Joining Jesus on His Mission - How to Be and Everyday Missionary

  

Session 1: “Jesus is On a Mission”

 

Opening Prayer

“Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say;

And keep me out of your way.  Amen

 

--The daily prayer of Father Mychal Judge, NYFD chaplain, killed in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Session 1 Reading

READER:

Jesus is on the loose in our neighborhoods.  Joining him on his mission is simpler than we think and a lot more fun.  Jesus is on the loose out there in the places where we live, work, and go to school pursuing his father’s mission all we have to do is seek him and join him.  How do we join Jesus on his mission?

  • Learn a key Insight

  • Process the Insight with your group

  • Identify and write down what you’re going to do.

 

READER:

Jesus is already on the move working in the lives of people out there and he intends for us to help him.  The goal of each of these sessions is to help you gain experience and confidence in looking for, recognizing and joining with Jesus in the lives of people that are already around you.

Joining Jesus on his mission—how is Jesus messing with you?  Not how is he messing with you like a bully picking on you, but rather we are talking about how he’s messing with your status quo.  How is he messing with your presumptions about how you live your life as a Christian?  

 

When Jesus “messes” with us he wants to get our attention and he wants us to look up from the daily routines of 

everyday life and notice what he is showing us.  Why does he want to do that? Why does he want to get our attention?  Because he intends for us to join him.   

 

READER:

In a remarkably short amount of time North America has become one of the largest mission fields on the planet.  The odds are very good that right now wherever you live in North America the people in your neighborhood and workplace are unconnected to a local congregation and may not be connected to Jesus at all.  We are no longer a church servicing a community filled with Christians we are now a church who finds itself in a mission field and we weren’t trained for that.

A congregation’s mindset and practices are perfectly calibrated for a culture that is essentially gone.   The church we grew up in the 60’s and 70’s was well suited for the largely churched culture that existed at that time.  In the ensuing decades America has dramatically shifted from a churched culture where most go to church or at least know they should go to church to a mission field where the majority of people do not go to church or feel an obligation to do so.  The trouble is that most churches and church goers continue to think and operate as if the culture is still essentially churched and looking for a church home and it isn’t.   

READER:

This is why so many churches across the country are struggling.  The good news is that Jesus isn’t struggling and in fact he knows exactly what he is doing next.

In the midst of this fast-changing culture, this crazy world that we live in Jesus isn’t ringing his hands and going, “uh, I never saw this coming!”  Instead Jesus is engaging this culture he’s already on the move redemptively involving himself and us as we join him. Jesus says, “come, follow me”, what if he actually meant that?  What if he actually means for us to come with him as he’s redemptively engaging this crazy culture that we all find ourselves in?

READER:

Joining Jesus on his redemptive mission is what we mean by the term “missional living”  “Missional living” is simply living each day as if we were on a mission trip the difference of course is that instead of being on a mission trip to a foreign land we are on a mission trip to our own community, we are neighborhood missionaries.   The word missional is simply a descriptive word indicating that each part of our daily lives can now be seen as part of Jesus’ redemptive mission in our community.  Going out to get the mail, going to the store for a gallon of milk, or going to the school to pick up our kids now has a mission potential.

The best thing about this is joining Jesus on his mission is simpler that we think not more complicated.  We don’t have to worry about trying to add another layer of business on top of an already insane schedule.  What we are talking about is starting to see everything we are trying to pack into a day with Jesus in the middle.  We are joining Jesus in the middle of our busy everyday lives. What we are going to then is simply begin to have a mission mindset that we put into play day by day and put some simple mission practices into play along life’s way.  

READER:

Does the idea of joining Jesus on his mission give you the willies?  There is probably a good reason for that. You might have something precisely backwards.  I used to be afraid that I had to go out for Jesus rather than simply going out with Jesus.  I used to be afraid that I had somehow go out and be a Jesus salesperson rather than being what he is actually inviting us to be, a Jesus follower.  Well the good news is when we are joining Jesus on his mission where we live, work, go to school, hang out it will look like to those people like we’re being a good neighbor, it will look like we’re being a good friend.  As you look around where you live, work, play, volunteer, hang out who are the people that are already there and what’s Jesus up to? Who is he inviting you to notice? And what is he inviting you to do?

READER:

For the sake of clarity, we will define 4 terms we will be using fairly often in this discussion:

Missional Living—is joining Jesus on his redemptive mission and living each day as if it were a mission trip into our own community.  We are Neighborhood Missionaries.

Missional Community—a smaller group of local neighborhood missionaries who gather regularly in order to support each other as they learn join Jesus on his mission.

Neighborhood—is any network of people to which we have regular access.  Who is regularly within our reach? Who are the people who live near us, work near us, play near us, etc.

Neighboring—is any interaction that helps foster friendship between neighbors.  Neighboring puts us into position to find out what Jesus is already up to in the lives of people near us.

BEFORE WE GO:

What was the most significant insight you had as a result of today’s readings and discussion?  What do you think Jesus might be giving you to believe and/or do as a result?  

Here are your assignments for joining Jesus in the coming days:

  • Cross your fence:  Do something to bless or simply converse with one neighbor on your street.

