I once heard a pastor say from the pulpit, "Ministry is like pornography...you know it when you see it." That has stuck with me mostly because a pastor said it. From the pulpit. But it's also stuck with me because I'm not always sure whether I'm doing ministry or not.
I wonder if the same thing applies to being missional. I read the definitions and examples. I know that the term refers to stepping out of the church walls and into the community and beyond merely the membership. But in my own time and place, I've wondered what that looks like.
Yesterday I met two guys interested in membership. Usually for these things I set up a Saturday morning where I sit them at a table in front of a whiteboard, say some things about the history of the UCC, point them to the Statement of Faith, and ask them how they want their names spelled on their certificates. Yesterday I decided to let them pick a favorite place to drink coffee and we'd have a conversation. And for close to two hours, that's what we did. They asked questions and told me about their faith journeys and I shared parts of my own. I heard about their families and life situations. I worked in the stuff about the UCC and the Statement of Faith, but it only took five minutes of the conversation.
This has to be what missional looks like. I wasn't really educating people to become good members. I was entering into deeper relationship with people and encouraging their sense of what it means to be disciples.
I have to say I like that a lot better.