Living out the church’s Great Commission / Great Commmandment calling requires that passion for Jesus and His gospel be lived out with thoughtful intentionality. Three key ideas must be coordinated. We have an authoritative, unchanging and nonnegotiable
+mission (make disciples of all nations);
+missions (following a glocal impulse for practical, servant-hearted involvement in our neighborhoods and among the nations);
with the ultimate goal that each disciple will live a
+missional life (engaging in disciple-making in the normal traffic patterns of their life at home, school, work, play, etc.)
Living missionally means that each member of a faith-family will interact in a gospel-centered way with those who have not yet trusted Christ, or the ones Paul refers to as outsiders.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Col. 4:5-6)
In another passage, Paul asserted his understanding that the gospel mandates our adjustment to various people groups “for the sake of the gospel.” Listen:
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Cor.9:19-23)
So, one aspect of “walking in wisdom” is that we carefully gauge the attitudes with which we approach those who have not yet trusted Christ. This is especially challenging for those who have walked with Christ or been actively involved with a church for a long time. For most, the longer we are Christ-followers, the more time we spend at church and with Christians, and the fewer far-from-God friends we have and the less interaction we have with non-Christian environments.
We can demonstrate insider thinking and values (giving primary consideration those who have already trusted Christ and are connected with his church) or outsider thinking and values (giving primary consideration to those who have yet to trust Christ and are not connected with his church). And the attitudes always lead to words and actions.
So, “walking wisely” means we think carefully and prayerfully about our attitudes that are (whether we realize it or not) shaping our interactions and ministries with precious people who don’t know Jesus.
See how you’re doing- and suggest additional categories in the comments.
Insider Thinking /Values Outsider Thinking/ Values church community
assumes (everybody already knows) anticipates (what they need to know)
language known (Christian-ese) language translated (no dilution)
status quo / keep it the same adjustment for mission
protection of pet programs evaluation for mission effectiveness
budget maintains here budget invests there
manage comfort for us engage discomfort for them
my preference their need
come here go there
services received service given
ownership / keeping partnership / sharing
keep it clean make sure it’s used
value stuff & systems treasure people & souls
real goal: nice church people real goal: lives transformed by Jesus
source: hard work & organization source: desperate for Spirit’s power
mere religion Jesus’ gospel