Do you find it hard to see a missional breakthrough in your context? Do you find it challenging to understand the culture that you are part of? As we’ve wrestled with those same questions, we’ve developed a little tool that can help you in understanding your culture better but also helps you to ask the right question when it comes to see missional breakthrough.
The other day I saw a Facebook status from one of my friends that has no connection to church or Jesus. She wrote: “I got injured playing sports. Does anyone know an alternative healer I could go to?”
I responded that I knew Jesus, who is a great alternative healer, and I would love to pray for her. She wrote back that she was ready to try anything so she came by the office and we prayed for her. Totally amazingly, she got healed! It was a surprise for me and to her, and she said, “I really felt a great energy.” With that comment in mind, I started to reflect on the encounter.
Here was a person that was totally open to God and the works of Jesus, but she had no real knowledge of him. At the same time, I also meet a lot of people who have lot of knowledge about Christianity but are very closed to God.
So my question has been, Is there a way of identifying the spiritual journey the people in our local missional context are on? Many in our movement know the Person of Peace tool, which is very helpful for us in our personal encounter with people. But as a local leader, I have wanted a tool that can help me understand the broader spiritual and missional context I am finding People of Peace in.
As missionaries wherever we are located we need to find out what the missional context looks like so we can invest our resources in a wise way. I live in Copenhagen, so the tool below uses Copenhagen as an example. I talked about it with some of my good friends, and here’s what we came up with.
We started with two continuums:
- From CLOSED TO GOD to OPEN TO GOD
- From LOW KNOWLEDGE to HIGH KNOWLEDGE of Christianity
It creates four quadrants that helps us recognize where people are at and how to respond to them missionally:
As we look at Copenhagen (our missional context) through this lens, we realize that most people are in the lower two quadrants, because very few people have any real knowledge of what Christianity actually teaches. This gives us vital information about our context.
The People of Peace we meet will mainly be those in the lower-right quadrant. People very much like my Facebook friend above.
Asking the Right Questions
As we identified this reality, we began to ask ourselves questions that help us respond missionally:
- How can we provide the knowledge needed to the people that are open?
- How can respond to their openness by inviting them into an encounter with God?
- How can we start relationships with them?
If your local missional context has a lot of people in the left two quadrants (CLOSED), ask yourself:
- How can we pray so people move from closed to open?
You get the idea. My challenge to you and myself is that we start to take a closer look on our missional context and start to operate more wisely when we are reaching out and are using the right questions. We hope this tool helps you in that task!
P.S. Our new Family on Mission Small Group Discussion Guide is now available for purchase in our online bookstore!
The Family on Mission Small Group Discussion Guide is an easy-to-use, off-the-shelf resource to help your small group process the content in Mike and Sally Breen’s book Family on Mission. Includes discussion questions, group activities, and weekly assignments to keep your group moving toward becoming a family on mission.
The first 200 copies are available for a special introductory price of $7, ($9 normally), so click here to pick up copies for your small group today!