 

  • Cross a social, political or ethnic barrier:  Take someone with you from your missional group.  Consider these ideas: eat at an authentically ethnic restaurant in a part of town that is unfamiliar to you, attend a lecture or event that represents a different part of culture, or visit a church or other religious location with different beliefs than your own.

 

MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER:  As we prepare to head out on our mission adventure with Jesus, take time to ask the person next to you “How can I help you in prayer?”  Write the prayer request below so you won’t forget. 

 

References:

Finke, G. (2014). Joining Jesus on his mission: How to be an everyday missionary. Elgin, IL: Tenth Power.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2008). The tangible kingdom: Creating incarnational community: The posture and practices of ancient church now. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2009). The tangible kingdom primer: An eight-week guide to incarnational community. Place of publication not identified: Missio Publishing.































 

Joining Jesus on His Mission—How to Be an Everyday Missionary

Session 2: “A Mission Mindset”

 

Opening Prayer

“Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say;

And keep me out of your way.  Amen

 

--The daily prayer of Father Mychal Judge, NYFD chaplain, killed in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Session 2 Readings

 

READER:

Here is an important change in mindset for most church members.  Jesus is inviting us to join him on his mission. He doesn’t give us a mission to do for him.  Jesus is on a mission and he invites us to come with him. The first time I realized Jesus was inviting me to come with him and not go for him was a great relief.  If I go for Jesus, I am doing the work and seeing the results of what I can accomplish. Not a good plan. But when I go with Jesus, he is doing the work and I am seeing the results of what he can accomplish.  Now that’s good plan. Only Jesus can do Jesus work, so let him. Our job isn’t to try and do Jesus work for him, our job is to watch for the work Jesus is doing in the lives of the people around us and then to join them.  

 

READER:

Only Jesus can do Jesus work, only Jesus can die on the cross and rise again to take away people’s sin, only Jesus can know what is stirring around in the deep places of a 

person’s heart, only Jesus can prepare a person so that

when he brings us around to them they are ready for that seed of kindness, that pinch of hope, that cool cup of water of grace.  

 

Jesus speaks of this in John chapter 4 when he says to those                                 

with him, open your eyes and look at the fields they are ripe


 

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for harvest.  When Jesus says people are ripe for harvest, he simply means they are ready for good news from God.  If I had been one of the disciples hearing Jesus say this, I would have wondered how anyone could be ripe I haven’t even done anything here yet.  However, Jesus is saying that if wherever we are, we will open our eyes and look at the people around us we can know that the spirit of God has already been at work in their lives long before we arrived on the scene.  So, Jesus says count on it and look for it. God’s already been at work in their lives, they may not understand it, and they probably don’t know it was him. But God has brought many of them to a point where they are ripe to encounter his good news.  Jesus simply wants us to open our eyes and look for these people. So, who is ready for little news that is good in your various neighborhoods?  

 

READER:

For years our family lived on a little farm with apple trees in the front yard.  Apples would form on our trees in the early summer it wouldn’t be too long before they were fully formed and turning red.  However, if we tried to go and pick 

an apple out of the tree too early in the season it would simply refuse  to let go of the branch. What was the problem? The apple wasn’t ready. Now contrast that with our experience in the early fall.   We’d walk outside, we’d be underneath the tree, there’d be all those apples, and just a slight breeze those apples would start raining down on our heads.  What was the difference? The apples were now ready.

   

If people are not ready there will be no harvest no matter how hard you yank on them.  But once they are ready, they will practically drop into your hands. So, open your eyes             

and look around.  Notice who is already there?  Who is Jesus already working on?  Who’s almost ripe? Who’s ready for a                      

little kindness, a little hope, and a little news that is good?  

 

You can count on this, wherever you are, whoever you’re with Jesus is up to something.  We get to join Jesus on his mission. We can do this.

 

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READER:

Mission Mindset Changes—blinding flashes of the obvious, important because they give us a better opportunity to be in a much better place to enjoy being an everyday missionary.

 

The 1st mindset change is the most important.  Jesus is inviting us to come on his mission with him, we’re not going out and doing mission for him, we’re coming along and doing mission with him.  

 

Jesus is on a mission and we’re invited to join him.  So, wherever we are, whoever we are with our job is not to try and do whatever Jesus can do.  Our job is to seek, recognize, and respond to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of people around us.  We’re not responsible for seeing what he is not showing us, we are only responsible for what he is showing us.  Seek and you will find.                         

 

READER:

The 2nd mindset is the river has moved. (Handout 1)  A few years ago, I was looking at a photograph of a river and a bridge, but something was obviously wrong.  The bridge was missing the river! The photograph showed a perfectly good bridge situated beside the river. Not over the river like normal bridges but beside the river.  It looked like someone had gone to all the trouble of building a bridge, but then forgot the main job of a bridge is to span a river. 

 

There was more to the story of this river and bridge that met the eye.  I was looking at the Choluteca Bridge in Honduras and when it was built it did perfectly span the Choluteca River.  In October 1998 hurricane Mitch hit Honduras dumping historic amounts of rain up to 75 inches in some locations. Honduras is a mountainous region and when all that rain came crashing down out of the mountains and into the Choluteca River Valley, it did so with such ferocity that it literally changed the course of the river.  In a matter of days, a perfectly good, well-placed bridge became obsolete. And frankly all these years later looks pretty silly sitting there missing the river.

