“Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, so am I sending you.” John 20:21
When I read the Gospel stories, I often find myself meditating on the spaces between the stories. I find myself watching the action of Jesus in the margins of his life, the stories happening between the miracles and healings and teachings. How did Jesus do life and mission and ministry when he wasn’t teaching at a festival or being the center of attention at some event?
What can we learn from Jesus about how to live on mission in shred culture? When I look at the margins of Jesus’ life, three things come to mind:
For significant influence, living in close proximity to those you seek to reach is huge. If you want to reach a mountain town or a certain demographic, you move in, get close, and let your space be bumped into by other people. Your credibility (or lack of) is heavily influenced by how far or how close your proximity is to the people you hope to reach.
For example, if you want to reach park kids, you gotta ride park all the time. Or, if you want to talk about Jesus in a backcountry hut, you’ll need some avalanche training, a set of skins, and a healthy dose of granola. What matters is that you’ve showed up.
“A missional community is a community that must live the (local) dialectic. It must stay in the journey.” – Alan Hirsch
Flowing naturally out of close proximity is frequency. Simply, when you’re around all the time – the same coffee shop, pub, grocery store, bus route, gondola, or ski hill – the frequency of interactions with the same people are exponentially higher. Frequency is the transition from face-in-the-crowd to polite-nods to hi-how-are-ya’s to hey-let’s-grab-a-coffee. Frequency has the ability to fill in the blanks of distrust and intimidation and replaces them with trust and approachability.
The rhythm of local mission moves from proximity to frequency and finally to spontaneity. Because you are close and frequent, relationships don’t need to be regimented by a schedule. Things just happen. Spontaneous conversations, events, and simple community moments develop naturally. In fact, one of the markers of missionality within a community is that the community allows itself to be spontaneous with you.
1. What is your number one biggest barrier to being in close proximity of those you hope to reach? Name 3 possible solutions.
2. Where are the 3 most frequented places of those you hope to reach?
3. Is your schedule structured for flexibility? Does it allow room for mission when and as it arrives?
By Jer Postal | Whistler, Canada