We are finishing up a sermon series on being a church that is both missional and incarnate. Missional means“to be sent”, and incarnate means “in the flesh”. Putting these two together we can say that we have been“sent out in the flesh”.
What exactly does this mean? The missional part is fairly basic. A church is missional when it becomes proactive in taking the church out into the community in which it resides. Instead of waiting for our neighbors to come to us, we intentionally become present in our community in creative and diverse ways. For example:
I read of a young man who volunteered to help out in his church’s food pantry. He noticed that many of the people he was serving were homeless, and that several of them had bicycles. This young man was a cyclist himself, and many of the bicycles the clients had were old and broken. The volunteer started to bring his tools with him to the food pantry to help fix bicycles that were in need of repair.
Today he operates a bicycle repair ministry for the homeless population in his community.
Simple, practical. Seeing the needs around us and seeking ways we can meet those needs.
Missional churches are also incarnate. The word incarnate means “embodied in flesh” or “in human form”. Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation, the birth of Christ. John 1:14 says, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus came in the flesh; He was God incarnate.
The church is called to be an incarnate people. We become the symbolic physical representation of Jesus wherever we are. We become the eyes, ears, hands, feet, and voice of Christ in our homes and neighborhoods, at work and school, and out in the community. Therefore, we see ourselves as being both missional and incarnate – sent out to physically represent Jesus in our communities.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you — Matthew 28:18-20a
This is who God has called us to be. Church is great. We all love our church family, and we enjoy the fellowship of our brothers and sisters. However, we are called to be intentional in bringing the gospel message outside the church and into our communities. In doing so, we represent Christ in both word and deed.
Do you see yourself as missional? God does. Do you see yourself as an incarnate believer? God does. Therefore, let us be the incarnate church, bringing Jesus outside the church and into the world.
Your servant in Christ,