Christianity is not just a set of ideas or propositions to which one agrees; it is a lived faith that transforms individuals and the world. Following Christ encompasses every aspect of life and all of its ugliness, sorrow, and pain. It is precisely into this world of ugliness, sorrow, and pain, with its “tattooed and pierced” people, that we are to bring beauty, comfort, and mercy, working to redeem all of God’s creation! This means being “missional.”

So rather than being “evangelical” in the terms that Leonard Sweet describes, perhaps we should consider returning to being “missional” in the manner of our first and second century brothers and sisters.  

What does it mean to be “missional”? Missional means: to participate in the mission of Jesus in the world, to incarnate in the experiences of our lives and our communities the good news of God’s love for the world. Being missional means we act more like a rescue force that is determined to stay until all are rescued rather than a commando unit which occasionally enters hostile territory to harass the enemy! Being missional means we endeavor to develop real and meaningful relationships with those that God, in His providence, has brought into our lives — to first demonstrate the love of Christ and then be ready with an answer for the hope that is within us.

A “missional” Christian doctor in the story above would have treated this child and showed Christ-like love and acceptance to Tasha, tattoos, tongue stud, and all! A missional Christian would have sent Tasha out saying, “I think that guy’s one of those Christians; he was so kind and I think he really cares about me and my daughter.” A missional Christian would have looked beyond the tattoos and piercings and saw a woman who bears the image of God.

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S. Michael Craven is the Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to recapture and demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit:
Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.

© 2007 S. Michael Craven