As I re-read The Tangible Kingdom by Halter and Smay, I am discovering that the message of the book rings as encouraging and inspirational to me today as when I first read it about a year ago. The passages that are highlighted in yellow and/or emphasized by red arrows still speak to my heart and passions. And, I am finding new statements and points that are striking chords with me this time around.
One such fresh passage is found in the chapter entitled “Posture.” Under the heading “Where Missionaries Begin” (p.38), Halter and Smay write that when we, Christ-followers and churches, engage people with something of an understanding of their assumptions, experiences, worldviews, and emotions,
everything changes: our posture with people, our livlihood, what we do with our spare time, who we spend our time with, how we structure the fabric of our lives. Yes, church is what we’re concerned about because we’re deeply entrenched in its minutia, but we can’t make transformative adjustments if we start there and work outward. We must go out and then let church reemerge as a reflection and the natural outgrowth of our missional way of life.”
Sounds a little like “becoming all things to all men so that some might get saved.”
Missional, being sent into the world as God’s representatives, has an “inseperable twin.” The “twin” is called “incarnational.” The authors quote the meaning of incarnation as “any person or thing serving as the type or embodiment of a quality or concept.”
The section continues with a statement that caught my attention. The authors write that
missional sentness is focused on leaving and everything related to going, but incarnational represents how we go and what we do as we go.”
I think of this as the Missional-Incarnational Factor (MI Factor).
As God the Father sent the Son to walk among men in order to reveal Himself and His love for humanity, so He sends us into the world to do the same. God’s love was supremely manifested on the Cross of Calvary, but it is true that it was also revealed in and through relationships and community. So, it is true for us, that the message of His love and grace that we have been commissioned to share will be most effectively revealed in and through our relationships and the communities in which we live and move.
Who or what is it that the Lord may be wanting me/us to leave (comfort zones, relationships, church as we have always done it), to whom or where is He directing us to go, and how is it that He would have us live in order for His Kingdom to become more real and tangible in the lives of people who are in need of Christ?
That is the MI Factor question.