Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
What is a missional church?
When Narratives Church was founded in 2008, it was with an eye outward. Unlike many church plants where the emphasis has been on building the church structure through programs and capital campaigns, Narratives’ goal was, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to build people who could in turn build up others. The church was seen as the hub, but the real action was out where the wheels hit the road. To that end, Narratives has created a safe place where people can work through their woundedness by discovering who God has uniquely shaped them to be. The result is a generous, authentic community that has a heart for its community.
The missional mindset
In essence, the missional movement centers on individuals being the church wherever they live, work and play. In traditional churches, congregations offer programs and services geared toward people who visit the church (inward focused). The missional church has more of an outward focus by training its people to go out and be the church during the natural rhythms of life.
We believe that ministry begins at home because witness isn’t just words; it is the way we live our lives. If our lives cannot witness to the power of Christ, how can our words impact the world? First, we must practice what we preach and then we move to our neighborhood, our country and our world.
So ministry is more than just a dude on a street corner handing out tracts or getting people to come to our church. It is essentially narrating Jesus by striking up a conversation, a warm smile in a supermarket line, or sharing a bottle of cold water in Jesus’ name. These are our neighbors. Each one of us has a daily opportunity to reach out through kindness, service and thinking outside the box. Think about the people whose paths cross yours every day. Most of us have a familiar route, and we frequently engage the same service workers at the supermarket, gym, restaurants, stores and coffee shops.
Ministry isn’t difficult, but it is intentional. That’s why we engage our world with kindness and understanding wherever we go. We are Christ-followers round-the-clock. We want to be aware of those around us, and the impact we have on them.
So what’s outreach?
In addition to our 24/7 lifestyle outreach, there is a time for specifically targeted outreach: feeding the homeless, clothing the poor, taking care of the widows and orphans, cleaning parks, supporting world missions and going the second mile. As with ministry, outreach opportunities spring from passion and calling. They are new and ever changing.
Narratives offers a variety of these outreaches as the Holy Spirit leads in collaboration with the passions and calling of our people. We have worked on numerous projects for the homeless, adopted a family for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, donated items of need to earthquake victims, sponsored missionaries in the Middle East, reached out to children of incarcerated inmates, helped on building projects in Jamaica, and blessed the police and local businesses with thank you gift baskets.
Our children are also trained early on to be missional minded. They have responded by creating Christmas gift bags for a Mexican orphanage, making greeting cards for the sick and elderly, donating food items for Thanksgiving baskets for the needy and assisting with set-up for congregational fellowship meals.
So what does missional living actually look like in practical living? See our Missional Moments page for a few highlights.