Missional Word Images

I’ve been wondering what being God’s missional people in our everyday life might really look like. After reading a comment over at Adventures In Mercy where the person used a word picture to make his point, it gave me the thought that maybe this would be a good device to explore certain aspects of missional.

Here is my attempt at some word images. Do these help you get a glimpse of some aspect of being missional? Can you create a word image to contribute?

Image One

The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy. And Love others as well as you love yourself. (The Message)

Image Two

When the new neighbors move in you go knock on the door and welcome them to the neighborhood, you talk about football and fishing over the fence, you invite him to the Lucky Lab for a beer and get acquainted. You invite them over for barbecue and listen to his lame jokes with grace. When he tells you about the problems he is having at work, you talk about your struggles also and how God has helped you through them. When the wife’s dad dies, you let them know you are praying for them. When he asks about what you do with your spare time, you humbly tell him how you work down at The Bridge with street kids every other month, how you help with a homeless ministry, tutor students in reading at the local high school, and have a wonderful community of faith that you love being involved with. You live a modest low consumption lifestyle before them. You pray for them regularly and are always ready to talk about why you’re living the way you are.

Image Three

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me. (The Message)

Image Four

You are always at work on time and don’t abuse the rules. You go to coffee with your fellow workers, share about life and family, and get acquainted with them. You listen as they share about their family problems and let them know you care and will be praying for them, acknowledging that you have worries and struggles also, but you know God is taking care of you and your family. You invite them over to your place for barbecue and a beer with no other agenda than to get better acquainted. As a co-worker inquires about your vacation after talking about their glamorous trip to Aruba, you humbly talk about your trip to Ecuador on a medical missions team. When a co-worker needs to change living arrangements and move to a new apartment, you tell him you have a pickup and offer to help. The boss asks you to do something that has the appearance of being a little unethical, you graciously and politely decline. When your fellow workers get to talking about politics, you allow that you don’t have answers, but are willing to be part of the solution. You pray for them regularly and are always ready to talk about the hope that is within you.

Image Five

Do everything readily and cheerfully, no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless, that’s your job, to bless. (The Message)

Image Six

You’re down at the local cafe early for a quiet time with the newspaper over coffee and breakfast. You’re at the counter when the elderly lady next to you attempt to strike up a conversation. You’re annoyed at first until you hear God’s prompting and realize this is a very lonely person. You set aside your paper and enter into a lively conversation with her as she shares about her sons who rarely visit her and how she misses her grandchildren. You volunteer weekly at your local horticultural society where the average member is the exact opposite of you both politically and spiritually. But because you have built bridges and relationship, you can respectfully dialog with them on the issues and they listen. You are asked to volunteer for a Sunday morning actively, but you tactfully decline indicating that you and your family have a wonderful community of faith that you love being involved with and they meet on Sundays. Your drug addicted “baby” sister calls one night desperate. She can’t go on and is thinking of ending her life. You drop what you are doing and drive two hours to pick her up along with her two teenage kids (one of whom has her own two year old child). The four of them move in with your family for eight months. During this time you lead her to a relationship with the Lord. Three years later she is still struggling, but she is also walking with the Lord and growing in her relationship with him.

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17 Responses to “Missional Word Images”

  1. cindyH says:

    Great images! Here’s mine:
    As a mom with toddlers, you join a playgroup and meet weekly with other bedraggled moms with toddlers. You take time to listen to their frustrations, their joys, their ‘stories’ about how raising children in our culture is difficult at best. You nod vehemently in agreement, bemoan the tremendous burden we feel as mothers to somehow usher in kind, mature adults into the world. You say, “I don’t know” alot. You share perhaps that you wonder about what it means in the bible where it’s written “he gently leads those that have young”. You discuss how all the great religions of the world have a few basic things in common…be kind, love yourself and your neighbor, those kinds of things….you allow others to vent about ‘hypocritical, self-righteous christians’ and ‘right-wing nutcases’ without defending, without even blinking. And you affirm that the Church does a lot of dumb stuff. You apologize. You say “I hope by knowing me, your view of christians will break out of the negative stuff you see in the Church”. Mostly you befriend these women with no other alternative motive than to just make new friends, learn to see the good in them so you can apply it to your own life, and hope the good in you rubs off a bit on them.

  2. Adam G. says:

    So, it’s just living the Christian life.

