God desires the redemption of the world and actively works to bring about His ends. That’s the overarching story of the Bible. Some call this the mission of God.
Followers of Jesus participate in the mission of God.
For easy reference, let’s use “missional living” to describe the efforts of Jesus’ followers to participate in God’s earthly work.
When my husband and I first moved to McPherson, Kan., with our four kids, we were faced with all of the challenges of entering a new community and setting up a household. As followers of Jesus, one challenge was to figure out how to best participate in the mission of God in a new place. My husband integrated immediately into the rhythms of God’s kingdom at Central Christian College of Kansas, but I found myself juggling the demands of birthday parties, soccer and school without much time to research community needs and find places to advocate for God’s redemptive purposes.
I discovered that birthday parties, soccer games and school involvement have been the richest source of engagement with kingdom purposes in our community. I have been able to meet people who may or may not be involved (yet) in the local church but definitely desire to talk about things of eternal significance.
D. Michael Henderson’s “Making Disciples: One Conversation at a Time” challenges church leaders to “spend a lot of time training people to be good friends, good neighbors and good family members.” Henderson suggests, “Most churches don’t produce very healthy disciples because they don’t encourage healthy friendships.”
For me, living with an eye toward local mission has worked itself out in friendships made through the natural connections that come as a part of family life.
Local connections set the stage for my global engagement through advocacy related to the Set Free Movement. The opportunity came through our local church’s involvement with Ginger Coakley and Kevin Austin. When their stories of human trafficking gripped my heart, I began learning all I could about the cause of abolition. Austin says, “Each of us has a role to play in ending modern-day slavery and creating new futures. Who are you? What skills do you have? Whatever you do — do it in the direction of freedom.”
While I have not yet traveled globally in this cause, we have been able to give to global efforts and speak to news agencies and other service clubs in the community on behalf of freedom.
Missional living is not a program or something to add to our to-do list. For me, missional living simply means doing life with an intentional eye to God’s redemptive purpose. It’s taking seriously Jesus’ call to: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 KJV). The hymn “Let Your Heart Be Broken” says it this way, “Add to your believing deeds that prove it true, Knowing Christ as Savior, make Him master too. Follow in His footsteps, go where He has trod. In the world’s great trouble, risk yourself for God.”
I want to risk myself for God here in my community and around the world. Will you join me?
DISCUSSION: In which natural connections in my community can I be more intentional about the content of my conversations?  How can I learn to advocate for God’s kingdom purposes within existing local relationships and organizations?
Wendy Lorenz, an ordained Free Methodist elder, is a mom of four school-age children and co-leader of the Set Free Movement’s McPherson chapter. Her husband, Glenn Lorenz, is chairman of the ministry and theology department at Central Christian College of Kansas.0