In the Fall of 2011, I was just over two years into our life and ministry in Orlando and I was struggling. We had moved to Orlando to plant a church and God had made it clear that our dream of what our ministry would be was not His. I had also grown up in the church and was suffering from a very narrow view of what ministry was. I didn't have a strong support system and I had just survived one of the hardest years of my life.
And I read a lot. And listened to sermons a lot. That sounds innocent enough. But having come from a legalistic faith tradition that didn't hold an accurate view of the Gospel, every preacher I heard or blogger I read made me feel more guilt and shame about what I wasn't doing to serve God.
Then I read an article that changed my life and I realized two things. First, I had spent too much time trying to work for God and not enough time being with God. Second, I realized that I shouldn't be trying to do ministry exactly like everyone else. God had made and gifted me in specific ways and those were the areas where I should seek to serve Him.
Here are the three practical things I implemented that have impacted how I live to this day:
God has called you a "missionary." Act like one: The Bible is clear in Matthew 28 that we are all missionaries. Sharing our faith is not reserved for those in full-time ministry or living overseas but is a command to all who follow Christ. For me calling myself a "missionary to Downtown Orlando" completely changed my perspective and how I lived my day-to-day life.
Discover your third place. Chances are you already have one: A third place is "an informal public gathering place." Perhaps you go to the same coffee shop regularly. Maybe there's a local lounge or café you frequent. Wherever you spend most of your time outside of home and work is your third place. God has planted you in this specific place for the purpose of bringing others to Himself through you.
Do what you love with intention: One of my passions and gifting lies in hospitality and sharing meals others. Perhaps you like to run or create art. Perhaps you have small children or really enjoy gardening. Maybe you love craft coffee roasting. You don't need to add something new to your ever growing list. You simply need to do what you're already doing with intention. Use your passions to connect with others who share the same interest on a deeper level.
These three simple things radically changed my perspective. They helped me to be more intentional with those I encountered in my daily life and they also freed me from trying to do ministry just like someone else.
What are your practical tips for living missionally and sharing your faith? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
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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