A Guest Post
The calling that God puts on our lives to go into all the world, proclaim the Gospel, and make disciples is not one that can be done in the abstract. These people, who God created in His image, who He loves, and who He has sent us to be ambassadors of the Good News, they aren’t abstract. They have stories, pains, joys, aspirations and a very real need to be introduced to their savior.
When my wife and I first moved to Orlando with the hopes of planting a church in the downtown area, I was pumped. I was excited to put into practice all the theory and previous experiences that I had gained over the years. I approached planting a church with the sterility and detachment that my personality often does. I had planned the work and now I was going to work the plan.
Then, over the course of about a year and a half of being downtown and getting to know our city, something unexpected happened. The driving force behind why I was engaging this city with the Gospel shifted from an obligation of being obedient to a real, deep, heart-breaking love for the people God had sent us to.
I don’t want you to miss that distinction. Living missionally in your community isn’t primarily about being a good, obedient Christian on mission (even though it is true), it’s about loving the people God has commissioned you to. People aren’t boxes we check off on the road to a successful church plant; they are the reason.
Jesus came into this world both out of obedience to the Father but also because of a passionate, sacrificial love that He had for His people. This is radical! It completely changes how we do mission if we take the obligation out of obedience and replace it with a zealous love for the people Jesus loves.
It transforms the people you interact with all the time from nameless, faceless “targets” into living, breathing people with stories and lives that need the redemptive power of the cross. It destroys the methodical grinding of obligatory evangelism into a dynamic living out and proclamation of the life-giving truth.
I am still a recovering “Missional Legalist” chained down by obligation, but those chains continue to fall off as I learn more and more about the people of downtown Orlando. Their lives, and my love for them, is now the driving factor to why I do what I do; and this life is so much better than my previous one.