This is the third and final blog entry in a series by guest blogger Gordon Bauslaugh, Lead pastor at Christ Community Church in Puyallup, Washington, on missional engagement with those outside the church. You can read stories of this engagement in the two previous days’ entries here and here.
I’m 62, and what my wife and I hope to do in retirement is to move into a 55+ community and be self-supporting missionaries. At many of these communities there are a lot of natural tie-ins to the community: golf, bocce ball, craft clubs. We plan to embed ourselves in the community God places us in. About the only time you’ll find me in a church building is on Sunday morning as I want to be involved in a teaching ministry of some sort. But the rest of the week I’m out there building relationships. I’ve come to believe that the programs of the institutional church are a turn-off to most non-believers and we need to be building relationships with them where they are instead.
Staff and leaders at the church I pastor are catching this vision as well. We have a weekly class of 35 that meet to pray for those they’re building relationships with and see them as Jesus sees them. Together, we’re learning to slow down, do the things you enjoy doing with others, and build relationship so we’ve earned the right to share our faith. We call it our Developing Local Missionaries class, and it provides accountability for investing in those relationships.