Tuesday night I woke up to go potty and then couldn’t fall back asleep. The Lord uses these times in my life to connect with him. I didn’t mind my middle of the night nursing times so much because they were wonderful times with the Lord; A time of focus and prayer. Life is sweet when it is slow and quiet. Maybe the Lord is preparing me for our future child. Or maybe He needed me to pay attention to Him without all the other busyness that consumes most of my days. The point is, it was the middle of the night and I was wide awake.
So what is the Lord teaching me during these times? My thoughts last night were on being missional. During seminary, I thought of being missional as living overseas in a different culture. I’ve been blessed to go all around the world for the Lord and have many friends who are currently serving overseas. They are missionaries. It wasn’t until we went to a conference a year after moving to Williamston that it hit me that Larry and I were missionaries in Williamston.
I don’t know why it struck me so late; you would think that I would know better. But in my mind, Pastor’s wife and missionary were two separate categories. I saw our role in more of a discipleship aspect than evangelistic. We lived in Eastern North Carolina after all, there are churches scattered all over the place. We did not live in some tent or a desert or a foreign country. I assumed that most people we came into contact with would be believers.
Some of my confusion was based on the false assumption that all the people in our church were all Christians. Sadly, that’s not the case. There are many individuals that sit in our churches Sunday after Sunday that do not have a relationship with the Lord. And you would think that there wouldn’t be a need for missionaries in Eastern North Carolina with all of those churches in the area. That thought couldn’t be more wrong either.
Last month, I spoke at a Sister Church. While preparing for that message I found some interesting information. There are areas overseas that have a higher rate of Christians than we do here in Eastern North Carolina. Christians in foreign countries are sending missionaries to the United States! According to the 2010 US Census, the county where I live has a Population of 23,337. According to our Baptist Association, 70-80% of our county is un-churched. Which means between 16,336 and 18,670 people in Martin County are destined to go to hell without a relationship with Christ! That’s heart breaking!
So who are these people? These are our children, our siblings, our spouses, our parents, our cousins, our friends, co-workers, our neighbors. These are the people who warm the pews of our churches Sunday after Sunday, but do not have relationships with Christ! These are the people who are cultural Christians. A cultural Christian is someone who acts like a Christian but does not have a relationship with the Lord. There is still an expectation of how people should think and act in the south. These people focus on the “shoulds” and “should-nots” of behavior; this thinking is based on good behavior will get them into heaven. Bad behavior sends you straight to hell. It’s the he or she is a good person kind of thinking. Sadly, Hell is full of “good” people. Scripture teaches us that there is only one way to heaven and that’s Jesus! Only He is good enough to meet God’s standards. And it is only by His blood that our sins can be paid for and His righteousness imputed to us. So that the Lord does not look upon our sins but instead view us through Christ’s Righteousness! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE EXCHANGE!!! That should blow our minds daily!!!
Wednesday night was our final night of Revival. The message was perfect for this middle of the night session that the Lord and I had. We looked at Jonah chapter four. Darrel challenged us and asked if we (our church) were like Jonah, Camping out on the hill waiting and watching for the Lord to destroy Nineveh. (Jonah 4:5) Or were we purposeful in engaging our community with the Gospel. Are we more focused on reaching and discipline the lost people in our community or are we more interested in keeping comfortable in our way of life and worship?
Oh how convicting! I’m in a season of life when most of my days are spent at home with my children. They are my primary evangelism field. Most of the people I spend time with are fellow church members. I need to be more purposeful about engaging my community. I want to look at the people in Wal-mart, the park and the grocery store and see them as Jesus does. They are made His image and He desires to have a relationship with them. Maybe something I can say or do can help grow those relationships. So I’m trying to focus on being more missional.
For those of you reading this, please don’t make the mistake I did, and think that missions is something that happens somewhere else. Being missional happens where you are and with whom you are in contact with! I’m praying for opportunities to be missional in my church and community. May God bring about those encounters. To Him be the glory!