The Birth of a Missionary-Changing Posture

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Through the Gospel and the new birth, all believers have an identity implanted in their spiritual DNA that is to profoundly affect the world around them. That identity is that of being a missionary, or ‘sent one’, to their community. To be a ‘sent one’ implies that there is a mission field of people that the missionary is to engage and deliver the good news to. The  task of a missionary is not to try to attract the mission field to our programs, buildings, or services, but rather to GO. The question to ponder is how do we begin?

To begin, a missionary needs to GO by changing their posture. Changing your posture means to change what you believe and feel.Think about your community’s assumptions, experiences, worldviews, biases, and emotions. What are the hang-ups your community has to the Gospel? Many times the obstacles are the pictures of the Gospel that are displayed through the lives of people who claim to know the truth, but do not live it. Our posture is what we communicate nonverbally, no matter what our lips say. Christ is hard to explain as powerful and radically life-changing, no matter how simple the concepts are, when the ‘followers’ of Christ–the living letters and examples of what the message means–don’t line up with the content of the message.

The message means nothing if our lives are saying the message is powerless and doesn’t work through our marriages, kids, work ethics, generosity, love for our fellow believers, love for our community, etc. Sure the truth of the Gospel is powerful, but the best apologetic and persuasion of the Gospel truth to an unbeliever is the real-life person who has been changed by it in their attitudes and actions (1 Thess. 2:7-8). And when that person fails, they are not hypocritical, but repent and claim the power of the Gospel to get back up and continue changing them into little Christs.

According to 1 Peter 3:15, if people aren’t asking about your life, then you haven’t postured your faith as a missionary disciple should. This means changing your posture to having Christ’s compassion for others. What did Christ’s compassion look like? Christ’s compassion was not simply empathy but it was advocacy. Here’s how Hugh Halter explains the difference:

“Empathy can be shown from a distance; it can be communicated through a card or phone call. But to advocate for someone means you are with them in their need, and you must speak and act on their behalf because they can’t speak or act on their own. It is caring in a way that touches another soul, person to person, rather than trying to fix that person from a position of perceived superiority.” 

Want a picture of this? Read Luke 10 and John 8. Our task is to present Jesus as the great advocate for the soul’s deep need and guilt through our representative posture that enforces the power of the Gospel message that we’ll share.

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