Sunday, July 25, 2010

Questions for Everyday Missionaries (CT)

Collin Hansen writes for Christianity Today, and has penned two superior articles on local missions (Love Where You Live) and Biblical literacy (Why Johnny Can't Read the Bible). Choosing which one to comment on is like choosing between U2's Joshua Tree or Green Day's American Idiot--which, for me, is a hard decision to make. The tip in the balance, though, came in the form of Tom Steers' article Needed: More Monocultural Ministries. It's about ministries specializing to reach just one ethnic group. "You know," I thought, "this would go well with Collin's article on local missions; I could comment on them together." And so I shall. The question is, how could working on just one group of people (Steers) play out in the worksites, schools, parks, and streets of our own neighbourhoods (Hansen)?

School Missionaries and Cliques
Would you aim to reach just one group in your school? Maybe it's the goths. Or it could be the guys in band class; or the jocks; or the drama kids; or the science club; or the art club. I stayed outside of these groups in high school--and I regret it. Joining one of the social groups or clubs in school is a great way to meet other kids and find ways to share the Gospel. It's hard to know the language of the science geeks and know how to talk to the skateboarders; pick one, and you become a specialist missionary with a strategy. Pick one group of people (Steers) in your neighborhood (Hansen) that you can reach out to. In what ways does this strategy make sense to you? In what ways would you disagree with it?

Cults and Societies: the Varieties of Neighborhood
After school ends, who in your city will you work with? Maybe you will only ever be friends with the people at your job; but if that isn't for you, have have some choices: will you be the apologetics guy who works with Mormons and/or Jehovah's Witnesses? Maybe you'll join a yoga class and reach out to the New Age crowd, or attend poetry jams and make the artists your crowd. If you're more of a brawler, join a boxing club or an MMA gym, and that will be where ministry happens for you. In society there are vastly different groups for you to work with. Who is God calling you to spend your time around? Pick one group of people in your neighborhood that you can reach out to. Do you have any ideas about groups that God is calling you to reach?

Planting Your Flag and Building Your Home
When you choose where to live, will you do so with a purpose? In bigger cities, the neighborhoods each have their own sociological subculture. Picking your house or apartment will mean that most of your ministry is going to be to a certain religious or ethnic group, a certain income bracket, and a certain upbringing and set of ideas. All of the parents will send their kids to the neighborhood school, and all of the old-timers will hang out at the neighborhood coffee shop, and all the women will get their hair done in the same place. If you become a regular at these places, you will have a ministry to these people. Before you choose where to live, pick one group of people in your city that you can reach out to. What will you take into consideration before you pick a neighborhood to live in?

Do you see yourself as a missionary? You should. Missions isn't something that people do in another country; it's something that all Christians do, everywhere. Even if it's just you on your own street. Just something I was thinking about after reading this and this. What do you think?

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