I’ve been a part of The Compass Church for over five years and have often heard of the call to “live on mission” or to have a “missional-mindset.” And while I agree with this biblical mandate, I often struggled to understand what it actually means to take this truth and put it into practice.
Here are three things I have learned in this past year about living out the mission of Jesus in my neighbourhood:
1. Listen and Learn
It’s through hearing what our neighbours are saying that we can understand and learn how we can best serve them, care for them and tell them about Jesus. Therefore, we need to be using every opportunity we can to get to know people and hear their stories. We will then know how to most effectively serve those around us and love them in a deeper way than we could before. We will not know how to best serve people through watching them from our front window. Take the time to have the conversations so that you can faithfully show them the love of Jesus.
2. What Do You Have to Give?
What is it that you have in your talent box that could be used for others?
I was doing some demo on my house. I got a dump trailer from work to throw all the garbage in, but I knew it wasn’t going to be full. So I started going around to neighbours saying if they had bigger items they had been wanting to take to the dump, they could throw it in there and I would look after it.
An incredibly simple act through which I was able to start a relationship with great couples on our block. This led us to be invited to a party they held where we heard more of their story. Now we’re hearing about their life on a consistent basis. We gave prepared meals when they had their first baby or on days when their whole family is sick.
Use the things that you have – whether it's your time, skills, or resources – to serve.
3. People are Not Projects
Let me ask you: If you built a relationship with your neighbour, and then you were told they would never come to faith in Jesus, would you keep the relationship?
If you say you wouldn’t keep the relationship, you’ve put them into the “projects” category. If they were people (and they are!), they would be worth serving and caring for – just as Jesus did through His life.
We need to realign the way we view people to the way Jesus viewed people. He gave the time that He had to serve the lowliest people. He offered His talents and treasures to those who would one day betray Him. He offers forgiveness to those who would never accept Him.
That’s our model and the love that Jesus has for people.