Charles Spurgeon once said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” This is strong language for an important message. Most modern Christians think of a missionary as a person who leaves home behind to do gospel ministry elsewhere. According to this definition, missionaries are a chosen few who give up everything to serve God. They return occasionally to show a slideshow on Missions Sunday at Church. This concept of missionary is not necessarily inaccurate but is limiting and incomplete. In reality, the Scripture makes clear that every follower of Jesus is on mission. To be a missionary is not the job of a professional but is a part of my very identity as a follower of Jesus.
So, how can the average follower of Jesus live on mission every day? Consider these three venues as a starting place:
1. Location (Live)
Every one of us lives in a particular area surrounded by other people. We live in apartments, condos, single-family homes and college dorm rooms. Unless you live in a Christian compound, you are surrounded with people who are not in right relationship with their Creator. If God is sovereign enough to place you where you live, is he not sovereign enough to stir the hearts of those around you? You are likely the only person on mission in your whole neighborhood. Do you know your neighbors? Have you tried to meet them? A great way to get started living on mission is to begin to get to know those around you. Be available, present, kind, and compassionate. You may be surprised to see the doors the gospel opportunities in time that will come your way.
2. Vocation (Work)
Whether you love your job or feel stuck in your job, you are not there by accident. In your work, you most likely interact with people at some level. You may be the only example of Christ that your customers, employees, patients, or coworkers will ever see.
If God is sovereign enough to place you in a particular vocation, is he not sovereign enough to stir the hearts of those that you work with and around? You are on mission in your work environment. This does not mean that you smack everyone at work with your Bible. Work hard and do your job with integrity. Look for opportunities to be loving and caring. See yourself as a missionary in your work world. In time you will see God bring gospel opportunities in your work environment.
3. Recreation (Play)
For several years, I played basketball three days per week with mostly non-Christians at a local gym. While I was planting a church, this became a great outlet for meeting non-Christians and having gospel conversations. Over time I learned that this was not just about basketball but that I was on mission in this environment. Living on mission involves doing what you love to do but with gospel intentionality. What is it that you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies? Enjoy them with gospel intentionality.
How can you get started where you live, work, and play? Here are three simple steps:
How to get started
View yourself as a Missionary
Just a subtle shift in how you think of yourself will cause you to see every social situation differently. Say it with me “I am on mission.”
Pray daily for one person.
Commit to pray daily for a person where you live, work, or play. Write their name down where you will see it daily.
Think long term.
Don’t be in a hurry to accomplish some arbitrary conversion quota. Be present in the lives of non-Christians over the long haul.