What is Missional Living?

Posted on April 25, 2010


Perhaps some of you have heard us use the word “missional”. We know that it may have some meaning to a few of you and to others of you it may be completely foreign (even our computer doesn’t recognize it, as it is currently underlined with the infamous dotted red line).

This is how one person explains it:

Missional Living at its core is living as a missionary in whatever context God has placed you. It is adopting the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the gospel. This involves understanding the culture, language, and background of the people you are trying to reach and meeting them where they are with the gospel of Jesus.

Another person stated it like this:

There is no better advice I can give for missional living than this: stay close to Jesus and draw close to people far from Him.

OK, so that sounds not that revolutionary. And, in many ways it is not. However, as we have attempted to actually live this out, we realize that it requires that we rearrange our lives and move beyond our comfort zone. 

When we first started thinking about serving overseas someday, we realized that if we could not learn to live as missionaries here and now, and learn how to serve the people in our lives in Spokane, then we surely wouldn’t suddenly be able to do so in Africa.

So what does missional living look like?

  • It means letting other people (even people we don’t necessarily like!) interrupt our schedule.
  • It means letting our identity in Christ be public, not something private and hidden away.
  • It means learning how to listen to people’s stories and walk the journey of life with them.
  • It means viewing our time, energy and money as not ours, but as resources God has given us to bless and serve others.
  • It means recognizing that where we live, work, and play is no accident. God is calling us to love the people around us by knowing them, serving them and blessing them.
  • It means getting to know our friends and neighbors intimately enough that we can see how the gospel would be good news to them. (Where are they trying to find purpose, satisfaction, identity, redemption?

We have been reflecting on this a lot over the past year, and it has been humbling to realize how unnatural this is for us. However, we are confident that whether we are living on the cobblestone streets of the lower South Hill in Spokane or the bustling African Melting Pot of Nairobi, missional living is something that God is calling us to embrace.