“Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” A phrase made famous by the late Gary Coleman in his role as Arnold Jackson in the 80‘s TV hit Different Strokes. Little Arnold would say this phrase every time he didn’t understand what his older
brother Willis was trying to communicate. Willis would then have to reframe his communication in order to be more clear. Recently, I’ve had some of you give me the Arnold look and say, “Whatchu talking about Pastor Sean?” when I presented the “picture frame challenge”. In case you missed this presentation, I placed on tables 50 picture frames with silhouettes in them and a question mark at the center. They were designed to be a physical reminder that we have all been called to be missionaries to someone. The question mark was meant to cause us to ask, “Who has God called me to reach?”
Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the father has sent Me, I am sending you.”
Missionary means “sent one”. A wonderful reality to all of us who follow Christ. The focus on being missionaries in our communities is a challenge for all of us to look at the harvest and ask God how He would use us. This does not mean that we are just trying to fill seats at Sojourn. Rather, it means we are simply fulfilling the Great Commission by living among those who do not know the Lord, listening to their stories and loving them while we share our story. This is not a race or a quota, rather it is a lifestyle of being “intentional” about how we live our lives. We need to create space to invite those outside the church to be part of our world. Jesus was a friend of sinners and many of us have come to Christ because someone else was willing to be our friend and share the good news of Jesus Christ in a way we could understand it and see it.
Why the Challenge?
As we continue to grow, it can be natural to focus on ourselves. We enjoy being with each other, encouraging and loving one another. This is one of the things that makes Sojourn so wonderful; however, it should always be balanced with the mission of God to go into the world with the redeeming message of Jesus!
If you are already doing this, praise God. Keep it up! Let us know what you are learning and how you see God at work! For the rest of us, I encourage us to pray and ask God for wisdom on how we can make space, or invite others into our space for the sake of the gospel. FYI, you don’t have to move in with your neighbors, but maybe a first step is to meet your neighbor if you haven’t already.