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"One of" - excerpt on incarnational mission

In the previous post we looked at the simple diagram that Alex Absalom's church uses to communicate how God is FOR people, WITH them, became ONE OF them, and wants to be IN them.

As followers of Jesus we are called to be on the same mission - For people, With people, One of (a certain group of people) so that the Life of Jesus that is IN us may come to be IN them.

Here is an excerpt from the book
"One of - Beginning the missional journey" by Alex Absalom and Greg Nettle. (there are some USA cultural references)

We say it this way, "Your life is your mission."  I've heard others say, "love where you live."  As followers of Jesus we are commissioned to love the people we are One Of.  Are you a soccer mom?  Love the soccer moms you are already One Of.  Are you part of a neighborhood? Love the people in your neighborhood.  Are you a student? Love the students in your classes.  Are you a golfer?  Love your playing partners.  Are you a Pittsburg Steelers fan? Well, let's not take this too far!

What neighborhood or network of people are you already One Of?  As a follower of Jesus, are you For them?  Are you really With them? Do you actually like them?

A more revealing set of questions might be: Would the people in my network or neighborhood say that I am For them? Would they say that I am With them?  Do they consider me to be One Of them?

For Julie and me this means that we get invited to the neighborhood tailgate party before the local football game.  We go the party not with the intention of 'winning people to Jesus', but simply because we genuinely like being with our neighbors.  I play in the Texas Hold'em poker tournament with the guys, not in hopes of getting to 'witness' to them, but because I actually like spending the evening as On Of them.  We've taken vacations with extended groups of friends, not to build trust so that we can tell them they need to trust Jesus, but because we love sharing the journey of life as One Of them.

As a result of our genuine relationships with our neighbors, we have had numerous opportunities to serve and witness in Jesus' name.  For instance, in the Fall we went out a series of text messages to invite neighborhood families to gather to pray for one another's children as they headed back to school.  This past year more than 60 people came together for prayer - some were already followers of Jesus but many others simply believed that prayer for their kids couldn't hurt!  We gathered with adults and children.  We asked the kids what they wanted to pray for: "To be able to get my locker open."  "To sit with someone nice on the bus."  "That the bully wouldn't pick on me." And we prayed.

At Christmas we threw a 'birthday party for Jesus' at a local assisted living centre.  Once again we invited our neighbors.  Even people who were just beginning to be inquisitive about the whole Jesus thing joined in.  Most parents wanted their children to be involved in something during the holidays that was more about giving than getting.  We sang carols to the elderly, made Christmas cards together and concluded by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eating cake.  Everyone had fun.

Far too often, when people are around Chrsitians they feel like they have a target on their back.  That at any moment we're going to get out our Gospel gun and open fire.  But if we are really One Of them because we genuinely like them, then we'll have plenty of opportunities to disciple them on their journey of following Jesus - no matter where they are on that journey.

David Wanstall, 22/05/2012