How does a family "live on mission" in a society that doesn't want much to do with Christ?
Peter understood this dilemma. Writing to Christians who were living as marginalized people in society, he says:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:9-12
Commenting on this passage, Tim Chester and Steve Timmis point out that "our community life gives both substance and credence to our words. It is the means by which our commendation of God's glory and grace is vindicated. We are to live in the midst of an antagonistic world so that others will ask the reason for our hope." Peter continues his letter to his marginalized Christian friends:
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:13-15
Proclamation matters. We are called to "proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness," but it is the example of our lives that provides the context for the reasoned defense of our faith.
Many people think of being on mission as door-to-door evangelism, bringing someone to church to hear the message, or taking an evangelistic class. While these are important, we need to think about living on mission every day in every facet of our lives -- even the seemingly mundane, everyday routines.
In Everyday Church: Mission By Being Good Neighbors, Steve Timmis and Tim Chester provide this exercise to help us learn how to live "on mission" in the day-to-day:
Think of all the activities, however mundane, that make up your normal week:
- Daily routine (like traveling to work, eating meals, chores, walking the dog, playing with children, going to school).
- Weekly routine (like grocery shopping, watching favorite TV programs, getting exercise, going to soccer practice).
- Monthly routine (like gardening, getting a haircut, going to the movies).
For each one, ask where you could add:
- A community component by involving another member of your Christian community.
- A missional component by involving an unbeliever.
- A gospel component by identifying opportunities to talk about Jesus.
As Timmis and Chester write, "Clearly not everything you do can be done with someone else. But this exercise reveals the importance of your day-to-day routine as the context for mission. It is not that hard to invite both Christians and non-Christians alike into those routines. Rubbing shoulders with people in the day-to-day experiences is one of the great opportunities God gives us to live every day on mission!
You will be out and about today by yourself or with your family. Ask God to help you think and live on mission. God works in the everyday, ordinary experiences of your life.
- "Our community life ..." from Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, Everyday Church: Mission By Being Good Neighbors. Inter-Varsity Press. 2011, page 102-3.
- Everyday Church, page 104-105.
- Everyday Church, page 105.