  

Think of the bridge as the church we grew up in and the river as our country’s culture.  The problem isn’t that we 

 

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READER:

built the wrong church in the wrong place.  The problem is the river moved—our culture has changed.  Over these least several decades a culture and religious hurricane has been churning over us leaving the cultural landscape largely unrecognizable to Christians that came of age in the 70’s—in other words the river has moved.

 

If our main strategy for introducing people to life with Jesus is to have them to come to our church, we may be

increasingly frustrated.   If the people in the community are not coming to church Jesus has this.  Jesus is already

leading his church to go out into the community.  So here is our mission mindset change-- the river has moved but Jesus has got this.  We need to realize we are a mission church in a mission field called North America.

                                    

READER:

The 3rd Mission Mindset is joining Jesus on his mission is simpler than we think and a lot more fun.

To join Jesus on his mission all we really have to do is enjoy people and seek, recognize, and respond to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of the people we are enjoying. 

Can it really be this simple?  And the answer is yes. It’s simple because Jesus is doing all the complicated hard things.  Jesus does the incredibly hard things that requires the Son of God and he gives us the incredibly simple things that requires us to be like a little child.  For instance, love your neighbor, what if we just started doing that. Our part in His mission is simple we make it hard when we worry about doing the Jesus things rather than focusing on what he’s actually given us to do.


 

Did you know that Jesus had a secret weapon for fulfilling his redemptive mission?   It’s simple enough for us to imitate. He enjoyed hanging out with people, a lot. If you start looking for it in the Gospels, you’ll see how often Jesus is hanging out with people, enjoying a meal at their home, or telling stories to folks gathered around, or attending

parties and celebrations with friends and neighbors.  He

watched, listened, shared stories, and shared life.  He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. And when the moment eventually comes to share with them some good news about 

                  

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God it was well received because he had earned their trust as he hung out with them.  

 

READER:


 

Did Jesus choose to hang out with people in spite of having a huge mission with limited time or because he had a huge

mission with limited time?  As we watch Jesus in the Gospels he seems to choose to hang out with people because it’s the most effective way to accomplish his huge mission with limited time.   Such a strategy seems counter intuitive to those of us who are busy, goal-oriented people. We don’t 

have time to spare.  Hanging out with people seems horribly

inefficient to us.  Could it be that a strategy which on the surface seems inefficient ultimately is most effective?      Hanging out and joying people was Jesus’ secret weapon for

winning the world for his father.  It opens the way for friendship and conversation.   So bottom line as inefficient as it may seem to take the time to build friendship and trust with people it is by far the most effective way and most enjoyable way to actually join Jesus on his mission.

                                       

BEFORE WE GO:  

What was the most significant insight you had as a result of today’s readings and discussion?  What do you think Jesus might be giving you to believe and/or do as a result?  

 

Look at Handout 2 “My Neighborhoods & the People I know”.  Take some time in the next week to complete this form. As you think about the various people in your “neighborhoods”, what would it take to create the time and space to occasionally hang out with them and enjoy them like we see Jesus doing in the Gospels?  

 

Here are your assignments for joining Jesus in the coming days:

  • Develop a neighborhood prayer map. (Handouts 3 & 4)

  • Take a moment to pray this prayer:  “Dear Jesus, you have placed various neighbors nearby me.  Who is ripe for some unhurried time with me and You? Amen”  

  • Which person or family came to mind during the prayer?  Write down their name(s). (Perhaps Jesus has been preparing them for such a time as this.)  What could be your plan for hanging out with this person within the next month? Follow-up on this plan.



 

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MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER:  As we prepare to head out on our 

mission adventure with Jesus, take time to ask the person next to you “How 

can I help you in prayer?”  Write the prayer request below so you won’t forget. 

 

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NOTES:

 

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References:

Finke, G. (2014). Joining Jesus on his mission: How to be an everyday missionary. Elgin, IL: Tenth Power.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2008). The tangible kingdom: Creating incarnational community: The posture and practices of ancient church now. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2009). The tangible kingdom primer: An eight-week guide to carnational community. Place of publication not identified: Missio Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Jesus on His Mission—How to Be an Everyday Missionary

Session 3: “Seeking What’s Already Happening”

 

Opening Prayer

“Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say;

And keep me out of your way.  Amen

 

--The daily prayer of Father Mychal Judge, NYFD chaplain, killed in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Session 3  Reading

READER:

How to seek, recognize, and respond to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of the people we are already enjoying.

 

Most people think that seeking and recognizing what Jesus is already doing around them must be the most difficult part of joining Jesus on his mission.  After all, wouldn’t that require a skill set that’s much higher than most Christians have?

 

Turns out seeking, recognizing and responding to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of the people around us is pretty simple.   

