What Does Missional Look Like?

Someone asked me what “missional” looks like.  I tend to resist labels like “missional” because they just become another gimmick for people trying to put butts in their pews.  I tend to just try to live the Gospel as best I can.  But if I had to tell you what being missional looks like to me, it looks something like this:

A 17-year-old girl who thought she had no gifts came into the Kingdom on Friday. On Saturday, she sat down and wept and prayed with a prostitute named Michelle who is a crack addict who lives under the thumb of her pimp (sorry, this is real). Both of them were broken wide open in the encounter.  Michelle is now surrendered to the Kingdom and is getting help from Streetscape (a legitimate street mission) to get off crack, off the street, and away from her pimp. No gifts?!?! Yeah, right. Will Michelle get off crack and out of the life? Well…we’ll see.  Will this 17-year-old let this encounter mark the day that the course of her life changed forever towards the Kingdom? Well…we’ll see.

A 16-year-old boy who surrendered his life to Christ publicly just a week before, brought a 40-year-old homeless man into the Kingdom by being a safe place for the man to pour out his sins and sorrows.  They prayed together right there on the street.  The man wept openly, just let it all out.  The 16-year-old hugged him and just let him cry it all out of him. The man had just confessed his sins to this boy. The man told the boy that he wanted to turn his life over to Christ. The man had come to that same place every Saturday for more than a year and he had never been affected in the way he was that day.  He promised to come back the next week to help others come into the Kingdom.  Will he come back? Well…we’ll see.

Four homeless men who ate at the street mission every day for a week were engaged in prayer and conversation by very recent teen-aged converts and a woman who is a committed Christ-follower.  These Christ-followers gave the men nothing materially that they weren’t already receiving, except that for the first time, the men noticed that they were being listened to and their experience was being validated, not shunned. The Christ-followers didn’t throw a bunch of “Christianese” language at them.  They weren’t dressed in any strange garb.  They looked like anyone else and spoke in language that these guys could understand.  They were warm. They were not offendable.  They affirmed these men in their personhood, and they told these men where they saw the Kingdom of God already at work in them.    The men were astounded that their names were remembered and when they were met at other places in the city by these Christ-followers in other contexts, they were treated like cherished family.  The group prayed together. They left saying that they were going to go and do likewise for other people.  Will they? Well…we’ll see.

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