(I originally blogged this several years ago)
Have you ever dropped a pebble into a pond? If so, you noticed at first there’s an impact and then a splash. Immediately following the initial meeting of stone and water, ripples, or waves, are created and radiate outward from the center of impact. I think this is a nice picture of how the church should work in it’s missional efforts. Of course, the initial impact was created about 2,000 years ago when Jesus charged His early followers:
“You will be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
His followers took him seriously and did just that: From Peter’s scorching sermon at Pentecost in which at least 3,000 people believed in Jesus, to Paul’s mighty missionary journeys, to modern missionary efforts to reach those who’ve never heard of Jesus. The church has been making waves.
However, it seems we’ve dropped the ball in some areas. While romanticizing missions abroad for the last few decades, we’ve allowed our mission work in our own Jerusalems slip. This in no way lessens the importance of the need for taking the message of Christ into foreign lands. I thank God for those who’ve obeyed the call to forsake the comforts of this country to journey into lands with different languages and customs for the sake of God’s Kingdom. These types of missionaries are vital to the Kingdom.
Decade by decade our very cities, towns, and neighborhoods have become more and more like foreign mission fields. New tribes with their own ideals, customs and language have emerged. Unfortunately, the Church has often stood by wondering what to do about it. I think it’s time we made waves at home.
Studies and surveys have shown that America is the most unevangelized nation in the world. Even here in the Bible Belt, while religion still plays a large part in the social structure, people have an ever-decreasing biblical worldview. It’s no longer a biggie to know someone who claims he’s a Christian yet has no problem also believing in reincarnation, has no problem with perversion or has no problem supporting those who are anti-Jesus.
As the Church it’s time we start training our members to start thinking and doing things in a more missional way. We must learn to regard ourselves as missionaries.
The Church turns off too many people because we are, quite frankly, hypocrites. We rail against everything, yet seem to support nothing. It’s time we begin thinking of ourselves as missionaries in a foreign land. The land we used to be familiar with is now uncharted territory for many of us. We have “get to know the locals” – start speaking their language, start understanding their problems and concerns, start meeting them where they are and start living as Christ followers, not Church People, among them. It’s time we stopped being content with making ripples and started making waves.