What if I dropped you in the middle of Tanzania?

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  • October 29, 2008

On Sunday Night, our Launch Team took a brief detour from the agenda for the evening to talk about missional living.  You see one of the things we do every Sunday is celebrate the different ways God has allowed us to love and serve our city missionally.  Since that’s going to be a part of our Sunday nights, we thought it would be wise to flesh out what it means to “love and serve our city missionally.”   So we posed this question…  

What if you were missionaries and I dropped you in the middle of Tanzania – what would your work look like?  What would you spend your time doing?  

Here are some of the answers that followed:

  • Learn the language, culture, customs, and way of life of the people
  • Build friendships and invest in relationships
  • Earn people’s trust and a right to be heard
  • Identify and connect with the centers of power and influence
  • Build connections with educational institutions
  • Pray and study Scripture
  • Serving and being served by the city
  • Loving, respecting, and learning from the city
  • Connect and partner with existing institutions and churches
  • Share the Gospel 
  • and more….

I think (and pray) that it became clear to us what being missional to Philadelphia looked like. It’s not about standing on a street corner with a blow-horn screaming “turn or burn” or getting someone to pray the sinners prayer six minutes after meeting them. It’s about the slow, patient work of loving Philadelphia and its people and looking for opportunities for the love and grace of Jesus to be extended here. And so when we invite neighbors over for dinner, when we spend time with our co-workers watching the game or going to the gym, when we sit down with local politicians or school administrators, when we find ways to connect with people in Philadelphia who don’t know Christ, when we find ways to serve people in Philadelphia, when we visit other churches and seek strategic kingdom partnerships, when we take time to learn this city and learn from this city, and when God grants us the opportunity, when we share the good news of Jesus with people – it’s all being missional.   

So then the real question for us is, since you are missionaries and God dropped you in the middle of Philadelphia – what does your work look like?  What will you spend your time doing?  

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About Ajay Thomas

Ajay lives in Philadelphia with his wife Shainu and their kids Hannah and Micah. He is responsible for preaching and vision as a pastor at Seven Mile Road.

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