For some time now, there's been lots of discussion about being 'missional'. And for a blog that calls itself 'Missional Living' what does that mean? What does that look like? There have been lots of thoughts bouncing around my head as I've dined on Scripture and on several men more Godly and wiser than I, so I'll make an attempt to lay that out here and begin/continue the conversation in the world of Tom Cottar (husband, dad, guitarist, shepherd, Starbucks junkie, and Jesus follower).
As Southern Baptists, we have a long and rich history of sending missionaries. The International Mission Board and North American Mission Board have been great (albiet imperfect) vehicles for training and sending missionaries to the ends of the earth. We are good at training up missionaries, for example, to go to China: they learn to speak Chinese, appreciate Chinese culture (dance, music, food, etc.), are knowledgeable about Chinese history and government, and are somewhat of a stateside authority on 'all things Chinese'. They are transformed and transplanted into a Chinese world for the purpose of bringing the Kingdom to China. (Of course, other 'missionaries' are sent within the state to just about any demographic imaginable…from inner-city Philly to rural Georgia.) The praxis of that process is what missiologists study and propogate…
So, then, 'What is Missional Living?' For starters, Matthew tells us that Jesus will come to teach and preach (proclaim the good news of the Kingdom) and to heal. Then Jesus comes on the scene and does precisely that. But at the end of the book, Jesus instructs the disciples to go out and preach, teach, and heal. Jesus calls 12 people to do what He did. Scot McKnight notes (and I agree) that the implication is that we 'become Jesus' to those in other parts of the world where He is not present.
Missional activity is about Jesus, Kingdom, Presence, and Behavior. It is about 'being Jesus' in your world, bringing the Kingdom of God, being those things into an active presence in your community, and living them out. For me, it's an intentional journey of trial-and-error. And, honestly, sometimes I don't realize what Missional Living means until it happens.
It's definitely not about 'winning an argument' with your neighbor. It's not about apologetics–Jesus didn't die on a cross to make a point. It's not about 'winning an argument'–arguing theology (even 'winning' that argument) is like being the tallest midget.