for the Way
The Missional Community as a Means of Grace, Week 3 

By Andrea Lingle
August 24, 2016

Have you ever done a logic puzzle? You get a list of clues, make a grid, and figure out, through astounding feats of intellect and crossing off of boxes, who sat next to whom and what color shirt they had on and what they ate.

I am really good at those.

I am not very logical in any other way.

Nevertheless, I am going to try my hand at a proof. Please send all corrections to Adam White.

If Prevenient Grace is at work before a person takes conscious action and Prevenient Grace flows from the source of grace (the Divine), then any action that proceeds from a stance of grace originated from the Divine.

So, when one begins to live into intentional missional community, one is ordering oneself with the flow of the Divine that permeates the fabric of life.

So, everything that one does, from a stance of Grace, is missional.

So, you make widgets? Prevenient Grace teaches us that widget-making is missional.

So, you clean houses? Prevenient Grace teaches us that house cleaning is missional.

So, you fill prescriptions? Prevenient Grace teaches us that filling prescriptions is missional.

Those are empty words you cry. Anyone can say that making widgets or answering phones or making copies is missional, but that does not make it so.

In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12:41-44, Jesus is sitting with his disciples and notices a poor woman slipping two tiny coins into the treasury.

Two tiny mites. Only together did they even make a penny’s worth.

And yet, it was her great calling to give those mites. And why do you despise your mites? Why do you despise the work of your hands? Jesus made it clear: if you swing your intention into the flow of grace, which has always been there, your tiny offering is worthy of a treasury.

I am a stay-at-home-mom. I spend my time teaching children how to wash their underpants and imploring them to walk right past their brother without punching/pinching/poking him. Please. For the love of beauty, stop aggravating each other. And me. Maybe mostly me. Please stop aggravating me.

It is really easy to think of the Gospel’s call to live missionally (love God, and love others) is somewhere out there. I need to go volunteer to do something else in order to live missionally. Sweeping up crumbs and arbitrating between fractious children is...boring. Living missionally is exciting! Right? Jesus said, whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.

In Matthew 10, Jesus told his disciples what he expected of them. He started out pretty strong.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. [1]

That is hard stuff right there! That is something you can sink your teeth into. Sacrifice. Mountain climbing. Hero’s work.

Then he goes on to specifics:
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.

Say hi and give “little ones” a drink. On purpose (that’s the “in the name of part”).

Jesus, it’s a bit less sexy in the details. Could you at least have left me the sword?

Living missionally is right here and right there. Wherever you are. And it has been long before you and will be long after. Will you join in?

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • What have you deemed too boring to be missional?

  • How are you practicing intention?

  • This week, pick a specific task (laundry, washing dishes, writing emails, filing papers) that you do regularly, and bring your missional intention to bear on the task.

  • Pick a breathing mantra to help you focus your intention on the task. I use “I am here” as I inhale, and “Here I am” as I exhale.

  • Use some method of tracking how the task changes.

Next Week: "The Gospel's Emphasis of a Missional Community"

[1] Oremus Bible Browser, accessed July 26, 2016,
Launch & Lead - What Do You Love About This Place?

The WNC3 cohort of Launch & Lead met at Haw Creek Commons this weekend for their 3rd training retreat (which means they’ve now completed about 75% of the 2-year program). This event, which focuses on principles and skills related to community development, also functions as a springboard into the practicum phase of Launch & Lead.
So much of what we do in Launch & Lead is designed to help our participants to develop a posture of curiosity, discovery, and expectation as we encounter the world around us. That isn’t to say that we turn a blind eye to, or adopt a naïve dismissal of pain, dysfunction, injustice. On the other hand, we also realize that constantly seeking out and highlighting everything that is wrong is not any more effective or beneficial.
So we challenge ourselves to become increasingly skilled in the art of listening, watching, and noticing. As we enter a new (or even a seemingly familiar) neighborhood, we know that before we took a single step toward this encounter, God was already at work in this place. As we meet a new (or even a seemingly familiar) neighbor, we know that this person carries around a wealth of experiences, stories, insights, and gifts…even if they don’t realize it.
The participants were sent out in groups one evening to look for signs of these very things. They were challenged to ask about people’s gifts and hobbies or to ask a question like, “What do you love about this place?”
You should have heard the stories they brought back the next day…
Or you could just talk to someone in your community and more than likely you’ll come back with some pretty great stories yourself.

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