I have been reading Tim Chester and Steve Timmis’ book Everyday Church this last week. In chapter 2, everyday community, they explain the need to live like missionaries in our own communities. In order to live like a missionary, we must ask the questions missionaries ask.
Questions Missionaries Ask
- Where are the places and activities we can meet people (the missional spaces)?
- Where do people experience community?
- Are there existing social networks with which we can engage, or do we need to find ways of creating community within a neighborhood?
- Where should we be to have missional opportunities?
- What are the patterns and timescales of our neighborhood (the missional rhythms)?
- When are the times we can connect with people (the missional moments)?
- How do people organize their time?
- What cultural experiences and celebrations do people value? How might these be used as bridges to the gospel?
- When should we be available to have missional opportunities?
- What are people’s fears, hopes, and hurts?
- What gospel stories are told in the neighborhood?
- What gives people identity (creation)?
- How do they account for wrong in the world (fall)?
- What is their solution (redemption)?
- What are their hopes (consummation)?
- What are the barrier beliefs or assumptions that cause people to dismiss the gospel?
- What sins will the gospel first confront and heal?
- In what ways are people self-righteous?
- What is the good news for people in this neighborhood?
- What will church look like for people in this neighborhood?
Reaching our communities with the gospel, means we need to know our neighborhoods, it’s people, and their stories, values, worldview, and culture. Asking these questions will help us to know and understand our communities better. It’s going to take some work, but it is worth it in order to reach our cities, communities, and neighborhoods. So let’s get to work answering these questions and living like missionaries in our own backyards.
Question for Reflection
- Do you believe it is important we live as missionaries in our own neighborhoods? Why or why not?
Timmis & Chester, Everyday Church, 42-43.