The Rhythm of Missional Engagement with the Neighborhood
Practice: Moving into the Neighborhood
Missional engagement is not primarily about getting people saved. It has more to do with demonstrating God’s life together than it has to do with many of the evangelism models that have shaped the way we share Jesus’ gospel.
All of the research confirms that people primarily come to life in Christ through significant relationships. However, like the salesperson who builds a relationship with someone to make the big sale, too many Christians are only befriending people so they can include them and the groups can grow.
The way of life that leads to Missional engagement is defined by Missional Communion and Missional Relating practiced by God’s people. The key is doing Missional Communion and Missional Relating before those in the neighborhood as opposed to doing it as a task that comes after Missional Communion and Relating are complete. In other words, we do all at the same time instead of breaking them up into tasks.
Being present is best done by two or more people so they can demonstrate how they live together in front of others.
Presence establishes us as people who live in this world and as people who have a God who can do something about what is going on in this world.
Missional Engagement is practiced as a community of people focused on being present in a specific time and place. It is about living in the local and being focused on doing the small stuff of the kingdom for a specific group of people so they can actually experience and feel the life of Christ in and through the community.
The key is proximity, because only with it can things like repetition of contact, regular encounters, inclusion in everyday activities, and the like occur. To be focused on a specific local context will require long-term investment and being present repeatedly.
Sometimes it seems the more committed to God a person becomes; the less he or she is involved with the neighborhood. This seems especially true of those who are paid employees of local churches.
Practice: Speaking Peace