Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Three people I remember and why it matters to mission

I was reacting to a seminary prof (Dr. Alvin Reid) on Twitter yesterday who said he had just finished visiting with some students. I told him that I was thankful that he did because 22 years ago when I went, two professors had invited me to spend an hour with them and out of my whole seminary experience, I only remember those two guys plus one other.

Here's why... maybe:

1. You only remember the people who loved you, not the people who taught you.
I've been a member of two mega-churches in my day. I know the names of the pastors and you would too, but I don't know them. Never met 'em, never shook either's hand... nothing. They were great expositors and I loved their sermons. But truthfully, I could've watched 'em on T.V. and loved 'em just as much. I don't have any affection for them, any lasting desire to look them up when I'm in town. They didn't even know my name. Same with my profs, 'cept these two. They loved me, knew my name, brought me in their lives and heard my struggles. God says, "Knowledge puffs up, love builds up." Lot's of guys have given me knowledge, only a few have built me up.

2. Sometimes people make such an impact on you that you remember them.
That was the other guy... the third guy I remembered. The reason I remember him was he made me fall in love with the Bible. He taught me the book of John, his name was Dr. Munn. By the time I got done with that book, I didn't just love Jesus more, but I had my own solo scriptura experience. I loved God's word. I read or listened to the gospel of John every day of that semester at his request. And he would teach in such a way that you began to be mesmerized by the word of God. It's beauty, it's simplicity yet profundity, it's coherence. So sometimes you remember people for an impact they had on you.

So what does that have to do with being missional?

People are never gonna remember you for that block party you threw or that bottle of water you passed out or that car you washed. Just not gonna matter 22 years later. What will matter is the time you spend on their couch, listening to their stories, letting them into your world and you into theirs. What they will remember is the way you taught them to love the Bible and the way you spoke into their lives. People are going to remember you because you loved them. And you may think a block party expresses love, but I challenge you, go back a year later and ask them ones you gave the block party to if they love you because you did. Most of them won't even remember your name.

Missional life is not having loving events for strangers, missional life is having a loving relationship with strangers where those strangers are no longer strangers but friends and no longer friends but brothers and sisters in Jesus.

When that happens, 22 years after you're gone... they'll remember.

2 - read/write comments:

Darin Simms said...

Love this post. I will say that handing out water and throwing parties are good things, but they need to lead to loving people.Sometimes these stategies are needed to meet people so you can build friendships, but they should never be an end in themselves. You said it best when you wrote, "People are going to remember you because you loved them."

Bubba McQueen said...

Very well said BC. Being "missional" isnt a project...its a way of life. Face to face and day by day, we must be intentional in our efforts to get into people's won't happen by accident.

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