The holidays are upon us and in my experience you’re either feeling overjoyed by all the parties, presents, and events, or you’re feeling overwhelmed and ready for it all to be over. Either way, you have a list that you’re adding to regularly. The good news is that missional living is not another item to add to your list.
Missional living is a lifestyle that involves doing what you’re already doing ( ie. grocery shopping, raising kids, working a job, being involved in your community, etc.) with intention. Being missional means living as a missionary in your current context and season of life.
Missional living is way of life and not a task to complete. Missional living is not random acts of kindness although those can be incorporated into your lifestyle. Missional living is not serving other Christians. Rick Warren distinguishes service to other Christians as ministry and service to the lost as outreach. While the Bible clearly calls us to love and serve other Christians, it is important to distinguish that fulfilling the Great Commission begins with lost people. Jesus make it clear in Matthew 9:12 that he came for the sick and not the well. Likewise, our missional lives should involve relationships with lost people otherwise we are not being missional at all.
Lets look at the three reasons why missional living is easier at Christmastime:
1. People are more open to Gospel conversations. Even with the secularization of our society you can still find nativity scenes, crosses and other elements that point to the Christ child in public. In shopping malls you can hear carols that speak the truth of the long awaited Messiah. People who never attend church will make an exception at Christmastime. Peoples' hearts are softened as they are exposed to the true message of Christmas. This is is especially true if the person you are hoping to reach faces any loss, pain, or grief around the holidays.
2. There are more social opportunities to develop relationships and have deep conversations. Every party, gift exchange, or trip to the market is a chance to connect the lost to the truth of the Gospel. Right now take a look at your to-do-list. Consider your social engagements as well as smaller tasks like coffee runs or a trip to the salon. Who do you see regularly that God has made part of your mission field? Consider all the opportunities you’ll have to connect with them this season and make the most of them.
3. You are more centered on your faith this time of year. Do you have a manger scene on the mantel or light candles on an Advent wreath? Consider the ornaments on on your tree, the music is playing in your home, and the message your Christmas cards shared. All these simple parts of the Christmas season that we take for granted turn our hearts toward Christ. Brennan Manning says “each sprig of holly is a hint of his holiness. Every cluster of mistletoe is a sign he is here.” At Christmastime you are more effective at missional living because you are more focused on who the mission is about.
So this year as you're stuck at the buffet table behind Phil from Accounting consider why God might continually have your paths intersect. Say a special prayer over that white elephant gift that God may give you the opportunity to connect with whoever receives it. If you’re about to go crazy because you’ve heard the same Veggie Tales movies twenty times in a row, remember that in this season your kids are your mission field. And if your barista happens to the be the same each time you visit the local coffee shop perhaps God is asking you to buy her a cup of coffee? Being missional during this holiday season simply requires you to be intentional and keep your eyes and ears open. You may be having that Gospel conversation sooner than you think.
Joy is a missionary to Downtown Orlando with her husband, Jason, and drool covered Bassett Hound, Sam. She has a degree in Church Leadership and formerly helped manage the Church Planting office of Converge Worldwide. She teaches women how to intersect their faith and life through intentional missional living at joybrudolph.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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