Christians have become enamored with organized religion. We are thrilled to be a part of official bible studies, official church groups, and official volunteer organizations. However, we forget the true significance behind the missional community. While organizations are pertinent to spreading the gospel, we are at risk of forgetting the community around us.
In today’s Christian sociological conditions, we are steeped in church. We are immersed in tutoring programs, Wednesday night youth services, and small groups, and the people around us—the people in our workplaces, in our schools, in our neighborhoods—are suffering for it. Every person we come in contact with takes place on a mission field. God provides people in our lives for us to encourage and to bolster in their faith, to teach and to learn from. But, how often do we remember these people?
The missional community is often lost in pre-planned events, in straw wrappers and coffee cups left over from a mega-church Sunday breakfast. While the missional community can certainly be discovered in a small group provided by a church, it is often found in our pedestrian lives. It is found in a particularly long conversation with the checker at Wal-Mart, in a backyard barbecue with neighbors who may (or may not) know Jesus, at a basketball game for seventh graders.
I have found that the most I have ever contributed to the kingdom occurred in a spontaneous collision of events. I began leading a small group, not through a church or through Young Life, but through the initiative of four eighth graders at my old junior high school. Through their want for missional community, they decided to create one out of thin air. Teaching and learning from them is one of the most rewarding pieces of community I have ever been blessed with. While we don’t meet at a youth center or a church, and we meet over their lunch break, I find that it is the deepest and most intimate community I have ever experienced.
The most sincere thank you’s I have ever received were from someone in desperate need of a listener, of a coffee-buyer, of a ride to HEB, or simply the provider of a place to sleep. Missional Community can be found in spur of the moment acts of kindness, of love, of Christ in our daily lives.
If we are willing to step out of our comfort zones into the uncertainty of spontaneity, if we are willing to love those around us with Christlike pursuit, if we are willing to act on that love with simple things, like paying for someone’s gas or buying them a coffee, we will create missional community.
I have been so blessed by church services, mentors through the church, and volunteer organizations. I know the deep debt of gratitude we owe them, for the service and love they add to our everyday lives. But, let’s not forget the absolute necessity of spontaneous missional community in our everyday lives. This spontaneity, this generous Christlike spirit, gives way to more change than we could ever imagine.
One spark can start a fire. Let your spontaneous gift of a Sonic drink change someone’s day (maybe even their life).
Callie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University. She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship.