Funnily enough, missional isn't even a real word!
All of these things are great, but I think a key part to being missional that's sometimes forgotten is being prepared to share our faith. Not just 'preaching the Gospel through my life,' but actually welcoming people to encounter the King of Kings for themselves, sharing with them the peace, love and forgiveness that we have experienced. Which raises a problem: how do I share my faith in a non-cheesy, non-forceful, non-offensive way in a secularized nation? That's another way of asking: what can I do to live out my faith publicly in a secular world? To be honest, I've struggled with this - it's easy to feel like I have to keep my faith to myself, making it pretty awkward when I try to share it.
Well, I think I've found my answer for this year. As believers, we're able to welcome the God of the universe into any and every moment. That's what we call prayer. It's stepping back from whatever is going on, recognizing that God is way bigger than we are, and then asking him to step into the midst of whatever we're facing. And prayer, often thought of as 'me connecting with God,' may actually be the best way to connect others with God as well.
Which brings me to a sentence I'm trying to add to my vocabulary this year: "Can I pray for you right now?" I've often found myself in conversations where I don't know the right thing to say. They've just lost a loved one. They're worried about their job. They've become sick. Well, these seven magic words might be my solution. Rather than struggling to help fix a problem that I simply can't fix, I can welcome God into the situation - regardless of whether the person believes or not.
A great illustration of this comes from Graham Cooke. He got talking to a man next to him on a plane. The guy was going through a whole heap of stuff, so Graham invited him to pray about it. The guy said, "That would be great, but I simply don't have the faith to believe that God can help me." Graham's instant response was brilliant: "Don't worry about that. You can borrow my faith. I have faith that God can change your situation. Can I pray for you right now."
Yes, there is a place for explaining why we believe in God. Yes, there is a time to share what Jesus did for us on the cross. But that's all sharing about our faith. But maybe a first step is actually welcoming people to experience our faith - welcoming them to step for a moment into our world where we do believe in a God that loves and cares for us. Even if they don't believe, we're inviting them to join us as we vulnerably (and confidently) come before God. It's creating space for God to move in their lives. It's not telling them what to believe, but showing them the God we do believe in. And it's a way of bringing God into our everyday, public life that's free from cheese!
"Can I pray for you right now?" A simple step towards real, deliberate, genuine missional engagement.
What's your experience of sharing your faith in our Kiwi context?
By praying for people we're not just hoping that God will do something in their life, but we're also welcoming them to see God through our eyes. How could these seven words help you live out your faith?
Ask God to give you an opportunity to use these 'seven magic words' this week. And when he does, use them!
These 'seven magic words' were borrowed from Vineyard USA.