Urban Missions: Living as "Little Christs"

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The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. - John 1:14, MSG

My wife and I have been missionaries in both a suburban context with Apartment Life Ministries and now in an urban context with H.I.S. BridgeBuilders. Based on what we read in the Scriptures and in obedience to Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 to “go into all the world and make disciples,” we simply cannot think of a better way to accomplish this task than to live as missionaries among the people God has called us to serve.

Living as “Little Christs”

As followers of Jesus we are called “Christians,” which means "little Christs.” We are to be known for walking as Jesus walked, loving like Jesus loved and serving like Jesus served. Each of these things is done within the realm of human contact; they are not done in isolation. For example, how can salt season a dish without making contact with the food? It can’t, it’s impossible. And we are called to be salt and light in this dark world.

The Christian life therefore, is to follow Jesus’ example and do what He did. So what do we see Jesus doing in the Scriptures?

In one of the greatest acts of love the world has ever witnessed, Jesus the Messiah, left heaven and came down to earth. He lived - or dwelt - among us. He lived righteously and sinlessly. He died on a cross and rose from the dead, conquering even death for us. In a similar fashion, we are called to walk as Jesus walked, leaving our places of “heaven” on earth so to speak—places of comfort and security—and to go into the places with people that need the gospel most and live among them. We are called to pour out our own lives on behalf of those that are hurting, hungry and in need of God’s grace. We are called to model righteousness, telling others to “follow me as I follow Christ.” And the best way for people to follow us is to go and live among them.

Jesus invested time with people

Too often, we think of Jesus only when He was teaching the masses or preaching in the synagogues, but we find Him regularly doing something of incredibly valuable. Investing time with people.

Think about it. He ate with the taxpayers and prostitutes. He washed his disciples feet. He turned water into wine at a wedding. He healed the sick and fed 5,000 people, twice! Jesus’ ministry was in the context of living among and being with the very people He came to serve.

Everywhere our feet fall

We are told in Acts 1:8 that the disciples are to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. I love this concept because Jesus is telling us to be His witnesses wherever our feet fall. We are to be on mission in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our states, in our nation and in our world. If we call ourselves "little Christs,” then we are always on mission (or missionaries) wherever we live and in whatever we do. We are blessed to be a blessing to those around us like Abraham was in the Old Testament. This is the mindset of every Christian: we are always a people on mission.

This is the clarion call for us as Christians—go and make disciples! We have been given a mission and we must be on that mission living as sojourners, pilgrims and strangers… yes, missionaries in this foreign land. The Lord has prepared good works in advance for us to do and we have been given His Spirit to accomplish these great things for His Kingdom. Even the gates of hell will not prevail against us!