Luminous Friday: Has God's mission seeped into our bones or is it a hobby?

On this sunny Friday, I would like to ask a question about who we are as Christians. In contemporary circles, we Christians like to talk about being “missional.” That usually means we want to make it a high priority to make a difference in the world through acts of compassion, mercy, and justice. I lead a missional church. We often remind ourselves that we are there for the “89%.” That’s the 89% of people in the Sacramento region who don’t attend church. We are convinced that the church is perhaps the only organization that exists for the sake of the people who don’t belong to it.

As much as I embrace and participate in the missional movement in today’s church, I often wonder whether we have pushed the missional question deeply enough. It’s easy to make “missional” something we do rather than who we are. Church drifts into becoming about the 11%, with the 89% being served only to make the 11% feel better about themselves. I have sometimes called this “churchianity.”

How can we push the missional question deeper? That’s what chapter 2 of Luminous is about. This is how the chapter ends. I hope it stimulates thought and prayer for you today and into this weekend.

Who are we as Christians? If we were to ask that question around Christian circles, we might hear answers like “we are sinners who are saved by grace” or “we are God’s adopted children” or maybe “we are God’s beloved.” What we wouldn’t commonly hear is “we are people sent on God’s mission.” The idea that we are sent might register in our heads, but it hasn’t soaked into our bones. What if it did? What if being sent came to register so deeply that it became part of our self-identity? There have been men and women among us who’ve come to this point. They’re people of clarity who make uncommon choices and inspire those around them. You may know one of these people. You are called to be one of these people. 
The rest of this book builds upon a fundamental choice: setting God’s mission as the highest purpose in our lives and acting accordingly. When we set our will to be people of purpose, our hearts are better prepared for God to shine through us. (Luminous, 48-49)

Note: Throughout 2014, my Friday posts will be excerpts and thoughts from Luminous: Living the Presence and Power of Jesus (IVP, 2013). My hope is that these posts launch you into the weekend in a Jesus-centered way.


  1. After some limited study, it seems to me what people do generally is find a place they can relate. The have this internal need to relate. A "church" is a safe place to get that need met. As is a neighborhood bar, a tennis club, a political group or a "goth" group. We are accepted by others with a similar interest or point of view.

    I met a guy last year who was unique. He fit in with any of those groups and waited for the moment in others lives when they let their guard down. Had a moment of vulnerability, invitation to look a little deeper. He was ready. It wasn't that he is an "evangelist" it's more that he is a listener. He doesn't challenge in the sense of trying to convert anyone. He looks for a question in their statement that might open a line of thinking into the possibility that God is real and someone to want to meet.

    I want to be him. Not confrontational or threatened by any push back. Someone who is so certain about my God, in all situations I am awake enough to be free to share and celebrate God.

    Since there is only now . . the mission field is the person standing in my moment.


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