One of the big emphases within the church right now is being what is called “missional,” meaning being active within the community meeting needs of the community. It is the polar opposite of waiting for people to come to our buildings to connect with us, because we all know how much that occurs today, right? And we need to be “missional.”
Last week, I wrote a post which I titled, “Being Intentional,” in which I talked about the fact that we need to be intentional about the kingdom of God because if we aren’t, we will default to a base position which is thinking about our own kingdom.
With this thought, the Spirit brought together some different thoughts I’ve had over the last 4 years or so, a journey through which I have come to realize different things and have gone to depths in my understanding of who God is and how He operates.
One of the initial thoughts at the start of this journey was this: “In a Midwest culture which emphasizes being a good neighbor, how do God’s people stand out?” In no way am I saying that we should not be doing these types of things because scripturally we are called to do them. But when we leave it up to the person on the receiving end to surmise our motivation in doing them, the church becomes nothing more than another community service club which many communities have when we have a mission to build God’s kingdom, not just do good things.
Now, I’m not saying that we preach at people. Not at all, because that is counter-productive. What I am saying is that we look for opportunities to connect God’s goodness to what we are doing in such a way that a person is drawn to our God. We may not be drawn to do this every time, but if we never make the connection, then I would ask , for all practical intents and purposes, how we are anything more than a “glorified” service club?
I wrote about this very thing in my post titled, “Finally!,” in which I talked about an experience I had just recently, one in which I was able to connect God’s goodness with an actual situation in a person’s life.
I find the words of Jesus intriguing concerning the importance of having the connection made. In John 14:11-12, Jesus said, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, but if not, believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works which I do he shall also do, and greater than these he shall do because I am going to the Father.” Jesus made sure numerous times, and many people understood, that the connection between what he did and the Father was made.
So, how about us? As adopted sons and daughters of God and fellow heirs with Jesus, we are to be conduits for and of God’s goodness and kindness. That means that we must remember that it is God’s kindness and goodness that leads people to repentance, not a threat of judgment (Romans 2:4). That means that we need to be calling down God’s goodness upon people as well as being the practical expression of that goodness. And it means that we need to make sure the connection between the goodness of God and what has happened is made.
We need to be not only intentional about being used to demonstrate God’s goodness here on earth, but also intentional about making that connection. This connection is not normally made in a passive way. It is when this connection is made that people are made aware that what occurred was an expression of God’s goodness and nature.
Our enemy, the one who is the prince of the air and of this world, would love to see us be passive in making this connection because it would be the rare person who would make the connection and be drawn to God, led to repentance, and believe. Our enemy would love us to think that we are carrying out our God-given mission by doing “good stuff.”
But that would not be the case.
Let us carry out the full mission and be intentional about it.