What role do you have in the mission of the church?
Does this question immediately make you think about what you do related to specifically church sanctioned activities and ministries? Does it make you feel guilty that you aren’t “doing enough”?
If so, you probably aren’t alone.
Traditionally, we have focused on the "gathered" church. We focus on the Sunday morning worship gathering. We focus on the paid church workers and the programs sponsored and run by the church. Being a part of the mission of the church comes to mean volunteering leisure hours to join what church workers are already doing.
But seeing the mission of the church only in this gathered sense becomes stunted. This is why Neil Hudson, in Imagine Church, urges churches to reclaim a vision for the scattered life of the church. This is the Monday to Saturday life of the church—individual believers scattered into their homes, workplaces, and leisure spaces. This is where ordinary mission happens in the every-day. It’s not about doing more (joining more church-related activities) but about doing everything in “normal life” through the lens of mission. We are sent out to our “frontline”. This is the scattered life of the church.
Remembering this rhythm of gathering and scattering begins to change the way we see mission.
- We focus less on getting people involved and into the church building, and more on discovering where God is already using them and how the church can equip and encourage them to be effective there.
- We focus on discipleship and equipping because we are sending out disciples who will be an integral part of God’s mission in the world. The church becomes about formation.
- The mission of the church becomes something everyone is a part of, not relegated to the “professionals.”
Each of us is on what Hudson refers to as a “frontline.” We are already in a unique position to be used by God and engage in his work in the world. Our frontlines are the places of relationship and realms of influence in which we participate in the ordinary day-to-day. On our frontlines are our co-workers, our families, our friends, and our neighbors. It includes the guys on the local softball league, the barista who prepares our coffee each morning, the driver of our commuting bus or train, and our child’s piano teacher.
Neil Hudson narrates a video that creatively captures life on the frontline. Meet Anne…
When we start looking for places where God is already using us, we begin to see how being a part of His mission on this earth permeates through our everyday existence. We aren’t on the sidelines because we aren’t in an official ministry capacity or living overseas as a missionary. We are on a frontline of our own, strategically positioned to be used by God for the building of His Kingdom.