The word, in its Christian context, conjures up images of people reaching the ends of the earth. Of starving people. Of building projects. Of helping the homeless in a destitute area.
Of Christians in the local church?
And yet, the question I must ask is why not? Perhaps because we orient the concept of mission with broken people; yet isn’t that to miss the whole point of the church – broken people, through Christ, reaching broken people? Perhaps it’s because we orient the concept of mission as being something that we go some place and do yet as far as I know the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:19) didn’t have a footnote excepting the place where we happen to be currently. Maybe it’s because we orient the concept of mission with conversion and “winning” people to Christ. Yet aren’t even Christians experiencing a daily conversion as they try to die themselves to better follow Christ?
In short, when asked why I don’t orient my concept of mission with the community I share in at my local church I can’t exactly explain it. But I know that I want my idea of mission to change.
Because I am a hurting person.
Because I want people to reach out to me regardless of my physical place.
Because I need to be converted daily.
Maybe, then, my reason is selfish yet I can’t help but feel that we all feel these same desires. To be loved, regardless of who we are or where we are; to be grown by fellow believers around us and to be healed by the power of Christ.
I recently had the incredible opportunity to talk on a Sunday morning to my college group. The theme was “Life on a Mission” yet my pastor gave me almost complete freedom to explore anything I wanted. After prayer and discussion, I felt like God was placing it on my heart to talk about community (something that I’ve both struggled with and been blessed by this summer).
As I thought things through and explored the Scriptures it became quickly clear to me that there is a call to mission, not just on a global scale but on the intimate Christian community scale.
Check out Galatians 6:10: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (ESV). By no means can we treat our call to missionally reach fellow believers as an excuse for not reaching outside our gates but there is a sense that we are called to minister to one another. Intentionally.
May we discover the riches of community as we strive to reach one another and urge one another to a deeper understanding of the beauty and riches of God’s grace and how that works out in our lives.
Grace and peace,