Monday, March 16, 2009

Mission and Living in Community

This is my friend, Katy. She attends Crossroads with us and today was her last day in San Diego. She and her husband, along with their four children, will be traveling cross country as they raise support for the mission field. They are currently planning on leaving for the mission field in August. It was a difficult goodbye for several reasons one of which is that I regret that I didn't have the opportunity to spend as much time as I would have liked with someone I have found so much in common with (did I just end that sentence with a preposition? Ugh). She has been such an example of grace to me in the short time I've known her. I've watched her love her children and her husband with humility and courage and delighted in the joys of seeing God miraculously provide for her in the most unusual ways.

In the midst of her family leaving, our church has been facing a major transition as well. We are moving away from a Sunday gathering/attractional service orientation to smaller Missional Communities that meet weekly and then gather all together once or twice a month. To facilitate this move, the leaders have been studying the concept of Missional Communities or "house churches". This week in particular I was convicted and energized by the areas of mission and the gospel that I have been at the very least ignoring and the worst, running full force from. (There's that damn preposition again!) This morning as our church family said goodbye to Katy and her family and prayed over them and their mission overseas, I knew that God was asking us to support them financially. My first, gut reaction was, "Wait! But I want my house! I need a house! We can't afford to commit any more money to another budget line item!" So as I sat there trying to ignore the Holy Spirit, Matt started his sermon... which was about "Living in Mission". Somewhere in the midst of the sermon he went through a list of what living on mission would be characterized by (sorry... my brain is too tired to phrase these sentence without the prep at the end!). The one that jumped out and slapped me upside the head was "foolish generosity". Oh great. Now God wasn't giving me an excuse. So I argued a little...

"Now, God... here's the deal. I know intellectually that making a commitment that financially doesn't make sense right now, in this economy would just not be wise. Besides, while I'm committed to You and to our church, I still don't 'feel' the passion for this community yet. I don't have real roots here. I'm being obedient but I just don't 'feel' it yet."

No sooner had I gone through the whole spiel then I was overcome with sorrow. Sorrow at my lack of faith, sorrow for the lost and sorrow for my lack of action. The tears just spilled. I knew that we would be making the commitment to Katy and her family. I knew it was right and I knew that I was going to have to trust that God really is sovereign and he has called us to foolish generosity.

So, this is how missional community works. As a member of our community enters into the mission that God has called her to, it has ripple effects throughout the rest of the community. It is spurring me on to live more missionally myself, pushing me toward trusting in God's sovereignty and toward obedience. THIS is what Missional Community is supposed to be.

For more information of the types of Missional Communities I am referring to, visit:

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