Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Missions, Intentionality, and Made-Up Words.

Have you ever heard a group of people use a word over and over, and you're not sure what it means

or if it's even real...

Well the group of people I'm talking about is the church. Not the physical building or even just the folks here in Las Vegas.

When I say the church, I mean the invisible congregation of the unified body of Christ.
That's the church. I'm talking about.

The word I've heard over and over recently is "intentionality"

Even now as I type it, that judgmental, oppressive red squiggle slithers beneath it, beckoning me to make right what has been defiled.

Grammar is a big deal to me, so when my colleagues begin using a made-up word, my red flags begin to fly.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of "intentionality", fret not. If your pastor has never used this word, that means that he speaks well and doesn't make up words.

Since there is not a true definition of intentionality, I shall attempt to create one for you.

in-ten-tion-al-i-ty -noun
     a- A state of being driven by a specific motivation or purpose.
     b- State of being intentional.

How was that?

The concept of intentionality is purely biblical. It is a state of living with a specific purpose. As followers of Christ and individuals living in obedience to the statutes of the living God, we are commanded to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations" including the one you live in. When Christ says all nations, He means every single one.

Christ's final commandment was like a mission briefing. Literally. He trains us, prepares us, gives us a mission, and then sends us out to accomplish His will. He laid down instructions for His followers and then told us to GO.

Making disciples is not a summer job or something we do on short trips or even just once a week. Making disciples is a life long ongoing mission.

If you're not called to make disciples in a different country, then you are called to make disciples in this one!

Intentionality describes this purposeful state of mind. It is the drive shaft of our hearts. It cranks our engine and turns our gears. Everything we do is influenced by it and done because of it. Every relationship we form, every place we go, every word we say is all a part of our intentionality.

We don't only make disciples when we go to Guam or Beijing. Those places need Christ as much as your neighbors do.

Your neighbors need Christ.

In this context, when I say neighbors, I mean the eight people whose houses surround yours in your neighborhood.

Do your neighbors know Christ?

Do your neighbors know that you know Christ?

Do your neighbors know that you live next to them?

Do you know their names?

This is not an attempted guilt-trip. I know Doug and his wife across the street diagonally from us, and I know Greg who lives right behind us aaaaaand that's it. The other six are ghosts to me. I know they exist because their trash is out every Tuesday  I don't know Doug's wife's name, but I know that they have a lovely dog whose name evades me at this moment. Greg has a wife and a daughter whom I have never met or seen, but I have heard them in the back yard at the same time as me while I'm watering my peas. Have I ever taken the time to talk to them or minister to them in any way? Of course not! I'm a hypocrite. We all are.

I've been feeling so much conviction lately! I have been convicted by a made up word that was made up by a few young bearded pastors in plaid shirts and tight pants.

But maybe it's not the hipster pastors at all. Maybe it is the Word of God itself that has been tugging at my lazy heart.

Pastor Bradley was the spark that lit this intentionality brainstorm firestorm, and I am phenomenally grateful!

Being missional is a trait of all fruitful followers of Christ.

Danggit! Missional is a made-up word too! I'm going home.



Nate T B