1. movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like.
When a missions organization sends someone to a foreign land that missionary has a prime directive. They are to engage culture in an intentional way in order to create opportunities to minister the Gospel. This is not optional and the missionary must build his or her life around this task.
We are missionaries too, and we must engage our culture with the same type of focused intentionality. This is especially true in an American suburb because we as suburbanites tend to cocoon ourselves away from our culture or create such busy lives that we have little room or time to engage the people around us with the Gospel.
Intentionally building our lives around mission is called creating missional rhythms.
We know what rhythm is when it comes to music and a misisonal rhythm is not much different. It is creating specific ways of orienting your life and routines so that you will come in contact with people who don’t know Christ and that you will use these encounters to build relationships that will eventually create an open door for sharing the Gospel.
We find some excellent examples of this kind of living in Scripture:
- Jesus ministered on a “circuit” traveling from city to city and spent His days in the public places of each community preaching, teaching, and working miracles.
- The stories in the Gospels also find Jesus ministering on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, because that is where people gathered in a community made up predominately of fishermen.
- Acts 17 talks about the Apostle Paul spending his days in the Athens Marketplace sharing the Gospel with the people who were there.
- Acts 19 finds Paul in Ephesus where he spends two years in a local private school called the Hall of Tyrannus, teaching people about the Kingdom.
This is what missional rhythms looked like in that culture and that time. But what about today?
Ultimately, you have to prayerfully examine your own life and routines to see where some missional rhythms can be created but here are a few ideas to get you started.
Become a regular.
Does your dry cleaner know your name? What about your barista, or the teller at your bank, or the owners of the local restaurants? More importantly, do you know their names? Do you know about their families, and their businesses and what they are going through?
There is a lot of talk lately about “buying local.” It’s a beautiful idea. And not just for the economy, but for the Gospel as well. Become a regular patron at the local businesses in your community and get to know not only the people who work there but the other customers as well.
Take a walk.
Spend some time regularly walking through your neighborhood. I’m not talking about power walking with your iPod blaring in your ears, I’m talking about a stroll, a mosey, or an amble. Walk, wave at people, talk to people who are working in their yards and get to know your neighbors.
Buy some tickets.
Every community has local art groups, galleries, theaters, concerts, and ballgames. We should be there. That is where people in our community gather and where we can get to know them.
Even better than buying tickets is to play along yourself! Volunteer as an usher at your local community theater, or even try out for a part if you’re feeling bold. Join a local sports team that is not a church league. Contribute some of your photographs to a local gallery. Buy some art at the gallery yourself and spend some time talking with the artist about the piece.
Get out of your office.
Instead of having lunch at your desk, invite a coworker to lunch and don’t talk about work. Or, you can carpool with someone in your office and talk instead of sleep when it’s his turn to drive.
What about you? What ideas do you have for creating missional rhythms where you live and work?