Being “missional” has a mystique about it. It conjures up notions of creative radicalism in the name of Jesus, or exuberant social justice work, or a new uber-hip way to do Christianity. Yet, that couldn’t be more wrong. ”Missional” means no more than being intentionally ordinary.
Be ordinary, be normal, but do it with intentionality.
It’s not about Christian heroics or headlines, it’s about getting on the right road and staying there. It’s like the ordinariness of a “long obedience in the same direction,” as Eugene Peterson says about discipleship. It’s also about being a “plodding visionary,” as Kevin DeYoung once wrote. It’s about keeping your gaze intently upon the King of the universe while taking small, plodding steps forward – one in front of the other.
The context for being missional is your everyday life: your ordinary job, family, hobbies, social life, obscure activities and simple things. When life is viewed with intentionality, ordinary tasks are no longer ordinary but rather eternally significant rhythms teeming with opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ in context of your life. These natural, unforced rhythms of life is where God is most at work. Seeking him out in the ordinary things, finding out what he’s up to, and joining him in it is the intentionality we need to infuse into our lives.
You enter into the extraordinary by way of the ordinary. Something you have seen a thousand times you suddenly see as if for the first time.
- Frederick Buechner
God’s will for our lives isn’t written out in the stars, it’s to be found in the hum-drum helter-skelter events of our lives. We know this because Holiness itself came wrapped up in ordinariness. Jesus himself stooped to an ordinarily human existence (Philippians 2:5-11). He slept, worked, played, had friends, sang, laughed, and experienced every other ordinary thing we all experience.
“How radical is radical enough?” — That’s the wrong question to ask.
The right question is — “What does God care about?”
What doesn’t he care about? He cares about it all, every aspect of your life. Your coming and going, your thinking and your dreaming, everything. He cares about it all, and his holiness demands we pay attention to our ordinariness. In this way the stay-at-home mom and the barista at the local coffee shop are just as radically missional and important as the orphanage worker in Bolivia and the missionary in Africa. Consider the nature of the Great Commission, the priesthood of believers, the power of the Spirit being poured out, the book of Acts, the truth of the Church, and God’s plan for the world. When you look at all of that you’ll find that God gives his authority, through his son Jesus Christ, to ordinary and failing people to be, go, and act in faith, love, and hope.
What is common about all of us, is what makes this so amazing. Being missional is about specializing in the ordinary. You don’t need a theology degree, you don’t need a title, you don’t even need an agenda. Those are good things and might benefit some, but all you need is the power of God flowing through you and overflowing out of you in both proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel while you spend your days being all-together ordinary.
What God reveals about himself is livable, not just something we observe or study. God reveals himself to us, invites us to live life with him, and sends us out (just like his Son) to participate as the instrument for his mission. There is no mystique about it, being missional is nothing other than being intentionally ordinary. I find comfort in that, and I bet you do too.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT…
How can being intentionally ordinary in the context of your life turn everyday into a holy possibility?