 

We aren’t being asked to seek what isn’t happening but to seek what is happening.  We’re supposed to simply open our eyes and look. On the other hand, if we don’t seek, we won’t find.  And that’s why at least at this point many of us don’t really know what Jesus is up to in the lives of the people around us.  It’s not that he is inactive, it’s that we are inattentive. But if we will seek, we will find. When Jesus speaks of this in the gospel of Matthew the literal Greek translation of that could be rendered “he who keeps on seeking will find”.  There is an ongoing verb tense that he uses “He who keeps on seeking will find”. In other 

 

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words, he who seeks as a persistent habit will find.  So what Jesus is inviting us into is a persistent habit of seeking not just an occasional hobby.  His promise is very simple if we keep on seeking, we will find what God is already showing us.

 

READER:

How do we keep on seeking, recognizing and responding to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of the people around us?  We pay attention to what he is showing us. Who has he put around us? Where is a little bit of kindness needed? A little bit of grace?  A little bit of time needed to make a difference in that person’s life.

 

The kingdom of God is God himself and came into the created world through Jesus.  When Jesus arrived here, he unleashed the promised season of world redemption. It is happening now.  Wherever God is redemptively present and active his kingdom is at work. We can seek it, recognize it and join with it.

 

READER:

For those living within the kingdom, love is the evidence of the redemption the kingdom has brought.  For those living without the kingdom, human need is the evidence that the kingdom is near and working toward bringing redemption.

 

We learn to seek and recognize the kingdom in this way by watching Jesus in the Gospels.  He recognizes the human need around him and begins to respond to it. Think about how often we see Jesus pressing in and

coming near to those in need.  There were those who had

physical needs, like those who needed healing or food.  But there were also those who had spiritual, emotional and relational needs as well.

 

READER:

What Jesus did in the Gospels he is still doing today.  What Jesus said in the Gospels he’s still saying today.  

 

The more we watch and listen to Jesus in the Gospels the more we will recognize what we are seeing and hearing from him in our daily life.

 

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We cannot redeem and restore people to the Father’s kingdom.  That is the job of Jesus. Our job is to see who is ripe for his redemption.

 

We are Jesus with skin on.  We are a tangible glove for his intangible hand.  We are how people experience Jesus. Through our hands people experience the hands of Jesus.  

Through our voice people hear the voice of Jesus.  

Through our service people experience the care of Jesus.  Through our face people see the face of Jesus.  

 

Jesus brings himself to people through us.  In American Christianity, too often we think we have to do something big for Jesus in order for it to count.  But Jesus doesn’t seem to point to such things in the Gospels.

 

When Jesus shows us how to join his mission he points to little things, things that are within our reach, things that may not be noticed by thousands of people but will make a difference to one.

 

READER:

Does it scare you to think of yourself as a missionary?  Do you worry you’ll mess up God’s work?

 

The good news is that Jesus isn’t counting on us being perfect missionaries.  He knows we mess up. In fact, he’s counting on it. He knows that even the simpler aspects of

living missionally will get away from us sometimes.  We

get distracted.  We get selfish. We stop watching.  We stop responding when Jesus tees it up for us with a

person he has been preparing.  We blow it.

 

Do you use GPS?  What happens when you miss a turn?

“Recalculating”  No matter how lost or far off course we end up the GPS knows how to get us where we need to go.  GPS’s were set up for imperfect people like us.

 

Jesus knows we’re imperfect, too.  He is prepared for this. He knows how to work all things according to his purpose.  When we miss our missional opportunity, we repent, and he recalculates. We may not be very good at being missionaries, but he is very good at being God.

              

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BEFORE WE GO:

What was the most significant insight you had as a result of today’s readings and discussion?  What do you think Jesus might be giving you to believe and and/or do as a result?

 

This is your assignment for joining Jesus in the coming days:

 

  • Spend some time next week in a shopping mall, a busy café, or a coffee shop.  Simply sit still and look at the faces that go past you. Imagine some of the things that might make up their life stories:  sadness, abuse, abandonment, broken relationships, sexual mistakes, unemployment fears, lack of purpose, broken marriages, deep debt, bankruptcy, loneliness, despair, pressure to measure up, desire for community, searching for God, parents who haven’t understood or for their children well.  Pray for them.  

 

  • Take some time next week to bless one person, without any strings attached and without trying to talk about God or getting any acknowledgment.  To be Jesus with skin on to someone.


 

MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER:  As we prepare to head out on our mission adventure with Jesus, take time to ask the person next to you “How can I help you in prayer?”  Write the prayer request below so you won’t forget. 

 

NOTES:

 

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References:

Finke, G. (2014). Joining Jesus on his mission: How to be an everyday missionary. Elgin, IL: Tenth Power.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2008). The tangible kingdom: Creating incarnational community: The posture and practices of ancient church now. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2009). The tangible kingdom primer: An eight-week guide to incarnational community. Place of publication not identified: Missio Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Jesus on His Mission—How to Be an Everyday Missionary

Session 4: “The 5 Mission Practices”

 

Opening/Greeting

Welcome and greet participants as they arrive

Ask any new participants to introduce themselves 

 

Opening Prayer

“Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say;

And keep me out of your way.  Amen

 

--The daily prayer of Father Mychal Judge, NYFD chaplain, killed in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Session 4  Readings

READER:

When we were on a mission trip, our teams would gather every morning to hear from Jesus in his Word and be reminded that he was going to be out there on the loose that day.  Then, after the day was completed, we                     

gathered together to report back to each other what we had seen God doing and how we were able to be a part of it.

