Thinking like a missionary is a reasonable service proposition (Romans 12:1). It isn’t extreme in light of what Christ has done for us. Following Jesus might seem radical or extreme at the outset, but once the initial step has been made the missionary mindset follows naturally.
Following Jesus re-wires our thinking. It changes every facet of our worldview. He is the light of the world, and His light enlightens us (John 1:4; 8:12). Far too often Christians dramatize in our thinking choices that are normalized in the Scripture.
Life as kingdom citizens is joyfully different than the status quo. We get to live with a perspective focused on “things above.”
Let’s consider Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” Jesus had this kind of mindset. Jesus is more than our prototype — He has filled us with His own life.
We could try to identify the bottom line indicators of the missionary mindset in a number of ways, but perhaps the simplest way is to look at a missionary’s priorities.
Thinking like a missionary is a reasonable service proposition. It isn’t extreme in light of what Christ has done for us.
Missionaries are mission-oriented Jesus followers. They find joy in prioritizing gospel-mission over their own comfort. A believer with a missionary mindset makes decisions based on gospel-mission objectives.
Mission-oriented Jesus followers will answer life questions like “where should I live?” or “how should I spend my income?” in radically different ways than those living out the status quo for American citizens. However, these decisions will not seem radical to them. Far too often, a Jesus follower living in light of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will hear “I could never do that” from other believers as they observe their mission-oriented decision-making process. For the missionary, the life choices they’ve made seem joyful, fulfilling and reasonable.
A natural and vital reprioritization is especially important if we are to be a movement that fulfills the calling to make disciples who make disciples. If we are going to disciple others to lead, we must become leaders who intentionally live open and accessible lives.
Leaders must bring their disciples into their lives in a way that allows them to observe, learn and practice the same decision-making process that they live by. The new disciple must learn to see the world from a kingdom perspective. They must be led to apply the example of Christ’s life to every aspect of their own. If we leaders are living as disciplers and sensing the joy of a life lived on mission, we will invite other disciples into our lives and teach them to do the same. Those second, third and fourth-generation leaders will know what reasonable service looks like.
Hopefully, many of our kids won’t think that the missionary mindset is so “radical.” After all, it is a reasonable service in light of the good news. It’s our joy to follow Jesus!
Thoughts to explore:
- Would choosing to live in a specific neighborhood because of their need for the gospel seem like a strange choice to you?
- Would accepting a particular work assignment because of the way it would position you strategically for gospel mission seem weird to you?
- Would inviting someone to live with you or have free access to “private areas” of your life with the objective of discipling a new leader seem odd to you?