A guest post:
I’ve been excited reading Joy’s daily posts on missional living. Unfortunately, life hasn’t allowed my implementation to keep up with my excitement. I’m still on the first week of trying to get a date on my calendar with my neighbor. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough to live missionally. Or maybe I’m trying too hard.
I have lived missionally for so long that these days I find it hard to be missional. For fifteen years I church planted and coached church planters, living in three different locations including two internationally. The five years before that I was in seminary and raising support. Twenty years later my heart still beats for the lost but it beats harder for the fresh priorities in my life of faith and family. Of course, family and faith are integrated into a missional lifestyle, but that’s another blog post.
Missional living means living portions of your life imbalanced for a season. There will be times and circumstances when you have to prioritize outreach events, discipleship or a move to another community over everything else. If you do that too much, it’s called burn out. If you don’t do it enough, you may not be taking enough risks in life to be considered missional.
The danger in having lived missionally in the past is that I can use it as an excuse to not live missionally in the present. “I’ve served God as a missionary” is a little self-talk that I hear frequently within. “You’ve done a lot in the past” allows me to overlook my neighbor in need.
Since the past is in the past and the future is in the future, we have to choose to live in the present. My priorities today are different than my priorities in the past. These days my relationships with my wife and boys are the most important things to me. The conflict between being missional and maintaining other important aspects of my life is a daily tension with which I have to trust God.
What’s important for all of us, regardless of our season of life, is that we maintain a missional heartbeat. I see three keys to maintaining a missional heartbeat:
- Be open to what God is doing around me. He may give me kingdom opportunities that are simple to take advantage of if I tweak my schedule or mindset.
- Force myself from time to time, by God’s grace, to do something meaningful for someone else, in a way that spreads God’s fame. This keeps me honest.
- Remember that God takes both a short-term and long-term view of my life. Long-term, he gives me grace to prioritize my days over the years if all I am doing glorifies him. Short-term, he expects me to obey his commands day by day.
Missional means turning your life upside down for Christ. If you don’t experience some serious pain, distorted priorities and unanswered questions along the way, you may want to reconsider whether you are being missional.
Taking on mid-life with a coffee snob strategy, Brian enjoys basketball, social media and nature. Brian lives in Orlando, Florida; calls Denver, Colorado home; grew up in Indiana; and considers himself a world citizen. Brian is married to a lovely wife and together they are raising three wonderful young men and longing for their daughter in heaven. The Stankich family has lived and worked previously in Macedonia and Egypt. Follow Brian's insightful and practical writings here.