Friday, September 29, 2006

More Missional...

I just finished reading the biography of the most influential missionary to China, Hudson Taylor. Talk about a man with zeal! He spent most of his adult life there, reaching out to the people of China.

At that time, missionaries did there work in there own westernized style. Taylor, however, was famous for adopting the clothing of the people he was ministering too. He wore native Chinese clothes. He was sensitive the culture of the Chinese people.

Taylor was a man that exemplied what today is called incarnation. Now, we all know about the Incarnation, that is, Jesus Christ becoming human, leaving his heavenly position, with all that glory. He "took on the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man" (Phil. 2:7). Christ identified with us people when he became a man. He knew what it was to be hungry, to be tired, to experience human emotion. He knew what it was like to be impoverished. He knew what it was to experience pain. Finally, he knew what it meant to suffer death. The Bible says that he is "touched with the feelings of our infirmities". He knows what we humans go through.

Jesus also showed us what God is like. He told his disciples that to see and know him is to see and know the Father. Jesus put a face on God that we people could understand. He showed us God's grace, God's mercy. He demonstrated God's love.

That is what Taylor did. That is the whole key to being missional in our faith. Look, every company with a product or service has a mission, right? And they take their products to the people via advertising. We Christians do the same, but we must also be able to identify with the people we are trying to reach. We have to meet them on their plane. In some areas, like an inner-city, that may mean food, clothing and shelter, and a listening ear. Hearing their struggles, being concerned for them. In some towns, it may be in a coffee shop during open mic night.

But just as Christ used his incarnation not just to "feel our pains", but to show us the glory of God in him, so we too must show those around us who Christ is. By coming alongside others to get to know them, we open up a door by which they can begin to see God in us, and that God truly cares for them. We open up a door to demonstrate God's love to them.

As Pentecostal Christians, we believe in being led by the Holy Spirit. Friends, is this not what the Spirit of God empowers us to do? We were baptized in the Spirit not to have great church services, but to be witnesses of Christ. I believe that the Spirit of God will help us to come alongside a sinful world so that we can show them who Christ really is.

I am thinking outloud again in this entry today. It is a departure yet again from my usual writing style, but necessary in my own growth in Christ. It helps me to put these thoughts into writing to make sense out of what God is doing in my life.

Thanks for being a listening ear! God bless!


Missional Jerry said...

Incarnation is a big part of whats missing in ministry today.

We do programs, we dont seem to be very good at actually being a part of our communities outside of our churches.

ruthrap said...

i believe we can all relate to your post, mp, we are messengers of Christ so to speak, and we can all be missionaries without venturing from our hometowns. We don't have to leave the country to be missional.......there is a need to share the gospel message in our neighborhood, our workplace, anywhere we come in contact with people. Christ ministered to people of all walks of life, rich and poor, young and old. He became humble in his earthly presence, so we must become humble. We cannot be prideful and hardhearted and follow Christ...He was all about The Golden Rule........I do believe He was the founder of it!
Keep thinkin' out loud.......excellent message!