Most renewal pastors motivate members towards mission by reminding them of Jesus’ mandate to go and tell. In other words, it’s mission through witness. In this Advent season, perhaps we should consider another motivating missional vision; namely, mission through “with-ness.” It follows Jesus’ incarnational example from John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” An incarnational mission is a commitment to be intentionally present in every moment wherever the Spirit locates us. This vision is less about “going” and more about “being.” Renewal leaders seeking to cast an incarnational vision for mission should remind congregants of several things.
Here Are Some Important Incarnational (“With-Ness”) Emphases
Emphasis 1: Remember Who You Are
Incarnational ministry’s starting point is remembering, at all times, who we are. We are ambassadors of the Great King given the triple office of prophet (sharing the Good news), priest (interceding for those in need) and king (actively seeking to improve the life that is around us).
Emphasis 2: Remember Where You Are
Incarnational ministry demands an awareness of where God has placed us in every moment of life. We must remember that we are here and among these people, not by accident, but by divine will. This constant awareness will create a desire to diligently seek the reason we are here.
Emphasis 3: Remember Who You Are With
Incarnational ministry focuses on the people God puts in our path. Jesus’ ministry is an example of being present with folk who are not on the daily planner. This “presence” begins by doing whatever we can to eradicate hurry so we can be available for those around us.
Emphasis 4: Remember How the Spirit Nudges
Clare DeGraaf has written a wonderful little book entitled THE 10-SECOND RULE. In it he suggests we do the next thing we are reasonably certain Jesus wants us to do (and do it within the next ten seconds). Incarnational ministry is enlivened by that practice.
Emphasis 5: Remember to Listen for What Is Being Said
Incarnational ministry is about intentional eavesdropping (in a non-creepy way, of course). As people speak, they share their views of the world, their hopes, dreams, and painful realities. When the Spirit gives opportunity, that listening will translate into words of encouragement.
Emphasis 6: Remember the “Pearls” You Have to Share
Jesus said, “Don’t throw your pearls to pigs” (Matt. 7:6). He was reminding us that as believers we have “pearls” that include the Gospel message, Scripture, lyrics from spiritual songs, etc. that we can and should share with those who will receive it as a gift.
Emphasis 7: Remember the Importance of Prayer
Incarnational ministry is about being in prayer, always and everywhere. It is about praying for those we meet and interceding on their behalf before the throne room of heaven. It is about praying for opportunities to be salt and light in this time and place.