A couple of weeks ago I reflected on what moves me to be missional. This question is in a similar vein – because why try to be missional if life does not happen whenever we seek to be missional?
I meet pretty regularly with two other guys on Wednesday morning for breakfast and on one particular Wednesday, after we had split up to go our separate ways, I received a text: “Thanks for the ministering words today.” My response was: “Appreciate the life that happens between us when we get together.”
In our being missional are we “life-bearers” “life-carriers” in our encountering others? Often when we have a ministry agenda, we come to people in order to live out that agenda – but that may not be conducive to life happening through the encounter. We think we come giving, but in actuality we are there to take something from the other – a response, a commitment to become involved, a commitment to Christ. To come giving is to come in a different way, a different way which gives space for life to happen. We are to come, not with our agendas, but in response to the Spirit’s leading. We are the ones who are to respond, rather than seeking a response from the people we are seeking to be missional among.
Responding to the Spirit’s leading enables life to happen because we come as ones freely giving the life we have received with others the Spirit leads us to. Life is not a commodity that we mete out when people respond in a certain way to our ministry agendas. Rather, life is a gift freely given through us being who we are – followers and disciples of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, filled with the breath of God, filled with the life of Christ. In our relationships, in our conversations, in our being with others, we share, we give, we respond to the Spirit’s leading and as a result we are witnesses to life happening between us and those we are with.
Life happens between us, when we don’t plug up the flow of life with our predetermined action plans for how we are going to be in a neighborhood with people. Life happens when we are open to what the Spirit is already doing, the relationships the Spirit leads us into. Life happens when we, in those encounters which develop into relationships, permit the Spirit to do what the Spirit does best when we don’t try to get in the way, but follow the lead of the Spirit – the Spirit breathes life into the lives of others.
Okay, sure, we cannot be completely programless or agendaless, but let’s keep those agendas submitted to the actions of the Spirit we are privy to witness. Don’t lead with our agendas, rather lead with giving of ourselves in response to the Spirit – be who we are and who we are becoming in Christ – and then see what life happens because the Spirit is free to be the Spirit.
Indeed, when we seek to not take the lead, but to participate with God in God’s mission, we will discover life happening all around us through our encountering for those whom God loves and cares about and to whom we have been sent.