The summer is here, and we just prepped for it at Pulpit Rock by doing a Sunday mini-series called “BBQ Evangelism”. That title obviously has one word we all love, “BBQ,” and one we’re not so sure about, “Evangelism.” However, we feel like we’d like to reclaim the word Evangelism (and Evangelist) so that we all see ourselves as evangelists for the Kingdom. Seeing ourselves as evangelists, or missionaries, can be a hurdle because of the baggage that these words often carry in the church.
Many times, our mental pictures of Evangelists involve guys in white suits on late night TV spouting all kinds of Christian lingo. It can seem that an evangelist must be well educated theologically or feel called to full-time vocational ministry. We’ve been taught that a missionary is only a person that sells all their possessions and moves overseas to another country. But when you look at scripture well you see something very quickly: God is a missionary God who sends his people, and we are all “sent” as missionaries and evangelists.
SENT: We are all “sent” people of God.
John 20:21 reports Jesus telling his disciples, “As the Father sent me so I am also sending you.” These words imply that we are all called as missionaries, sometimes to overseas cultures, but sometimes to the live cross-culturally right in our own neighborhood, workplace or school. As the “sent” people of God, we are called to more than just church attendance or congregating on Sundays. We are launched OUT into the places we live, work and play to be a tangible example of the Kingdom of God. We live intentionally into other people’s lives bringing grace, peace and healing to broken situations and journies, these acts being the “Amuse-bouche” (precursor to a fine meal-appetizer) that acts as a foretaste of the Kingdom. In being intentionally involved in people’s lives, we can give a picture of what the Kingdom will be like.
SALT: We are called to live as salt in the Kingdom.
This was “bacon Sunday,” as we filled the auditorium with the smell of salty bacon and discussed the salt passages of scripture. Often when we remember Jesus’ words to, “…don’t lose your saltiness,” we think of keeping our holiness and biblical behavior in tact. We can also fall into the trap of pointing out other people’s sin and “unsaltiness.” Our call is to season the culture with salt, to use gracious words (Col 4:5-6) and live in peace (Mark 9:50), and so we want to be careful to use a salt shaker and not just the pour spout to dump salt on the things we see that don’t seem to fit Kingdom behavior. As we season people’s lives with the Kingdom of God, they will be drawn to the aroma and taste (just like we are to bacon).
BLESS: We are called to be a blessing to the city in which we live.
We live as a people placed in a particular place for a particular time, blessing those that we come in contact with (Jer. 29:4-14). As we live our lives, we should live with the goal and constant focus of being a blessing, taste and aroma of the Kingdom of God, showing in our actions to others a picture of the Kingdom of God. We are in our particular neighborhood and city for a specific reason.
This summer, as you engage your neighbors, family and friends around the BBQ grill, do it with intentionality. The intentionality is not in giving your testimony, pointing out unholy behavior, or even teaching the knowledge of who God is. Be intentional by showing what the Kingdom of God IS more than talking about it. It’s a Kingdom filled with grace, love and invitation to join God in his reconciliation and redemption of the world…to join God on his mission.
So now when we think of an Evangelist (one who announces good news), we understand that we can announce the Kingdom of God with our actions as well as our words. We can live intentionally in our neighbors and friends lives as missionaries because we are sent by God to do that!
Have fun this summer around the grill, and take a taste and aroma of the Kingdom into your gatherings.
Written by Rowland Smith
Want to take the next step in learning to live with intentionality? Sign up for our new class, A Dangerous and Meaningful Life, beginning September 9.