Don’t waste your Summer.
It’s easy to do. I already feel like my Spring has gone by so fast I don’t know what I’ve done for the mission. To spread the kingdom of God. Who have I reached? Who have I begun discipling? Who am I sharing the story of God with? Have I opened up my home more? Have I shared my time, money, talent and love with more people?
It’s easy to just live life and let the days go by. Stuck in survival mode. So for me, it’s helpful to ask questions, like the ones above. Not to drown you in guilt and shame. But to force you to take a step back, to think for a moment, to wonder if I’m just floating through life or striving for intentional living. It’s living on purpose versus living on accident.
So in the typical Missional Man Podcast MANner, I wanted to share some simple, easy, practical ways to have a Summer that is more intentionally missional. That’s why I say they are uber practical. These aren’t just more activities to add to your already busy schedule. No way! In our busy, self-absorbed, go-here, go-there, do-this do-that American lifestyle that’s too unrealistic. The mission doesn’t call us to stop everything, necessarily, as much as it calls us to live more intentional lives for the mission. What am I already doing? First is it good and helpful? If it is not, then stop it. But if it is, then how can I make what I’m doing more in-line with the mission.
Enough. Here are 5 ways. Why 5? Cause that’s how many I came up. No magic here.
5 Uber Practical Ways to Have a More Missional Summer
#1 – Play in the front yard instead of the back yard.
I’m sure you’ve already noticed we live in a private, leave-me-alone, mind-your-own-business culture. Half the doorbells at front doors don’t even work anymore. So we’ve retreated for the sake of privacy and comfort to our back doors, back yards and back porches. But this has only served to hide us from being seen. Which is good for those pesky neighbors right? But if our mission is to reach and love our neighbors, then we have to see and be seen. A simple fix for this is next time you go outside to work or play with family, friends or kids, go out front. Wave. Speak. Introduce. Share contact information. Invite. This is such an effortless, easy move. But like a small pebble in a motionless pond, can make huge waves of change for the mission. Remember, it’s not about comfort but compassion.
#2 – Neighborhood BBQ
Just like playing or working outside, having a BBQ is easy. Any kind of outdoor grilling really. Again, you’re not adding more activity. You’re already going to grill those burgers and steaks. Why not just open up your thinking more. At this point, you’ve already said “hey” from the front yard. Now next time you can invite them to grill. Instead of just you and the family, invite a neighbor. People love to eat. Most people don’t turn down free food, especially meat. Better yet, invite some neighbors who can bring their own favorite meat, you provide the sides, drinks and grill. This is not stressful or creating more new activity. You’re already grilling. Make your grilling more intentional. More missional-minded. And it may take a few invites. Don’t give up. Keep asking.
#3 – Family Movie/Pizza Night
What family doesn’t love a pizza and movie night. We do it almost every Friday. It’s become a great tradition in our home. It’s a great time of fun and sharing. And it’s cheap and easy. Just like grilling, open up your thinking a bit here. Sure this requires a little more unction and boldness, because you’re not just inviting them to hang outside anymore. Now you’re opening up your home. Don’t let the silly questions be a wet towel on your desire for the mission: What if we don’t know them? What pizza will they like? What if they are weird (and you’re not? sheesh)? What movies do they like? In our home, really? Our house is not clean. Our bathroom toilet runs some. How do we ask them what drinks they like? What if they want to bring a beer along?
You know what? Just ask. Pick a family movie or watch a sports game. The point is not what you watch, the point is hanging out with an already formed American tradition of movie and pizza. It may take a few invites, but they may surprise you with a “yes”. Don’t just stay family, extend your family to neighbors.
#4 – Share Your Stuff with Neighbors
Ok so you’ve said “hey”, invited them over for BBQ or pizza. Whether they’ve said “yes” or “no” at this point is irrelevant. Jesus tells us to hold all of our possessions with an open hand, ready to give to those in need at anytime. Not just those who are like us or who we like. But anyone (neighbor) who is in need. Why wait for them to ask? Because most people will never ask for help or to borrow something unless they are desperate. Be intentional here. Next time you see your neighbor outside doing anything, say “hey” and tell them “anytime you guys need anything just give us a holler”. Or next time they are out mowing the grass, offer a piece of lawn equipment to help. Or a tool. Anything. Sharing goes way beyond conversation, grilling or a movie. Sharing your stuff lets people know you care. It shows them you care more about them then stuff. What an anti-American attitude to have. It will change people, even if they say “thanks but no I’m good”. Just knowing that you offered can be powerful enough to spark something inside of them.
#5 – Be a Secret-Service Ninja
Okay I robbed this one from my church plant where one of my best friends and Pastor (Rob Wilkerson, Episode #010: Grace Identity) led us for years in how to live with radical grace among others.
Jesus calls us to serve and love one another. He often told us to serve in a way that is in secret, not wanting any praise or notice. Ninjas move in stealth and secret, going unnoticed by unsuspecting people. Rob coined the phrase secret-service ninjas, teaching and showing us to serve people in radical ways without them knowing. It was fun and very rewarding. It built our faith. We didn’t always get to see people’s reactions. But that didn’t matter. It was awesome serving God and serving others.
Use your imagination here. Let it run wild. Crazy. Here’s just a few ideas to help. Remember, the key is doing these in secret:
- wash a neighbor’s car
- mow neighbor’s lawn, rake yard, pickup pine-cones or sticks
- take their trash
- sweep their porch
- drop some extra cash in an envelope in their door
- next time you order a pizza, order one extra (it’s only $5)
- pay for car behind you in drive-thru (don’t worry, you can ask cashier how much their order is first) – this one is so fun to do, b/c you can often see reactions in rear-view mirrors
Remember to squash any “what-if” questions that arise. Those are just silly fears we have that prevent us from serving others in practical ways.
It’s about compassion, not comfort.