 

After several mission trips we realized these mission practices were really very effective and needed to be carried home into our everyday life.  Once we became a little more intentional about putting these practices into play, we found out how easily they could be incorporated 

into our daily lives.  The key to that was that instead of trying to think about how we layer one more church program on top of an already overbooked busy life.  We realized there are 5 practices that can be put into play as part of our busy everyday life.     

 

It was very important for us to meet with our small group of fellow missionaries and unpack our mission stories

 

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together.  Like we’ve told you before that gathering of missionaries, we call a “missional community”.   A missional community can be thought of as mission with a little help from our friends.  

 

When we regularly gather together with others, we find ourselves receiving the critical encouragement, insight, and accountability we need to head back out and join Jesus again for another week.  But if we don’t regularly gather with our likeminded missionary friends, we tend to find ourselves going back to normal. Gathering together regularly (like you’ve been doing during this training process) is a key part to joining Jesus on his mission in everyday life.

                                      

READER:

As Neighborhood Missionaries, we have 5 simple mission practices we put into play as part of everyday life.  These

practices position us to enjoy people and seek, recognize and respond to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of 

of people we are enjoying. 

 

SEEKING THE KINGDOM

Our first mission practice is what Jesus says to do first of all—seeking the kingdom.  Seeking the kingdom becomes our first practical step in being able to actually join with what Jesus is already doing.  So, what is Jesus showing you? Who are the people that are already nearby? What is he inviting us to notice? What is he inviting us to do? 

 

You don’t have to think big you can think small.  What are the little things that are right at hand?  Jesus doesn’t say the kingdom of God is like a big thing, he says the kingdom of God is like a little thing like a seed, like a

pinch of yeast, like a cool cup of water.  So, as we look around whom is Jesus showing us that could use a seed of

kindness, a pinch of hope, a cook cup of water of grace?

 

It often looks like human need.  Isn’t it good to know we don’t have to manufacture or manipulate kingdom opportunities?  All we have to watch for them. It’s God’s 

                                 

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job to manufacture them and our job to watch for them.                              

 

READER:

HEARING FROM JESUS

Hearing from Jesus is becoming so familiar with Jesus in the Gospels that we’re better able to recognize and respond to what Jesus is doing in our everyday lives.  What Jesus was saying in the gospels he is still saying today and what he was doing in the gospels he is still doing today.  

 

Allow Jesus to continue discipling us and guiding us into his mission by opening one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and joining the crowd following Jesus around.  Listen to what he actually said. Watch what he actually did. Ask yourself, “What if Jesus means this? How does he want me to respond?” Hint: It usually begins with “humbling myself.”

From God       Through us To others     

                                   

READER:

TALKING WITH PEOPLE

Think about how many people are regularly within our proximity.   Same people, same places, same time, week after week. Do we take the opportunity to notice them or do we look past them?  There are neighbors we have never met; there are co-workers we never thought of beyond work logistics or politics. How often have we successfully ignored the people right around us?  We look                               

straight ahead pretending no one is there and in our culture,  we call that normal. What if that began to change? It boils down to this simple realization:  Jesus

can do more with two people who are talking with each other than he can with two people who are successfully ignoring each other.   What if we started noticing the people God has regularly placed nearby? What’s their name? Where are they from? What’s their story?

 

But if you’re more of an introvert the idea of initiating and sustaining conversation can be pretty uncomfortable.  

The good news for the introverts is that the practice of talking with people is more about listening than it is about

talking.  It’s more about asking good questions than it is about sustaining chit chat.

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READER:

It says in Matthew 9 that when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them.  What if we started seeing the people around us like Jesus did? What if we started seeing them with compassion?  We can certainly do that with strangers that come across our path along life’s way. But what if we also became more intentional about noticing and talking with people that are regularly within 

our reach like our neighbors, co-workers, our classmates?  What if we began to get to know them beyond the simple masks that we often present to each other and really got to know who they are, what their story is?

 

Does talking with people guarantee something spiritual will happen?  No, but not talking with people guarantees that it won’t happen.  

 

READER:

DOING GOOD

We are Jesus with skin on.  When we find out what someone is ready for, we step in and help.  What good can we do that will make Jesus’ intangible love and goodness tangible to people around us?

 

What if those random acts of kindness aren’t so random 

after all?  What if the unplanned good we are able to do in 

a neighborhood is actually planned out by God in advance?  In Ephesians 2:10 it says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.”    A very simple way for us to begin to be in position to join Jesus on his mission is by simply looking for people that are ready for a little good.

 

Sometimes we can plan in advance to do something good 

for someone.  But often what God has planned in advance for us to do looks spontaneous to us.  We didn’t plan it, but we were looking for it therefore when the opportunity came up, we recognized it and were able to bless someone. 

