What does it mean to live a missional life?
To begin to answer this question, I want to share the approaches of two workers who served with OC for 60 years. They were teammates and worked in the same field – education.
The first man is one of the boldest evangelists I’ve ever met. Every conversation he had turned to Christ. He would sit in the immigration office or at a sports game, turn to the person next to him, and say, “Where are you going when you die?”
God would use it. He had spiritual conversations, many leading to praying for and with people. He saw fruit. God used his boldness in incredible ways.
The second man served people. Never much of a talker, he would listen. Children and adults alike would sit in his office and be heard. Despite being the Head of School, he arranged chairs for meetings. He bought and served the snacks. He met new teachers and dorm parents at the airport so they would not have to navigate the bustling city traffic alone.
His fruit was different. His conversations were not always spiritual, but he planted seeds. Those seeds grew, and many he served went on to impact the kingdom around the world.
Did one man live more missionally than the other?
No. God gave and used different gifts in each man. They both lived a missional life.
Live Out the Gospel
Growing up, I realized I would never be like the first man. At the time, I admit, it was a relief. I thought the missional life was not for me. An evangelist, I am not.
Most of us aren’t. But this doesn’t disqualify us from living missionally.
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
Natural gifting in one area or another does not absolve us of the need to do the other. As Paul states, his words were not enough, and this allowed for the Spirit’s power to take over.
A running theme of missional living could be – allow for the Holy Spirit and obey. If he stirs you to speak, open your mouth and let him lead. If he asks you to quietly listen and serve, obey that command.
Tune your heart to the work God is asking of you.
Allow for the Holy Spirit
How do we do this? One Challenge workers who have served decades in ministry give us advice.
“Begin practicing listening for the Lord’s direction for your life and decisions, and obeying what you hear Him telling you. Look for ways in which you can humbly serve others.”– Dan, Philippines for 15+ years, now with OC Global Research
“Plant your roots into the soil of God’s love, take in the nutrients of Scripture, and see your identity as a child of God. Ask the Lord daily, ‘What do you have for me today?’ and listen for His direction and leading.”– Tracy, East Asia 10+ years, now with OC Stewardship ministries
“The first step is to realize that Christ wants to live through everyone. He has called us to be His hands and feet right where we are. All of life is ministry. It does not turn off and on. Every time we interact with anybody, we have the chance to be Jesus to that person and to be used of the Spirit to draw people to Him.”– Barbara, South Africa 20+ years
“Everyone has a testimony, not just of when they came to faith but also of how they have encountered God as they’ve grown in faith. Start by sharing what you’ve learned in the Word, or answers to prayer, or even struggles that have driven you to prayer.”– Donovan, Southeast Asia 10+ years, now Executive Leadership in OC
It’s a privilege to serve alongside these godly men and women. I learn more about the Lord, myself, and how to live a life in tune with the Holy Spirit through these relationships.
If you need help discerning how the Holy Spirit is guiding you, we’d love to come alongside you. Just let us know!
Kelli, Journalist, US-Mobilization Center