Brian Sanders, Founder of Tampa Underground wisely says, “something terrible happens when we add an ‘s’ on the end of mission.” His point, at least in part, is to signal a return to God’s design: his people living as missionaries in our cities AND around the world. We’ve been made in his image, and so just as the Father sent the Son, the Father and Son sent the Spirit. And the Spirit is now sending his church across the street and around the world.
As a church we are embracing this wonderful gift that God sees us as missionaries. So we don’t engage in His mission only when we travel with a passport in a group of friends to an underdeveloped country. We do join him on mission in those places, and we would love to have you with us in that, but we are also invited to cooperate with God in His sacred work to restore all of creation back to himself, and that begins right across your street. We have been greatly inspired by the teachings of David Fitch’s Faithful Presence and Brian Sanders’ Underground Church.
In Faithful Presence, Fitch writes,
Faithful presence names the reality that God is present in the world and that he uses a people faithful to his presence to make himself concrete and real amid the world’s struggles and pain. When the church is this faithful presence, God’s kingdom becomes visible, and the world is invited to join with God…It’s how God has chosen to change the world.
There is undoubtedly a logical progression — an operational theology if you will — that being made in the image of God and sent on His mission we have every resource we need to announce the Kingdom of God and make a wonderfully Gospel-inspired difference in our region. Let’s respond to the ancient invitation of God to show up fully present in the culture where he has placed us, armed with the Gospel that Jesus is King and he is making all things new. Let us be, never OF the world, but increasingly IN and FOR it.
We cannot accept this invitation and explore God’s new world of Faithful Presence if we are solely focused on our earthly pursuits of amassing wealth, becoming the most beautiful person on Insta, raising a kid who is a D-1 athlete, or being the fastest person in our company to go from CSR to C-suite. Nor can we realize the Jesus mission for our lives if we wait for our local church to dream up the initiatives and efforts for us. Full of the Spirit and placed in a location, nobody is better equipped and positioned for impact in your context than you. But great ideas become living miracles when we unify together in humility, discern God’s leading in community, and sacrifice for the vision. Those who have blazed this trail before us report results that are nothing short of breathtaking: The hungry fed, the marginalized served, the hurting given voice, and the lost introduced to this Jesus way of living.
Leslie Newbegin writes,
“The church was not meant to call men and women out of the world’s danger into a safe religious enclave but instead to call them out of the world’s bondages and send them back as agents of peace.”
We believe this peace will come when you give yourself over to start dreaming again, then share your dreams in community, and find practical and realistic ways to address the chaos of our world and bring restoration. Ask God, “How are you calling me to work for the peace and prosperity of those around me?”
The first step is simple and will take you no more than 10 minutes, so why not get started right now. Simply click on the link below and complete the Missional Engagement Inventory. This will give you an opportunity to stir up the waters of mission in your own soul and explore the areas you see that could use a little Kingdom touch. After completing the inventory if you have an idea you’d like to try out — we’d love to partner with you. You can utilize the grant application to help you get a jump start on what God is leading you to do.
And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare. -Jeremiah 29:7