“I’m in church work so I’m around Christians all day. It’s not possible for me to meet people who don’t know Jesus.”
Sound familiar? We often perceive roadblocks to living missionally and feel stuck in the circles of the church world.
PLI believes that God opens up possibilities for relationship with lost and broken people in everyday places.
But what is the key to entering into these everyday places, building relationships, and sharing Jesus? Here are four frustration ending strategies to implement a missional life while in church work.
Start where you are. The simple act of being aware of the pockets and places you already frequent and taking interest in the lives of the people you encounter along the way is key. Who lives next door to me? What faces do I frequently see while at my local gym, coffee shop or public library? Pray that the Spirit would stir in your heart and reveal to you the people He is already placing in your path.
“I’ve frequented the same grocery store each week for eleven years. Over that time I’ve learned the name of one of the store clerks. We’ve shared a bit of life together including veggies from our garden and tips for growing the best produce. One day she shared she was going through a tricky season with her son. I was able to pray with her and follow up in the weeks after.” – Sarah Greiner, D2MC and Leadership Essentials Trainer and Coach
Enter with a posture of humility. It’s easy for us to put on a self-centered spirit, focusing on the “witnessing” we’re doing, not truly caring about the well-being (spiritual and otherwise) of others. Be humble by listening to their story with curiosity. Seek understanding by asking questions. Listening to their story may lead them to ask about your story which ultimately leads to His story. Our story starts with a vulnerability about the messed up parts of our own lives and how God has shown up for us and sustained us, in both the good and bad.
“About a year and a half ago, the Spirit provided a chance encounter with a new neighbor. Our family’s yard was bursting with the laughter that results when you combine children with mountains of raked leaves. In the midst of this chaos, a woman and her son approached. They were in the process of moving in three houses down. God opened doors that day. He gave me the wherewithal to have a posture of curiosity and humility. A year and a half later our lives are intertwined in very unique and powerful ways. Our neighbors are not church members, they’re not baptized. But they are in relationship with us. They trust us. And the Spirit is moving.” –Erin West, D2MC Coaching and Content Leader
Start small and be realistic. Ask God to show you who would be blessed by a little hope and kindness from you in that place. Wave, learn a name or say a kind word. As you engage with others, who responds with an openness to relationship? Over time, continue to build on that openness. Building relationship is the first step towards gaining influence and relationships take time. Choose to be “in” for the long haul and enjoy the ride!
“We’ve grown close to our neighbors over the years. As a result we’ve been introduced to their friends, most of whom are not Christian. God keeps opening doors to one friend in particular. Through a series of unfortunate events in his life, God has used us to provide for this man’s needs in some powerful ways. He’s not yet receptive to Jesus, but he asks questions. It’s been 7 years now. Slow. We need to stay the course and keep saying through our actions, ‘You are loved!’” -PLI Alumni
Celebrate the small stuff. Any step forward is a step forward in faith. Rather than doing nothing out of fear, take one small step of faith and celebrate. Watch to see how the Spirit uses your obedience in the life of another and then keep doing it. This stuff is tough and takes courage, so give yourself grace.
It’s hard to enter new territory and meet new people. We get it. But when we make ourselves available to God, He opens up possibilities for relationship with lost and broken people in everyday places.
Pray: Jesus, open my eyes to see the pockets and places where the Gospel is absent. Give me a missional mindset and a humble spirit as I enter into these everyday places where you are at work. Help me seek ways to partner with you. Amen.
For more teaching infused with encouragement and accountability on the journey, join
Discipleship to Missional Community, November 4-5, 2021
Leadership Essentials, Spring 2022