Sustaining a Life of Mission
If you missed the last 2 blog posts on Sustaining a Life of Worship and Sustaining a Life of Community then we encourage you to check them out! Today David shares some thoughts on Sustaining a Life of Mission.
In a Missional Communities Blog this might seem an almost unnecessary question. We are about Mission! It’s in the name – ‘Missional Community’. It’s obvious! It’s what we do! Yet as I’ve thought about it the more important it has become in my mind.
As well as the title ‘Sustaining a Life of Mission’ I’ve been asked for some key principles that help sustain me in a life of mission. Some of what follows may seem obvious and basic. None of them are unique. However to be effective in our leadership and sustain a life of mission we need to pay attention to the basics. Having firm foundations on which to build our lives is vital. It is the repeatable and predictable patterns that we bring into our lives that will sustain us through both the excitement and sheer hard work of leading our communities in mission.
It is important that we recognise that we are called to a LIFE OF MISSION. Not a life of doing mission but rather one of living it out.
First and foremost we need to keep developing an ever closer relationship with Jesus. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our Father God is interested in our relationship with him. It isn’t by doing things for him that we build our relationship. It is out of our relationship with him that we do things.
So the first principle is to continually develop an ever closer relationship with him. What helps us in this are the obvious ones of regularly reading the Bible and spending time in prayer and intercession. The challenge is to develop a way of doing this that increases our intimacy with The Father. John 15 gives us a very clear picture of the need to remain close to Jesus. Verse 16 says ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.’ (NIV) We are chosen and appointed! Appointed to go and bear fruit! It’s not an optional extra. It is an essential part of who we are called to be. As part of my daily routine I try to reflect on this and look for ways to live it out.
Huddle is an important part of this process. The questions for a huddle (available here), especially ‘Character Out’, challenge us to keep our focus on being missional. The accountability that a huddle brings is important in keeping us focused and challenged. It is important for all leaders to meet with others in a way that brings both challenge and accountability.
The Triangle is a great tool that helps me check that my life is in balance. Regularly reflecting on this helps me to focus on how Jesus lived his life and as his disciple how I should live. Jesus lived his life in three relationships: Up – with his Father; In – with his chosen followers; Out – with the hurting world around him.
Micah 6: 6,8 gives me a challenge and a place to reflect on how I am sustaining this life of mission. ‘With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?…He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Keeping Scripture in front of me helps to remind me what my calling is.
One of the challenges of being involved in church leadership is that much of my time is spent in the ‘church bubble’. My challenge and priority is to get out of that ‘bubble’. I try to look for opportunities to get out and spend time with those who are not part of the church. I challenge myself to look for people of peace and to engage in non church activities. To keep asking the question, ‘where are my priorities and what am I called to do?’ helps to keep me on track.
To live out a life as a missional disciple we need to keep listening to God and go where he leads.
David Rosser lives in Durham with his wife Jenny. They have been involved in the development and implementation of missional communities for the past 12 years.