 

Jesus talks about this kind of good being done for others as being like seeds.  The good God has prepared for us to do will often seem small to us, but we should never

 

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underestimate its significance in the redemptive plan of Jesus.  Jesus speaks of little seeds through which God grows mighty works.  Our job is not the mighty works our job is the little seeds. While we can plant seeds of goodness and grace in the lives of anyone Jesus brings across our path what if we regularly planted seeds in the people who are regularly within our reach?  

                                          

READER:

MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER   

When you have been seeking the kingdom, hearing from Jesus, talking with people, and doing good people start to find out that you really do care about them, that you are approachable, that you are someone they can talk to about what is going on in their lives.

 

And when they do that when they share a burden or a fear, we can either say something like, “Wow that’s overwhelming, good luck with that!” Or we can say, “Wow 

that’s overwhelming would you like me to pray with you about that?”  If they say no that’s o.k. but what we found over the years is that when people share their difficulties with us, they usually are genuinely thankful to have someone offer to help them in prayer.

 

Doesn’t that sound like the most terrifying by far?  It is until you realize it’s not about you and your comfort level.  

If you focus on yourself, you are terrified but if you focus

on the fact that you are getting to pray for someone you 

care about and you focus on them and their fear and their

pain and their need for hope you will find that you are less

terrified.  In fact, it can be pretty awesome.

 

When you offer to pray with someone in that moment you are helping to move them from an offer of prayer to an actual encounter with the king of the kingdom.  If you’re worried about what words to use don’t be. Simply is

 good.  Brief is good.  In the name of king Jesus is good.

After all, when it comes to ministering through prayer                                        

what’s most important is not getting your words right but inviting your king in. 



 

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READER:

Those are our 5 missional practices and that is how we join Jesus on his mission every day.  As simple as those 5 practices are there is an underlying question that begins to nag at us fairly early on, “Do we have time for this?”  How does a person that already has a busy hectic life find time to have a missional life to? Layering one more set of responsibility on top of an already hectic life seems to be a deal breaker for most of us in joining Jesus on his mission.  

 

But that is not what Jesus is asking us to do.  He’s not asking us to give up our current life and responsibilities for a missional life.  Jesus wants us to see that our current life and responsibilities is our missional life. He has already placed us where he wants us to be on mission all we have to do is open our eyes and look for what he is already up to.  Each day when you are running like crazy to keep all your life and family plates spinning watch for opportunities to put the 5 practices into play and see what Jesus does.  

 

  • Seek what the Kingdom is already showing you

  • Listen for the words He is already speaking to you

  • Talk with the people that He is already bringing across your path 

  • Do the good that He’s prepared in advance for you to do

  • Pray, pray with people and for people.

 

BEFORE WE GO:

What was the most significant insight you had as a result of today’s readings and discussion?  What do you think Jesus might be giving you to believe and and/or do as a result?

 

Looking at the Gospels we are challenged by Jesus describing his own mission in very practical, concrete terms.  Jesus list of priorities seems surprisingly devoid of lofty spiritual concepts. Rather, by announcing himself as the fulfillment of all the promises of Isaiah 61, he steps directly into the real world of pain, disappointment, and brokenness. 

 

This is your assignment for joining Jesus in the coming days:

  • Where is God already at work in our neighborhood?  In our city?

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Look for the work of Jesus among the following people:  the poor, the brokenhearted, those in captivity, the prisoner, those who are in mourning, those who are in despair.  Grab a telephone book or use the internet to make a list of people and organizations who are helping to bring redemption.

 

  • Where in your life do you interact with people from the list you made?

Think about people in your “neighborhoods”.  Make a list of places where your life interacts with God’s activity in their lives.

 

  • In the next week be “good news” to some of the people in the above lists.  Send flowers or a gift card, mow a law, mentor a young person, help someone for free—construction, decorating, babysitting, cooking, etc.  Think about blessings in these 3 categories words, actions, gifts. Ask God to show you people you can intentionally bless this week.

 

MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER:  As we prepare to head out on our mission adventure with Jesus, take time to ask the person next to you “How can I help you in prayer?”  Then each person takes the time to pray out loud for the person beside them.

 

NOTES:

 

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References:

Finke, G. (2014). Joining Jesus on his mission: How to be an everyday missionary. Elgin, IL: Tenth Power.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2008). The tangible kingdom: Creating incarnational community: The posture and practices of ancient church now. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2009). The tangible kingdom primer: An eight-week guide to incarnational community. Place of publication not identified: Missio Publishing.






































 

Joining Jesus on His Mission—How to Be an Everyday Missionary

Session 5: “How to Join Jesus Every Day”

 

Opening/Greeting

Welcome and greet participants as they arrive

Ask any new participants to introduce themselves 

 

Opening Prayer

“Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say;

And keep me out of your way.  Amen

 

--The daily prayer of Father Mychal Judge, NYFD chaplain, killed in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Session 5  Readings

READER:

So, you drive into your driveway shift into park and you’re there.  Look around this is your mission field otherwise known as your neighborhood.  In the last segments we’ve been focusing on the mindset and practices that put us in position for joining Jesus every day.  Jesus is on a mission and he invites us to join him. To join Jesus all we really                                   

have to do is enjoy people, and then seek, recognize and respond to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of the people we are enjoying.   We’ve been focusing on the seeking, recognizing and responding part by putting the 5 practices into play during our everyday lives. 

