Leave them in the parking lot

Have you ever taken a hike with unwilling children? It’s a painful experience trying to take kids along who don’t want to go. They will complain and sabotage in an effort to make the experience so miserable that everyone will want to turn back. It’s better to save yourself and others a great deal of grief and leave them in the parking lot to play their video games until you get back.

In a similar way, you want to challenge people to be incarnational and to live life on mission. You want them to go along on the journey with you. Yet you don’t want to take people along who aren’t willing to go. Because if they don’t want to go, they’ll find ways to sabotage it and make the experience miserable for those who do want to live missionally.

Sometimes we get so excited about being incarnational missionaries, living life on purpose, giving away more than we keep, that we try to get everyone to go along on this amazing journey with us. When that happens, we will end up with some people who will comply but not be committed. The difference between compliance and commitment is significant.

So in the process of talking with the people about living as incarnational missionaries, don’t force anyone or guilt anyone into it. Instead of a “we’re all going to do this” approach, rely on an invitational approach. Then you’ll be moving forward with those who really sense God’s calling to live differently.