Staying on Mission

Kenneth Maresco

There are people who thrive sharing the gospel with others. However, for me living or staying on mission has always been a challenge in my Christian life. I find it difficult to build long-term loving relationships with people who do not share my convictions, and then out of that friendship talk with them about spiritual things.

Are you like me?

I was freshly motivated to stay on mission this past Sunday as Seita Sakaguchi taught from Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-30). Jesus was hungry and tired, needing water. And here was a Samaritan woman, shunned by her community for her sexual immorality, and what does Jesus do? He sees the condition of her life, and in spite of his physical needs, he took the time to show her who she was and share with her who he is – the only one who can satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart.

Seita reminded us that in this story, Jesus is showing us our mission and how to fulfill it. Our lives are filled with people, like this woman, who need to know how Jesus quenches their thirst for something more. To make Seita’s message real in your own life, I suggest that you do two things:

First, this coming week, we celebrate July 4th, a holiday that often involves entertaining family and friends. Please consider who you might reach out to in your community with the love of Christ. If you can, consider doing it with another friend or family in the church. Let’s make July 4th a missional holiday! 🙂

Second, living on mission is not getting any easier. Our culture’s perspective on Christians and Christianity is becoming increasingly negative, and this makes engaging people with the message of Jesus more and more difficult.

On June 11th, we hosted a workshop with Randy Newman where we spoke about the challenge of sharing our faith in the 21st century. Close to 50 people crowded into Room 202 to talk about these issues with Randy for about an hour and a half. The time flew by and when we were done, Randy gave us an assignment and invited us back for part two on August 20th.

Here is the assignment:

  1. Try to have one or two conversations with one or two non-Christians about their beliefs. In the first conversation, try to do more listening than talking. Ask questions to make sure you’re understanding what they’re saying or to help them explore their own ideas or beliefs. For example, you could initiate a conversation by saying, “I’m part of a church that is trying to understand what people outside our church believe. Would you be willing to discuss some of your ideas about faith with me sometime?”
  2. See if you can identify one significant question they have about the Christian faith. Narrow it down to one. See if you can also understand the content and tone of the question to learn whether they’re asking with sincere interest, angry doubt, attacking skepticism? That will help you ask follow-up questions to understand their experiences with other Christians and our faith.
  3. Try to brainstorm what might be some next steps to take for future conversations.

That’s it!

I would like to invite anyone who is interested to join us on August 20th for our follow-up conversation. We will be meeting in the Basement Auditorium and serving pizza for $2.00 a slice. Even if you did not make it the first meeting with Randy or weren’t able to do the assignment, please come! I think you’ll find it worthwhile and encouraging.

If you are able to do one or both of the assignments, we look forward to hearing what you’ve learned.

Jesus quenches our thirst for something deeper. What he did when he died and rose again none of us could have done for ourselves, and now we get to share in his life and his mission with our thirsty, and hungry friends. Let’s enjoy him and his fellowship together as we live and stay on mission!