  3. Rick Meigs says:

    Cindy: Very nice! It captures a real missional way of thinking. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Rick Meigs says:

    Adam: Well, yes that is so, but the issue is how does one define “just living the Christian life.” Unfortunately, many (some would say most) Christian’s today would not be able to relate to these images. They don’t live any differently than their neighbors (they worship America’s twin gods of individualism and consumerism) except that they rant against liberals and attend the McChurch once a week.

    The point of being missional is to recapture the biblical understanding of who we are and what we are called to be.

  5. John Lunt says:

    I’ll have to disagree a little bit with you Rick. Some, more and more are ranting against conservatives for their God’s of consumerism and individualism while they themselves buy the latest Apple computer, IPOD, etct. and then somehow, take a “pro-choice” position because it’s the woman’s right to choose. Seems to me both are guilty of the same sins.

    I will agree that regardless of stripes, American Christianity doesn’t really look like the real thing.

  6. Rick Meigs says:

    I knew the “liberals” comment was going to get me in trouble John :-) . I take your point and would not disagree. I should have been more balanced in my “rant against” comment. Both side are just as guilty.

  7. John Lunt says:

    No problem… I’m sure God will forgive you :-) After all everyone knows he’s a “compassionate conservative.” LOL!

  8. […] 3. I’m the second of five. My older brother committed suicide and my sister just two years younger died of cancer. One of my other sisters has become a Christian recently after 20 years on drugs. She is the one I talked about in Image Six in Missional Word Images. […]

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  10. […] a page out of Rich Meigs “Missional Word Images“ from December of  last year, here are eight word pictures or images that give me a […]

  11. Steve Kupin says:

    Actually, according to Christ’s work in the Bible, cindyH’s comments are not missional. In no way ever did Jesus nod his head in affirmity with people’s gripes or sins and hope that he might have been a good example to them. He put hammer to nail by presenting them with a choice to make to believe in Him and then healed them because they made that choice for Him. If we only attempt to make friends and do not present the GOSPEL (Christ’s unconditional love and saving grace), we are not Missional.

  12. Rick Meigs says:

    Steve: Thanks for your comments. They are always welcome.

    Actually, cindyH’s comments are very missional. Sharing about the kingdom life Christ has for the not-yet-Christian can be most effectively shared when a level of trust and friendship has been developed. Trust and friendship start with relationship building and cindyH’s comments reflect that relationship building stage very well.

  13. Craig Adams says:

    Without asking anything from me, not even repentence, Jesus initiated Friendship with me.

    Centuries before my birth, He gave the ultimate gift a man can give his friend.
    For decades after my birth, he demanded nothing. He just gave.
    Even whn I came to repentence, it was not because He made any demand. It was because I could no longer resist repentence.
    He never condemned me in sin, merely affirmed the truth of Father’s love.

    It was irresistable. , at least for me.

    The same Jesus that kept the party gping at Cana is the man who befriended and ate with publicans and sinners. While He ate with them, they were *still* publicans and sinners.
    He was, and is, their friend.

    Zacheus, the woman who touched His garment, the man at the pool of Bethesda and one let down through the roof… He gave to them freely, and there is no record HE demanded anything of them.

    He just loved them, for the sake of loving them. Just like Father does.
    To demand an action of another, including repentance to in order to befriend them is not friendship.
    It’s manipulation.

    Jesus really *is* altogether lovely.
    I think if wwe simply show ourselves friednly and love, we will find friends.
    And when they ask why we love as we do, or do what we do, we can give bread to a hungry person instead of force feeding a satisfied one.

    And they will eat it with gladness, rejoicing in the Beautiful One.

    Love is better than fear. In fact, it throws fear out!

    Just my 2 cents

  14. Kathy says:

    I strive to live like this every day. Sometimes it works and other times I struggle. But this is how I know we should all be living. I applaud the images.

  15. Matt Miller says:

    I have to agree with Craig. I would prefer that God does the preparation of the soil before I get to plant some seeds. But, I realize that I need to be far more intentional in my relationships. I hate to admit the times I’ve wimped out, when the opportunity to share the hope within me, arises. I pray that God will perfect my missional heart, and my approach of sharing God’s love to a dying world.

  16. […] Missional Word Images: Missional People in Everyday Life by Rick Meigs (A Practitioner who lives in Portland Oregon and who started the Friend of Missional website.) […]

  17. […] Missional Word Images: Missional People in Everyday Life by Rick Meigs (A Practitioner who lives in Portland Oregon and who started the Friend of Missional website.) […]