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small changes | big difference

March 3, 2010

Aidan: Well our last post we really hit on some high level theory with discipleship, how to build this kind of culture, the history of LifeShapes…really in depth stuff. We tried to bring it to a more practical level near the end, but I thought it might be good to go from 10,000 feet to maybe 100 feet this time. Sound good to you?

Mike: Definitely good.

Aidan: Before we get there, I hear you’re in a pretty cool place right now.

Mike: Cool is right. Snow everywhere. But we’re visiting with a friend in the Scottish Highlands and staying in his country home. Pretty posh, if I do say so. I think we might have a picture of it.

Aidan: Must be hard having friends with country houses!

Mike: Indeed it is! Great guy. Great getting to spend time with him. We’re actually doing a Scottish leaders retreat here, really exciting stuff.

Aidan: Well why don’t we dive in… let’s go for really practical this time.  I thought we might tap your brain a bit. Here’s what I’d like us to discuss this time around: What are 4-5 things missional leaders can do, maybe a few small changes, that if implemented in their lives can make a big difference in advancing the Kingdom?

Mike: I like what you did there. The question didn’t center around what pastors can do, it centered around missional leaders. And that’s what it’s about, isn’t? We want every person we are discipling to be missional leaders, to do greater things than we ever do. That’s not something that’s reserved for the clergy.

But back to your question.

I think this is really about investment. I think it’s learning to invest our time, energy, resources, our lives in a way that we get the biggest return possible. If we learn to be very intentional with our investment…well that can be huge.

So maybe we can look at 4 small things we can do:

1) Ask God who the Persons of Peace are in your life. Basically, who are the people that are already in your life where there is spiritual openness who don’t know Jesus? Who likes to hang out with you? Who invites you over for supper? Who wants to serve the things you care about even if they aren’t part of it?

These are what we call Persons of Peace. God is already at work in their life. There is openness there. Spend more time with these people. Be really present with them. Give them a real look into your own life and family of what the Kingdom is. It’s a simple thing, really, but allocating your time to people who don’t know Jesus but God is already working in is huge. It really is.

2) Open your life and home to the people you’re doing mission with. What you’re doing is building oikos at the center of what you’re doing and it’ll spread from there. You’re allowing these people to become family. You go into battle with them, you laugh with them, eat with them, disciple your kids with them. This is family!

3) Make careful observations about your missional context.
-Has anything changed where you live?
-Is anything new where you live?
-Are there new shops opening? Houses being sold? People moving to the area?
-Count the “for sale” signs and the houses “sold” signs.
-What shops are doing well? What shops aren’t?
-What things are prospering? What things are failing?

4) Teach other people to do these three things. Here’s the thing: The things you are learning, start teaching them as soon as you can. Because as soon as you start teaching them to other people, you learn more. The people you’re teaching…they will ask the same questions you’ll ask. It’ll make you work that much harder to find the answers.
-If it’s the workplace, have them keep a journal. This is so simple: Have them write down each day who is happy and who is sad.
-What I’ve found is that when we become more aware of our context we can really incarnate ourselves and find ways to bring the Good News.

Aidan: Any chance there is a way of encapsulating all of this in a shape?

Mike: Ha! Well, of course! What good is this information if we can’t remember it!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 8:49 am

    love it

  2. James Paul permalink
    March 7, 2010 5:41 pm

    “I think this is really about investment.” Yes. We all make investments. The question is what are we investing in. I believe the good (most church programming, para-church organizations, missional “events”) often becomes the enemy of God’s best for our families, churches and cities. If discipleship culture is where it’s at (being a disciple who makes disciples who make disciples), then what are the best biblical practices or investments I can make in this brief life I’ve been entrusted with?

    Read this today: “Whether we are procrastinators or frenetically energized “doers”, life is not about learning better time management but about learning to let God manage our time(read: INVESTMENTS).” – David W. Henderson

  3. March 9, 2010 4:14 pm

    Great thoughts James.

    In reflecting on time lately myself, I landed on the value that God invites us to manage our priorities so that we can experience time as He designed.

    “Priority management” vs. “time management” seems to intersect my life at a more practical level. I can manage my priorities, how can I really manage “time”? This has affected me in a seek first the kingdom (priority) way, and the use of time will be added unto me.

  4. James Paul permalink
    March 9, 2010 8:22 pm

    Brian – Thanks for sharing what you’ve been learning from Jesus.

    “Seek first the Kingdom…” If I’m seeking first the Kingdom, my priorities will eventually line up with God’s. I loved your idea of experiencing time as He designed. Very cool. The semi-circle (3DM) really addresses this well, doesn’t it? (example: “working from rest” vs. “resting from work”)

    Visited The Bridge. Listened to your pannel discussion & excellent gospel treatment of the question of Christian exclusivity (Feb. 4) Well done. You’re a very good teacher/discussion leader.

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