Missional Living

missional

The above photo comically represents what used to be a popular method for evangelizing people . . . one that doesn’t work terribly well in our day.

In a previous post entitled The Missio Dei, I sketched out four aspects of God’s grand mission.

In it, I pointed out that some Christians and churches focus on one aspect of the mission to the exclusion of the others. But all four aspects of living missionally are important and each should be taken in season.

One of those four aspects of living missionally is what I call “commission” which is the increase of Christ through bringing others to a saving experience of His grace and life. It includes both evangelism and discipleship that’s relevant for our time.

The following posts treat this aspect of the mission. I hope you’ll find each of them to be of help.

Tomorrow’s post is entitled Rethinking Water Baptism.

My “Answers to Skeptics” Series – five posts written to and for those who do not yet know Jesus:

Answers to Skeptics Part I: There is a God

Answers to Skeptics Part II: Is Jesus the Only Way? 

Answers to Skeptics Part III: Is the Bible Reliable? 

Answers to Skeptics Part IV: Can a Good Person Be Condemned?

Answers to Skeptics: Part V: Aren’t All Christians Hypocrites?

To elaborate on this series, I recommend the following 5 books:

Exposing Myths About Christianity by Jeffrey Burton Russell – a 2012 release that contains a masterful treatment of 145 viral lies and legends about the Christian faith.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis – a classic that explains and defends biblical Christianity.

Simply Christian by N.T. Wright – the Mere Christianity for the 21st century postmodern world.

A Place for Truth edited by Dallas Willard – a compilation of essays written by various Christian thinkers, all exploring life’s hardest questions.

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell – a clear apologetic that’s quick and easy to read.

Other Missional Posts:

What is a Christian? – T. Austin-Sparks answers the question with seminal insight.

Why I’m a Christian – 12 reasons why I follow Jesus and a challenge to those who do not.

Living in the Divine Parenthesis – a challenge against the tendency to become insular, isolated, and ingrown. Explains how the New Testament calls us to engage in “good works,” but explains what good works are and aren’t. (In the New Testament, “good works” have to do with alleviating oppression and helping those who are hurting.) The source of good works is also discussed as well as the meaning of the Kingdom of God being present yet future. Includes audio.

Rethinking the Gospel – explains what the New Testament means when it uses the word “gospel” as well as “Jesus is Lord” and “Christ is ALL.” Jesus of Nazareth is Lord, not just over our private spiritual lives, but over the whole world.

Defending the Old Testament – David Lamb - David Lamb defends God in the Old Testament (two parts)

Defending the Old Testament – Paul Cohen - Paul Cohen defends God in the Old Testament.

Following Your Spiritual Instincts Regarding the Poor – explains how much God cares for the poor and what our attitude should be toward them.

Wavin’ Flag: Remix – a song I wrote that expresses Christ’s love for the world through the church.

Rethinking How We Present the Gospel – affirms yet rethinks how we present the gospel to non-Christians.

20 Reasons Why the Christian Right & the Christian Left Won’t Adopt Me – encourages Christians to engage the culture and affirms all types of engagement (social, civil, political, etc.) without necessarily aligning with the Christian Right or the Christian Left.

N.T. Wright – my exclusive interview with N.T. Wright where we discuss church, mission, culture, and the church’s prophetic role in speaking to “power.”

Epic Jesus – Jesus is much larger than our traditions, personal tastes, and theological systems. Includes audio. E. Stanley Jones said, “A reduced Christ is the same as a rejected Christ.” Epic Jesus unfolds that thought.

A Vanishing God – Jesus has an interesting habit of breaking out of our expectations, imaginations, preferences, and ideas. A challenge against sectarianism and elitism, something I’ve spoken against often.

The Eternal Purpose – explores the four aspects of God’s timeless purpose. Includes audio.

The Anatomy of the Church – outlines 14 metaphors for the church, some of which depict its nature to reach out to the world around it.

The Presence of the Future – a meditation on the Kingdom being “already, but not yet.” HT to George E. Ladd.

Kingdom Confusion: Part I – rethinking the Kingdom of God in the world.

Kingdom Confusion: Part II – dismantles the fallacy of pitting the Kingdom against the church. If you’ve heard people say, “Jesus mentioned the church only twice, but He mentioned the Kingdom over 100 times” you need to read this.

Thoughts on the Coming Revival – a reflection on past and future revivals.

Helping God’s Family in this Economy – an encouragement to help others in need, “especially those of the household of faith.”

20-Somethings Share What Attracted Them to Jesus Christ – over 250 twenty-something Christians explain what attracted them to Jesus. (Read the comments.) Insightful and instructive.

Is Your Ministry Due for a New Season? – discusses a new season of developing relationships with those who don’t know Jesus as well as helping the poor.

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Comments

  1. chris says

    I remember that magazine, circa 80-81, from Keith Green. At about the same time, Randy Stonehill had a song with this lyric, “Well he poked me with his Bible like it was a loaded gun and I said, ‘Whatever it is your selling man, I don’t want none!’”

  2. says

    I just found this blog. The discussions remind me of when I was in Campus Crusade for Christ at Cal Poly Pomona. I hated going out and sharing my faith. But it did show me the shallowness of my faith at the time and it made me really think and evaluate who I was in Christ. Looking forward to reading more.

    Donn

  3. Nick says

    Another unique book containing a defense of our faith is Letters from a Skeptic by Greg Boyd. I think Boyd has other apologetic books as well, but this one is extremely accessible and has a very personal context.

  4. Greg D says

    For those who enjoy reading or for those intellectual friends of yours who question faith, I recommend, “The Case for…” series of books written by Lee Strobel. For example: The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, etc. In regards to evangelism: street evangelism, proclaiming the Gospel from a soapbox, and passing out tracts are, I believe, an old 19th century revivalist mentality that really doesn’t work for today’s post-modern culture. Besides, it has a singular focus, namely salvation only. There is so much more to the Gospel than just being saved.

    As an evangelist both in the US, and now as a missionary living in a foreign country, I have found developing relationships to be the most genuine and effective way to tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ. When you develop a long term relationship with someone and invest in their life, it becomes more personal and genuine. Otherwise, evangelism becomes superficial, non-relational, and impersonal. And, people can that. It’s important to befriend those you care about seeing come into a relationship with our King.

    The best book that I can recommend about this topic is “Lifestyle Evangelism” by Joseph Aldrich. It tells about excellent ways to be a salt in the earth and to those around you in a non-intimidating and genuine way.

  5. Arlene Rauen says

    I am curious to know what you think is the difference between the tracts used in the print age verses the tweets or short stories people use on the FB & blogs to share how God has changed their life…I know Josh McDowell actually has a newer coffee house series that he uses to help young people converse more and it models very nicely that it’s ok to ask questions to God or others…He sets the tone that we all are learning. I look forward to reading what the post is about in Missio Dei..I know of very few people who have shared Christ with anyone in the last year much less this week so I wouldn’t say “one that doesn’t work terribly well in our day”(about tracts) as in my mind at least they are thinking of others future and making an attempt…just a thought

    • says

      Arlene: Not sure where you got this idea. The point of the first sentence — which isn’t the point of the post by the way — is what the photo depicts. It doesn’t depict the idea that tracts or pamphlets in themselves are bad. The photo is brilliant and comical.

      Feel free to share what you think of the rest of the post which contains the main point of the article.

  6. Grayson Pope says

    Hi Frank,

    Have you delved into this from an online perspective? It seems a lot of the same caricatures in the cartoon above have translated to the digital world, with people posting (way too frequently) their Jesus Saves! posters and other things.

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