 

Now we’re going to focus on the enjoying people part—we call it neighboring.  Jesus is already on mission in the lives in our neighbors but as we get to know them and enjoy them, we are in a better position to seek, recognize and respond to what Jesus is already up to in their lives.  So how do we do that? If your neighborhood is anything like ours on any given day your probably won’t see many neighbors around. Why? Because in our culture we share the habit that once a person arrives back in their 

 

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neighborhood after a busy day of work or running kids we park our car and head inside.  

READER:

So, when we moved into our neighborhood several years ago it was not surprising to be able to stand on our new driveway and look around our neighborhood and not see any neighbors.  We knew they were in there somewhere but in order to get to know them it could be a real challenge. Of course, it would have been easy just not to bother. After all, here in America that would be called normal.  We said 53% of Americans have almost no one to talk to and there are reasons for that. One of those reasons is that we could live within 20 feet of other people and its normal not to get to know each other. Recently I read that 30% of Americans don’t know any of their neighbors.

                                     

READER:

Believe or not God put you in your neighborhood for his purpose.  You may have moved into your neighborhood a few days ago or a few decades ago.  But either way it’s not too late for you to start to get to know your neighbors and begin to join with what Jesus is already doing in their lives.   And remember our neighborhoods are not just confined to the places we call home. God has put us in a variety of places where we regularly see the same people where we work, go to school, volunteer, and play.  

 

We make mission so much harder and more awkward

when we neglect the simplest ingredient:  getting to know our neighbors. What’s their name?  What’s their story? What’s Jesus already been up to in their life?

 

If you say you’re “all-in” for joining Jesus on His mission, it starts with actually loving your neighbor which means hanging out with them.  If joining Jesus on His mission seems to be stalled for you or taking a really long time to gain traction, the diagnosis is simple: you probably haven’t gotten around to loving your neighbor yet and hanging out with them regularly.

                                          

READER:

There are all different kinds of ways you can get to know and enjoy your neighbors whether you are an introvert or 

extrovert.  Fact is God made you just the way He wants

                                            

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READER:

you to be and he uses both introverts and extroverts as neighborhood missionaries.  The extroverts have to crank up the party and the introverts have to actually listen to people.

 

When Jesus says, “Love your neighbor,” He doesn’t want you to just memorize the words, or discuss it’s meaning in church, or recite it in the original Greek.  He wants you to go home and do it.  

 

Here is a simple formula to describe how neighboring works:  Unhurried time plus proximity plus activity (usually involving food) equals conversation which when multiplied over time equals friendship.

 

NEIGHBORING FORMULA

    Unhurried Time

    + Proximity

    + Activity

    Conversation

    X Time

    FRIENDSHIP  

    

Take a look at Handout 2 for a “Neighboring Model”   

                                  

BEFORE WE GO:

What was the most significant insight you had as a result of today’s readings and discussion?  What do you think Jesus might be giving you to believe and and/or do as a result?

 

Now we are ready to plan our first Neighboring Event.  We will plan a “Community Soup” meal together.

 

Who will we invite?  _____________________________________________

 

What will be the date for the event?  _______________________________

 

Where will it be held?  ___________________________________________

 

When will we have invitations out? _________________________________

 

Planning Notes:__________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________

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______________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________

 

MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER:  As we prepare to head out on our mission adventure with Jesus, take time to ask the person next to you “How 

can I help you in prayer?”  Then each person takes the time to pray out loud for the person beside them.

 

NOTES:

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

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References:

Finke, G. (2014). Joining Jesus on his mission: How to be an everyday missionary. Elgin, IL: Tenth Power.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2008). The tangible kingdom: Creating incarnational community: The posture and practices of ancient church now. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Halter, H., & Smay, M. (2009). The tangible kingdom primer: An eight-week guide to incarnational community. Place of publication not identified: Missio Publishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Jesus on His Mission—How to Be an Everyday Missionary

Session 6: “The Missional Community”

 

Opening/Greeting

Welcome and greet participants as they arrive

Ask any new participants to introduce themselves 

 

Opening Prayer

“Lord, take me where you want me to go;

Let me meet who you want me to meet;

Tell me what you want me to say;

And keep me out of your way.  Amen

 

--The daily prayer of Father Mychal Judge, NYFD chaplain, killed in the 9/11 attacks.

 

Session 6  Readings

READER:

Aren’t most things easier when you have a little help from your friends?  Over these last several weeks we have been regularly gathering together as we learned how to join Jesus on his mission in our everyday lives.   Our group has become what we call a missional community. By gathering together regularly like we have done we

provided each other the key encouragement, insight and

accountability we needed to be able to head back out into our lives and join Jesus for another week.  Our missional community is also the key to us staying intentional and inspired for our long-term mission adventure with Jesus.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25 says this very thing:

“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one other and all the more as we see the Day approaching.”  

