A Dose of Missional Mountain Dew

An article was recently published in Christianity Today magazine called “The Craziest Statistic You’ll Read About North American Missions.” 

The article gave evidence to the growing number of non-Christians living in the United States and Canada that do not know any Christians.  The stats show that if agnostics and atheists are excluded, close to 60 percent of non-Christians fall into this category.  That’s over 13 million people living in the US that do not know a Christian!

Is one of them sitting in the cubicle next to you at work?  Maybe it’s your child’s soccer coach?  Is one of them mowing your grass in the summer?  Are their kids playing with your children in the back yard?  Who are these people and why are we not befriending them?

According to the article, although movements have been initiated in order to create purposeful interreligious dialogue,

“They’re still rare compared to the apparent apathy among Christians about befriending non-Christians.”

Apathy, otherwise defined as: lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

There may be many reasons for this lack of interest but I see none as glaring as our simple need for a vision of transformation outside of ourselves.  Our lives have become so consumed with attending to our own personal needs that we have become blinded to the needs of those around us.   If we are going to be the salt and light of this world as Jesus commands in Matthew 5:13-16 then we have to overcome our self consumption and begin seeing the world from God’s perspective.

The need for a jolt

It seems to me the church needs a jolt of missional Mountain Dew!  A re-energizing to see the world around us everyday as an opportunity to worship and serve the God we love.  As the people of God we need to see the vision of how God wants to use us to reach the lost, vulnerable, poor and marginalized in our culture with His love.  We need projects and initiatives that train our people on poverty and God’s heart for the poor and that teach and equip the body of Christ to share their faith through words and good deeds with the people in their lives.  We need to befriend the 13 million people in this country who have no Christian friends!

As mentioned in our earlier blog on Living as Missional People: A Beginners Guide we must become a people intentional about building relationships.  A friendship is built upon relationship and relationships change lives.

Do the Dew

Who do you know that needs to become your friend?  How might God be calling you to step out of your comfort zone and become a friend with someone different than you?  Make it your goal this week to start a friendship with a non-Christian.  Give it your time, effort and intentionality and see what opportunities God may give you to share a small glimpse of the kingdom.  Take the plunge and drink the missional Mountain Dew!

Image courtesy of Marykinss. / Flickr.com
By | 2013-11-04T11:30:10+00:00 November 4th, 2013|Categories: Learn and Apply, 2:10|

About the Author:

John Warden is Reconciled World’s global staff pastor and the facilitator for 2:10. He holds a Masters of Religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has more than fifteen years of ministry experience. He lives in Sioux Falls, SD with his wife and two daughters. You can contact him directly at johnw@reconciledworld.org.

2 Comments

  1. chris November 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    It is an interesting thought, but, I wonder if this answer is not yet again heading down the well worn path that removes love from relationship and replaces it with obligation. When I see that in a nation of 320 million people 13 million clam not to know a Christian, what is that 100 million of the others, it doesn’t add up. I think the truth is, they are in the next cubical, and they are friends, as far as that goes in our modern society, however the person doesn’t know, that their friend is indeed one of those elusive Christians.

    How often do Christians fail to admit their faith, and why? I would believe it is from share embarisment, ‘you not one of those people who …’ A common response I get when my friends learn of my faith, and I am happy to inform them that I am not. I don’t make friends to share the gospel, or feel any guilt when the topic does not arrise, however it often does and it is now my habit to start with an apology for what those people did before.

    I wonder if instead we started with a don’t be shy of your faith campaign, it would show that normal people believe as well. Although this would no doubt bring out a second and much more scary issue, how many people know their faith well enough to answer the simple question, that soon arises, ‘why are you a Christian?’

  2. John November 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Chris,

    Thanks for your response and thoughts.

    I agree with you that creating relationships out of obligation is not what God desires from us. There is not much good that comes out of serving God through obligation!

    Anything in our faith (Christianity) purely done out of obligation is teetering on the edge of worthlessness. If you read the Bible merely out of obligation and not a heart and desire to commune with God and listen to his Spirit what are you gaining? Is that all that God requires, just the act of reading? We know that the answer to that is no. Thus, we should do nothing, whether it be the spiritual disciples, serving, or even creating relationships, purely out of obligation. One’s desire to get to know and love other people through authentic relationship should come out of an overflow of their love of God, not out of obligation to perform for God.

    In response to your question/comment concerning this answer being ‘the well worn path that removes love from relationship and replaces it with obligation.’

    As I advocate in this blog we need to learn to embrace missional living. At the heart of missional living is the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31) In my blog “Living as Missional People” (referenced in the second to last paragraph above) I mention that the goal is to love them (people) just as Jesus would:

    “As Christians we need to go to them, get to know what they are like and what they are interested in; love them just the way they are. We aren’t there to convict them or tell them how to live, but rather to encourage, accept, love and value them as people. People with magnificent gifts, desires, personalities, experiences and each with a story.”

    Love or “Loving your neighbor” should be at the core of any relationship we seek to create. And for a deeper understanding of what “loving” looks like we need not look any further than Jesus who modeled love to us throughout his life. He loved others through compassion, respect, listening and encouraging. (Blog: “4 Ways Jesus Modeled Love”).

    Living missionally is loving through authentic relationships filled with compassion, respect, listening and encouraging. Those are some attributes of a biblical relationship and friendship. It’s seeking to share and demonstrate Christ’s love and hope to others that should motivate and compel us in our missional living. We love because Christ first loved us. (1 John 4:19) That is a command, call, direction that Christians should live out daily and it includes seeking to get to know new people including the millions of non-Christians who have no Christian friends.

    The fact is, there are millions of non-Christians living in the USA and many of them don’t have (or realize they have) Christian friends. Let’s allow this fact to motivate and compel us into genuine friendships and missional living. Sometimes bringing awareness is the first step to producing positive change.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. May the Lord bless you as you seek to live and demonstrate His love to those around you!

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