Three things you can do personally to move from community to Kingdomby Kaben Kramer
In my previous post I outlined why many mid-week groups are stuck in maintenance mode instead of mission mode. There is a tendency to use mid-week groups as a tool to maintain the status quo. Instead, Jesus envisions our small gatherings and scatterings as the frontline of mission - bursting through the gates of hell and bringing the shalom of the Kingdom here and now.
Why? Because Jesus sees us as disciples - little Jesuses - modeling and multiplying the kind of life he lived in our literal geography and right now.
How? While it is by no means exhaustive, here are three simple changes you can practically make that will begin to re-tool your vision and lifestyle to reflect Jesus' vision of Kingdom living:
1. LET THE HOLY SPIRIT PICK YOUR FRIENDS
Many of us (myself included) spend a great deal of time making friends at work or school. We wander around for the first bit looking for the people who are like us; who are into the same types of things we're into or have a similar sense of style as we do. Then, after we've spend a good long season (usually years) becoming friends we begin to wonder if they might be interested in hearing about the Gospel.
If they aren't (and let's just admit that they usually aren't by that point), then we quickly dismiss the whole notion - perhaps "God just doesn't work like that any more" or "My friends are just such hard soil" or "Our culture is so post-Christian that no one wants to talk about that stuff anymore". I wrote a blog going into great detail about why this type of thinking needs to be redeemed.
We pick our friends based on our preference, then hope they are interested in the Gospel. What if instead we found out who was interested in the Gospel and befriended them?
Jesus tells us to lift up our eyes to see the harvest that is ripe - it means that the Holy Spirit has already been preparing people in your workplace or school to hear the Word of Life and receive them. There are people around you right now that Jesus is wooing into his Family; people he is preparing to become a disciple, a son or daughter, an ambassador for the reigning King of kings.
Make the simple shift in how you choose your friends (from you preference to the Holy Spirit's preference) and see the Kingdom come in power.
2. PRAY THE MISSIONARY PRAYER
At one point, Jesus is walking along and a blind man calls out, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus asks him what he'd like done, and the man replies, "Lord, open my eyes." And Jesus gives him his sight back.
This simple encounter is eternally profound. This reveals the missionary prayer: "Jesus, save!" This prayer is resonated from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20. It is the bedrock to everything else. Its a prayer that, like the blind man, begins with us. Jesus, save me from myself; my sin, my idols, my ruin of life lived without you!
As we swim in the grace of Rescue, the prayer continues to pour out: Jesus, save my coworker. Jesus, save my son's teacher. Jesus, save! This simple prayer has changed the course of history innumerable times. Each time you go out your front door, exit your car, or enter some place, pray the missionary prayer: Jesus, save!
3. RE-INTEGRATE YOUR LIFE
From history past, we have been handed a general view of the world that is both individualistic and dualistic. We have a way of making everything about me, and separating things into neat categories.
We have family time, church time, work time, vacation time, ministry time, TV time -- the list goes on! Yet as we begin to identify as disciples of Jesus, the lines become blurry until they begin to go away completely.
As disciples of Jesus things get integrated: how we discipline our kids is also how we tell the story of Good News to our neighbors; how we make strategic business decisions is also how we evangelize our workplace; how we rest and work tells the Gospel story.
One small example of this is how we eat as a family. During the summer, we love eating outside. We have a patio table in our backyard near our BBQ, and those summer nights of fresh salad and tri-tip are some of our favorite family memories. We don't want to lose that, yet we also want to rub shoulders with our neighbors more. If we want to be more missional, does that mean we have to give up precious family memories? Luckily, the answer is "no". We made one small change: we moved our patio table and BBQ from the backyard to the front yard. Now we still eat outside and we still make awesome family memories, but sometimes when we eat outside we get to have conversations with passing neighbors as well.
We don't have to contrive, force, or strive for this integration to happen. We take Jesus for real and make small changes to how and why we do the stuff we already do. We don't wait until the monthly service project to feed the homeless, we buy an extra burger at McDonalds with our kids and walk with our kids across the parking lot and strike up a conversation with someone standing there with a sign.
It can be scary to really take Jesus seriously. To live like he's really King. To believe that he actually wants to win over our neighbors and co-workers. But he does, and he is King! We can trust that he is good, his plans wise, and his intention for our lives perfectly aimed at his glory.
Editor's Note: This content originally appeared on a personal blog. Kaben Kramer works with Global Fellowship. He and his wife, Jenn, and two kids reside in Auburn, C.A. For more from his blog, go to www.tenderlyrooted.com.