 

The writer to the Hebrews could be talking about our missional community.  Let us consider how we can                                  

                                   

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regularly meet together in order to spur one another and how we could be a way by which the love of God and the good of God gets loose in the lives of our neighbors.  

 

And let us encourage each other.  Why, because we can get discouraged.   And all the more as we see the day when Jesus brings finally brings all things to conclusion approaching.

 

READER:

“Community” is a word with many meanings and contexts.  It’s an ideal, a hope, and a need. It’s the foundation of 

any group or church and requires people to interact, share 

and participate in a common effort.  It’s similar to a team sport that requires individuals to prioritize the involvement of others in order to success.

 

Community cannot be created in isolation, nor does it happen without action.  It requires people to navigate the tensions of interpersonal relationships.

 

One of the major barriers that prevents us from moving into community is individualism.  Our culture glorifies the pioneer, the lone hero, and the overachiever, but in reality, this individualism tends to work against community 

by prioritizing things done in isolation over things done with others.

 

Creating community doesn’t come easily, but when it happens, the rewards are worth the effort.

 

READER:

We gather together for the encouragement, insight, and accountability we need for joining Jesus.  How we provide that is by asking five questions: (Handout 1)

  • How did you see God at work this week?

  • What has Jesus been teaching you in his Word?

  • What kind of conversations are you having?

  • What good can we do around here?

  • How can we help you in prayer?

 

In a missional community we create the time and space we need to be able to sort out the stories we have of what Jesus seems to be up to in the lives of people around us.

 

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The five questions are the catalyst we need to sort through those stories with some likeminded friends.  

READER:

The five mission practices put us into position to join Jesus on his mission every day.  Neighboring is about creating the time and space to be with your neighbors so

you can to get to know them and start to enjoy them.  And your missional community is about using the five questions for the encouragement, insights, and accountability you need to stay inspired and intentional for your long-term mission adventure with Jesus.

 

Every Sunday, our congregation will gather around Jesus through His Word and sacraments and is then sent out to join Jesus as He carries out His mission in the world. Joining Jesus in His mission is what is meant by missional living.

 

Missional living is not about changing Sunday mornings but about what happens the rest of the week “out there” in the world, where our congregation lives, works and goes to school.  When people support each other in seeking the Kingdom of God in the places they already live, work and go to school, really cool things begin to happen regularly!

 

And now a responsive reading:

 

ALL:

What are you doing today?

 

READER 1:    

Some of us are going to work.

 

READER 2:

Some of us are managing the household.

 

READER 3:

Some of us are going to school.

 

READER 1:

Some of us are taking a day off to relax or go on a trip or catch up.

 

READER 2:

Some of us are going to the hospital or undergoing treatment.

 

READER 3:

Some of us are retired but volunteering or engaging in our daily routines.

                                    

 

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READER 4:

Whatever you are doing today; in the midst of the usual or unusual; whether it is clear or uncertain; in, with and under what is already happening around you . . . 

 

READER 1:

Seek the Kingdom of God.

 

READER 2:

Watch for the activity of God.

 

READER 3:

Look for what Jesus is already up to.

 

READER 1:

Seek to see what is already happening around the edges…the hints, the glimpses, the nudges.

 

READER 2:

Be attentive because He is out there…on the loose…showing us stuff that we can perceive and recognize. . .

 

READER 3:

if we watch.

 

READER 4:

Be assured of this:  He is on His mission even while we are distracted.  He is fulfilling His purpose even when we aren’t paying attention.  He is messing with people even though we misinterpret and think they are just irritating.  He is staying on time and true to His word. This is what He is doing today.

 

ALL:

And He invites us to join Him.

 

READER 4:

“The Kingdom is near…believe the good news.  Seek and you will find. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  Seek first the Kingdom and all these things will be given to you as well. Come follow Me.”

 

READER 1:

Whatever you are doing today, in the middle of the routine or the rush, watch for what is already happening.

 

READER 2:

Seek the Kingdom of God in the midst of it.

 

READER 3:

And join Him.

 

ALL:

What are you doing today?


 

BEFORE WE GO:

What was the most significant insight you had as a result of today’s readings and discussion?  

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What do you think Jesus might be giving you to believe and and/or do as a result?

 

MINISTERING THROUGH PRAYER:  As we prepare to head out on our mission adventure with Jesus, take time to ask the person next to you “How 

can I help you in prayer?”  Then each person takes the time to pray out loud for the person beside them.

 

NOTES:

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

_________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

__________________________________________________

 

BENEDICTION:

 

And now a benediction of sorts: 

 

It’s time for you to go out and start that new life of being an everyday missionary.  

 

No need to worry, no need to be afraid this is just what Jesus has been preparing you for.  

 

Remember, you are not being sent out for Jesus you’re being invited to go along with Jesus.  

 

And you will have a little help from your friends. 

 

So, join Jesus redemptive mission, in the name of the Father who has been pleased to give you his kingdom, in the name of the Son who has risen from the dead and is on the loose in your neighborhood, and in the name of the Holy Spirit who has given you eyes to see and a heart to respond to the people Jesus has placed around you.  Amen! 

 

Now, go have fun joining Jesus on mission! 

A MISSIONAL PEOPLE

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