We don’t get to pick “either/or.” It is a distinctly “both/and” proposition.
We live in a day when the church’s influence in our culture and community is waning. In a moment like this, we have to ask ourselves, “How do we as Christ-followers live out our missional calling in a context that is becoming rapidly unchurched and progressively opposed to Christian values and beliefs?”
Scripture gives us an abundance of answers and examples, but perhaps none so compelling as we find in John’s description of Jesus in John 1:14-17:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
So, what do we take away from this portrait of Christ to apply in our own lives and missional efforts as we lead and disciple others?
Invest Deeply and Relationally into Our Communities
First, we have to invest ourselves deeply and relationally into our communities.
We cannot expect to stand on the outside isolated from the existence and experience of our neighbors and hope that others will listen and hear our message. The offer of reconciliation with God we long to share with others will only be effective when we commit to dwell among those we seek to engage. To live in their neighborhoods. To put our kids in their schools. To be invested in their youth programs. To be engaged in their local struggles. To volunteer on local commissions and be involved in community initiatives. Jesus left the comforts of Heaven to come …