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from "Mission and Recession," by Skye Jethani, Out of Ur, 10 December 2008

A church with 100 adults would be considered truly remarkable if 40 members each give 5 hours per week of leisure time to the institution’s mission. That would be double what most churches experience, and many pastors would be thrilled to see similar stats in their congregation. But even this would represent less than 2 percent of the church members’ total available time. Is this being missional (however you define the word)? Is that loving God will all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength? . . .

Pastors should be asking what would happen if we built our mission on people’s core time rather than leisure time. What if we could tap into the 80+ hours people spend every week on the job, with their families, and engaging in life’s ordinary responsibilities? Of course, this would require a fundamental shift in the way we think about mission and institution. Here are a few implications:

1. It would mean helping people see the missional dignity of ordinary work; communicating that their jobs matter to Christ and his kingdom, not just what happens within the walls of the church.

2. It would mean elevating the role of family and household relationships as vehicles for spiritual growth and missional engagement. Yes, raising children and caring for aging parents honors God and advances his kingdom just as, if not more, than institutional church programs.

3. It would mean not extracting people from their lives and communities to engage in church programming or committees unless absolutely necessary, but equipping them to live in communion with Christ within the context he has placed them.

4. It would shift the focus of Sunday worship away from mission and outreach to a time of celebration and encouragement for Christians who are engaged in mission the other six days of the week.

5. It would mean deploying church leaders outside the institution to engage members in their native contexts; mentoring and coaching on their turf rather than ours.

6. It would mean a radical adjustment in what the church celebrates—not institutional expansion or programmatic growth, but stories of ordinary people incarnating Christ at home, at work, at school . . . everywhere life happens.