles of living the BLESSED life. Being a well-behaved Christian is a GOOD thing. But it’s not the only thing. Moreover, we can never be good enough. Jesus already paid that price! The Bible actually tells us to not be overly righteous (Ecc.7:16 ESV)! Look it up. It’s there! Again, the New Testament example of that would be the Pharisees.
On the other side of the extreme coin, we have the Missional Party People. These are the people that love to hang out and party all the time. Unfortunately, they have no depth because they barely have any kind of relationship with God at all. They mean well. They want to read their Bible, study, and pray. But they rarely do it. They don’t really understand the Gospel or mission. Yet they are outstanding extroverts who love people (and alcohol). This is where Missional can get a bad rap. Sometimes people falsely think a Missional Church is cool because they know how to party. Yet they forget WHY we party. They also miss out on many parts of the BLESSED Life because they simply like to encounter (on the surface) and not much else.
However, the best option (as always) is finding a proper balance of all seven of the BLESSED principles. And Devote is absolutely one of them! We need to read and study our Bibles every day. We need to hear from God as we pray. In addition, it needs to be a substantial amount of time. Just clicking on a devotional from Facebook that takes less than one minute to read is not sufficient. It certainly is shallow, but not sufficient. Sorry. I don’t apologize for that. I do not condone or write fluff. There’s a reason I don’t write that kind of material. If that’s all you want, this BLOG’s NOT for you. We need solid Bible study.
Nevertheless, that Bible study must be applied. Otherwise, you’re sinning by being super knowledgeable, knowing what you need do, and not doing it (James 4:17). Knowledge AND Application of God’s Word is the only path to true worship and truly glorifying God with our lives. So true devotion to God is BOTH study AND application. Furthermore, it needs to be your own personal study AND corporate. Once you study the Bible, you’ll immediately learn that God intends a healthy relationship with Him, with His people (the church), and with people that don’t yet know Him. We were meant to be in community, not isolation.
The final part of devotion is regular coaching. We all need coaching. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a Christian. We all need guidance and accountability. We all need a little help on a regular basis discerning what God is saying to us, confessing our sins, repentance, sharing victories and struggles, and making disciples. We all need coaching. And part of devoting our lives to living for Jesus is accountability. This is not about control. It’s about being teachable. God intended for us to be in this together. There’s no need or reason for lone-gunmen. Devote.
Day 14 – Apply
Have you ever had a mentor? A coach? Have you ever been discipled? If you’re answer is no, you’re not alone. I was not properly discipled until I was much older. I stumbled and fumbled in so many ways that could have been avoided if I had a proper coach. So think about and pray about who this person could be for you. It needs to be someone who has been there and done that. They need to be much further along the road than you. They also need to embrace the missional mindset. It would be best if it was someone from your own church and your own MC. And in the meantime, don’t forget to dust off your Bible and start reading, studying, and praying!
So where do we go from here? There are plenty of authors who have written similar things to what you just read. And they’re great. I’ve read some of them. But no one has all the answers. And no one is YOU. You have to decide how to apply this using your own gifts, personality, and limitations. So go ahead and start trying this out on a regular basis. And by all means, have someone coach you through it! But make sure it’s someone who knows missional concepts and lives out these principles. There’s nothing worse than a teacher who always teaches and never applies what he claims to know. That’s another name for hypocrite.
So go ahead and start living the BLESSED life. Use it in your own life. Use it in your MC. Use it to coach other people who aren’t as far along as you. Use it to BE coached by someone who IS further along than you. Use it for your own family (spouse and kids). If we really want to GO and Make Disciples like Jesus told us to do, BLESSED is a great way to make that happen! This is not just a study to be read. It’s a study to be applied. And it will lead to transformation. It’s simply application of Biblical principles. It’s not really anything new. It’s application of something very ancient, yet still applicable today!
And yes, involve your whole family! There’s no separate Children’s Program needed. If you’re a parent, it’s YOUR responsibility to raise your kids. So use this with your kids too. And make it fun and easy for them to understand in their own context. Your whole family can be living the BLESSED life together. There’s no need to separate. Be a family. Do this together. Include your kids in mission now. If they see that it’s important to you as you lead by example, they will continue living the same way when they raise their own family. More Children’s Programs are NOT needed. More godly and missional PARENTS are needed! You can bless and encounter your children’s friends and families just as easily as your own friends, coworkers, and family. Incorporate that into how you do BLESSED. It’s a lot of fun. And it leads to a better, deeper, and a more Jesus centered family.
Questions and Actions for YOU and your Missional Community…
- Try out BLESSED for a few weeks or months and make a list of the challenges you face along the way that keep you from living this way. In addition, make a list of the blessings and successes God brings to the people you’re reaching out to, your family, and your missional community.
- What often gets in the way of living this missional lifestyle the way Jesus did?
- Does BLESSED seem overwhelming? Legalistic? Should we ADD it to our lives or can we make it a part of what we already do?
- In your MC, are kids a problem to be solved (shoved in a corner) or are they an integral part of your missional family? Brainstorm ways that your MC can incorporate children with what you do, who you’re trying to reach, and what your meetings look like. Try out the ideas and keep what works!