“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35
We all have an innate desire to live in community with others on some level – yet for as much as we may seek it, the sense of community that we crave can feel hard to come by. We may have a sense there is something missing, or more to the story. According to The Gospel Coalition, “Community on this side of heaven isn’t primarily about us though. Community is about God’s glory being displayed to the world. Jesus clearly explains that the purpose of Christian unity and community is so that the world would know God the Father sent Jesus to this earth in John 17:21-24. Missional communities are different in that they primarily see the purpose of their friendship, love, and unity to be an apologetic for the gospel to their neighbors.”
So often, we default to thinking that living life on mission must look a lot like being a missionary in a foreign country or dropping everything to be at events, meetings, or services. In reality, our God-given influence is not nearly as limited or black and white as we may sometimes think. Indeed, it’s not about where we spend our time, for everywhere can become a mission field, if we choose to make it so. The Bible makes it clear that what is most important is our mission to make disciples, and there are oh so many opportunities for this in the living of everyday life!
Here are five simple ideas for living life on mission right where you’re at, to meet others right where they’re at in your own community!
Invite neighbors to co-host a progressive dinner. Breaking bread together holds great Gospel meaning and is also a wonderful opportunity for the kind of ‘face time’ that is instrumental in relationship building.
Grow a garden and share extra produce with neighbors. Sometimes the intention and time spent in the the giving can speak even louder than the gift itself.
Look for those who may feel marginalized or forgotten. People who have experienced loss like death, divorce, or debilitation often feel uniquely connected with the body of Christ when remembered at times that they otherwise may be left behind because of the assumption that they don’t quite fit the dynamic of the group or situation.
Make that dinner you’ve always wanted to share with an elderly, sick, or hurting neighbor. A great time to do this is when you’re already whipping up a batch of pasta or soup. You can simply double or triple the recipe for what you’re already cooking for your own family!
Be on the lookout for children in your neighborhood who may be a part of a family without a church home. They may be friends of your children, or simply kids that you yourself have come to know. Regardless, let us recognize that it is not uncommon for parents to be receptive to allowing their kids to ride along with other families to church, even if they themselves are not open to attending. Sometimes simple routines like bringing a neighbor kid along to church on Sundays can change lives, and change families for generations to come.