The Missional Communities Have Begun!
We have begun our missional community! I am excited for all of those who are willing to participate in this brand new form of ministry at Bailey! It is important that we focus on the missional aspect of what this is about. We are called to go beyond our walls to reach those in our community. This is a vision that the Lord laid upon my heart many months ago, and I am very proud to see it coming to fruition. It is imperative that the church be a place where others know that some one cares for them in a time when it seems much easier to marginalize others. But part of the mission of all Christians is to win others to Jesus Christ. This is done primarily through sharing our story of how Jesus has changed and transformed our lives.
We are going to ask how we go beyond the words to the work that God may be calling us to do. Honestly, this is where it can be the most difficult. Christianity is not a faith that is to be on the sidelines of the world. We are propelled into action through the transformation that has happened in our lives. What happens so much in many churches is that there is fear and anxiety associated with going and being in the community. When we are called to be missional, we are called to go where others may not want to go.
But where do we start? To be a missional church, we must know the people around us. Sometimes we just need to ask questions of our neighbors. I recently listened to an interview of Ruby Sales, who was one of the Freedom Riders in the 1960s. She has a powerful story of going into places in Mississippi to help with voting rights of African-Americans in the Jim Crow South. She was saved by a young clergy person who literally took a bullet for her when he jumped in between her and a would-be assailant and was killed. In that interview, she was discussing all those that she saw (black and white), and what she ascertained from that experience was a question that I think we need to ask ourselves and those around us, "Where does it hurt?"
In a world that harbors much pain, it is easy to try to hide it or sweep it away. Not dealing with the pain and hurt that is in our lives can cause more problems if we allow it to fester. I think her question is one that we need to seriously consider as we become the missional church that God truly wants us to be. Where are the hurts in your life? Where are the hurts of those in our community? What is important to those around us? Sometimes it is easy to look in our community and say what it needs. Sometimes we are right but often we are wrong.
Our missional communities are about being there and forming relationship in the hurts and the joys of life. There are many of us who struggle with hurts, and there are times when our joys can go uncelebrated. I would like to challenge you to ask about the hurts and joys of people around you. My hope is that by taking seriously where others are hurting, it will help us to move into those places where God is already working and join him in ministry. I truly believe that God does not want hurt to go unhealed. That is why we are here – to be used by God to bring healing and wholeness to the community he has placed us.