Missional: It is a newer word to describe a person or group of people (ie, church) who know that God Himself is own Mission and that he has called them to join Him.
Missionary: It is a term used to describe a missional person who crosses cultures and other boundaries to bring the Gospel where it is not.
All are called to live a missional life, but not all are called to be missionaries.
Make sense? Some would like to blur the terms, but as Stephen Neill once said,
“when missions (and missionary) is everything, then missions is nothing.”
Why missional? Because your neighbors, family, co workers, and people you come in contact with each day need the grace of God found only in Jesus Christ.
Why missionary? Because nations, over 7,000 people groups totaling over 2.89 billion people, have yet to taste of the goodness of God’s Good News of Jesus. Jesus has yet to receive the nations as his promised inheritance, even though the Commission was given over 2000 years ago.
My personal life:
- When I worked as a US Navy Corpsman as a new believer, I was missional.
- When I worked at a hospital taking care of the terminally ill, taking them to the bathroom and bathing them each day, I was missional.
- When I worked as a personal assistant to a young guy with cerebral palsy, I was missional.
- When I worked 14 hour days, 6 days a week in sales to take care of my family, I was missional.
- When I served the people of my community and reached out, I was missional.
I was a believer and my life demonstrated that reality right where I was. When people got to know me, they got to know my story, and my Great God.
But when the right time came, I became a missionary. I crossed from America to Thailand with my family. It was not a random thing, but a calling that I had in my heart from God Himself. I prepared myself beyond my “every day” life with God. I learned a language and studied a new religion so I could build bridges with the people in my new nation.
You may never get this kind of calling, but you can play a key part by sending, praying, supporting.
If you are a believer in Jesus, you can/should be on mission. It doesn’t matter if you are a house wife with five kids, a mechanic, a business man, a store clerk, a student, a farmer, or any other profession you can think of. You may even be unemployed! But you can/should be on mission with God.
- You have a story. You should look for opportunities to share it.
- You have strength. You should find a way to serve others in Jesus’ name.
- You have a talent or ability. You can bless a community of believers.
- You have a family. They need you to lead them Spiritually.
- You have finances. You can use them to touch people locally and help fulfill God’s global purposes.
You have a ministry, now, right where you are.
Ministry means service, Ephesians 4 calls it “works of service.” It was Martin Luther who once said,
“God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.”
So, even though you may not be a “missionary”, we are all called, as disciples, to be with God on mission; to be “missional.”
What about you? How have you seen you own life as being on mission with God? What has it looked like for you personally?