6 Helpful questions for our Christian Lives - question 6
In this series of blog posts I am looking at six questions about our Christian lives that are good for us to think about regularly. Reflecting on them can help provide shape and direction to the three dimensions of our Christian lives: Our life with God, Our life with God's people; and our life with the world around us. Unlike a checklist, these questions are designed to be open ended. Each of us is unique and we will each answer these questions in different ways. In fact at different times we will have different answers ourselves!
It is IMPORTANT to note that
These questions aren't a test.
You aren't going to be graded on the quality of your answers.
It is not about comparing yourself to some 'super Christian'
You will get the most benefit out of these questions if you can identify one or two simple things you can work on in the next few days. This is much better than spending hours creating a long list and then doing nothing!
Question Six - Who am I sent with?
Have you ever noticed our humans almost always tend to gather together in teams. It appears to be a deep human trait. Teams are groups of people that work on something bigger than just themselves. Sporting teams pursue championships, Medical teams seek to heal people, and building teams seek to construct buildings. Communities that have purpose outside themselves have a depth and richness to them that communities without that outward focus usually lack.
Asking Question Five (Who am I sent too?) can help us begin to engage in mission. But for most of us that can seem like a daunting challenge. The good news is that we don't have to do it alone. Asking this question, Question 6 - Who am I sent with? - can help make mission possible for everyday Christians.
When Jesus sent his ordinary disciples out on mission in Luke 10 he sent them out in pairs. When Paul went on mission in Acts, he almost always had a team with him. AND Jesus did the same thing. In Luke 8:1-3 it records he had a team of men and women with Him supporting Him as he travelled from town to town. Jesus was the most capable missionary ever - and even He went on mission with others.
Questions 5 and 6 work together
Sometimes we find people who are on mission and through them we discover who we are sent to.
Sometimes we find out who we are sent to and then need to find others to join us.
Sometimes we have a vision for reaching a particular group of people but we can't find anyone to do it with. This can be a timing issue. The vision is good but the time hasn't come. In these instances, it is sometimes best to join in another mission endeavour even if it isn't the exact vision you have. This has two benefits - you help provide critical mass for that mission endeavour; and by being involved in their mission, you will develop missional experience and skills that will help you with your vision in the future when God provides people to help you.
To help identify a mission team you could join, think Share, Serve & Serve:
Is there a person/people who have a vision for mission to a particular group of people (network or neighbourhood) that inspires you? Do you share that vision? They might be the people you can join.
Do some people have a vision, that deep down isn't your vision, but you think it is a God given, worthwhile vision. Think whether you could serve that vision by joining in (maybe only for a season).
Is there a leader of a particular mission who you respect? Consider whether you could serve that leader by joining in with their mission (maybe only for a season).
To help recruit people to share in your mission, think Share, Share, Taste:
Share the vision
Share some stories of what has been happening (if you have already started)
Find simple ways people can come and taste what it is like to be involved in your mission without having to make a longer term commitment straight away. For example, Invite them to come along to one event/meal.
Some people might be wondering about the connection between this question (Who am I sent with?) and question 3 (Who are my spiritual extended family?). When our church is working at it's best, all of our spiritual extended families will have an outward mission focus. However some groups, either by design or drift, are only inwardly focussed. In those cases, those groups aren't 'sent' to anyone. So sometimes we need to join with people from outside that group to engage in mission. On the other hand, sometimes asking 'Who am I sent to?/Who am I sent with?' can be a catalyst for change in that group.
Two final thoughts:
It is not unusual for us to have a couple of different groups of people God has sent us to. For example, you might have a real heart for people at your workplace and you cooperate with another Christian there who has the same heart and they may even live on the other side of town. At the same time you may be involved with people from your church in reaching out to young families, the elderly, or international students. In these cases there is more than one answer to the question 'Who am I sent with?'!
Once we have figured out who we are sent 'to' and who we are sent 'with', the next step is to think about how we can regularly spend time 'with' the people we are sent 'to' - the start of the missional adventure.....