Most Christians will tell you that being Christian has something to do with “following Jesus.” Now, we might not be able to more than that but we get a sense that “following Jesus” is a big part of it all. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people” in Matthew 4:19 and we kinda’ like that. We particularly like it in parts of the world like my own where fishing is a big part of the culture. We’re just not sure what that means then as we try to engage the world.
Scott Sauls and Brad Andrews provide a missional “spin” to this that I think is quite helpful. If we’re following Jesus that means being missional because we need to to follow Jesus where he went…we need to be engaged in the world in the way that he was engaged.
They provide four ways of understanding this:
WE NEED TO BE FOLLOWING JESUS INTO (AND OUT FROM) WORSHIP — Jesus was in the habit of worship and we need to join him in worship, prioritizing our time with him (and other Christians) for encouragement and strength for engagement with the world.
WE NEED TO FOLLOW JEUS INTO THE WORLD THROUGH PUBLIC FAITH — Jesus’ faith didn’t end at the temple door. Say the authors: “As carriers of heaven’s DNA and the aroma of Jesus in his world, we want to carry his grace, truth, and beauty into all the places where we live, work, and play.”
WE NEED TO FOLLOW JESUS INTO THE WORLD THROUGH THE INTEGRATION OF FAITH AND WORK — Jesus worked. And, for us, work is often the “primary realm for following Jesus and loving the world.” If we don’t connect work with faith then we have a whole lot of our life that we’ve shut off from missional activity.
WE NEED TO FOLLOW JESUS INTO THE WORLD THROUGH MERCY AND JUSTICE — While hard to do, this one is easy to see in the life of Jesus. “Because the poor in spirit are called “blessed,” and because Jesus gave special attention to the poor, the weak, the under-served, the overlooked, and those living on the margins, the church must dedicate her time, energy, service, and a significant portion of her financial resources to mercy and justice efforts.
If we are going to follow Jesus we’ll at least do it in these missional ways.