Living missionally incarnate : Becoming Jesus
Jesus came, live among us, dwelt with us, taught us how to live then left. Jesus was Heaven incarnate. While Jesus was the Son of God, he was also the Son of Man. He was fully divine but He was fully human as well. Jesus was God among us.
This is important to understand if we want to be Christlike. He came and manifest the Kingdom but did it as someone who needed to sleep, eat, and wondered about protection. We know that he sweat just like we do and He even had a thing of bleeding. He encountered joy as well as sorrow just like you and I do. All in all, he manifested every emotion just like the rest of us that lack divinity.
When Jesus left, He told us to “receive power to be witnesses.” (Acts 1:8) We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. It was not just a nice thing to say as He said goodbye. It was a prophetic promise that we would walk in the anointing over death, hell, and the grave.
As ministers of the gospel of the Kingdom, we are bring the manifestation of that Kingdom to the world around just like Jesus did. He did not just tell us what we should do but He showed us how we should do it.
We are minister incarnate too
It is our responsibility to live among those who we minister to. It is important we live among them, weep when they weep and rejoice when they rejoice. It is important that we live among them and they live among us. This is not just the biblical model but this is the historical norm.
I am firm believer that there is something special that happens in evangelism when the people knows us, they know where we shop, where we live, where our kids go to school, etc. It gives people the reality of “they are among us.” In many nations, especially in the Asia/Pacific region; the ability to speak into people’s life is earned by being there for them day in and day out.
In a time where preachers are living like the rich and the famous, flying in their own jets, staying in the nicest hotels and eating is ultra-exclusive restaurants; those who really want impact will live like those who they minister to, travel in the same buses, stay in people’s homes, and eat in the same restaurants that the “average folks” use.
It is amazing that we make a point to live incarnate, the reality of racism seems to take a back seat. People might still see us as “white people” but it is not as much of an issue once we enter into their world.
This is not an easy call and many can not do it. Many of us never really do completely. I will openly admit that. I am not sure any of us can really do all the way but the more incarnate we become, the more effective minister of the gospel of the Kingdom we become.
Why jet setting ministry does not work
As a ministry, I am an evangelist. I am best traveling from place to place doing meetings. I am convinced to invest more time in people that I do even if I am always traveling. There is a place for evangelists and prophets but in most cases, we are called to pastor villages and communities. Our of the greatest failures we have to believing we pastor churches and not pastoring cities.
It is very hard to build that connection with people when you are just fly from town to town speaking in large churches to stay on TBN that is really not that effective. (How many actually got saved watching television?) Most people come to Christ because someone they know and do life with has been faithful in being a witness day in and day out. Let’s get real.
In many of these nations like Samoa and Tuvalu, a preacher arriving in a private jet, staying in the nicest hotel (even they even have one), and never engaging with the people will not produce any lasting fruit. The people in Kiribati or Tonga do not care what is their latest books is. What they can is why they share life with the people?
I know this is hard to take but our model conference junkie mentality in many modern societies is not winning people to Christ and is far from being incarnate.
A lesson from the Mormon
What I am about to say might offend someone but we need to face the facts. The Mormon church is growing big time and it is because they believe the New Testament more than we do. How did the early Church grow? The very way that the Mormon church is doing it!
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. (Acts 5:42)
The Mormon do not just knock on doors, either. They build relationship with the community. Many of them move into an area when they want to reach that area. A dozen families are in the neighborhood and they do what any good person should be doing: being a neighbor. They care about the people and they offer them over for dinner a few times. As they continue to do this, they win the whole neighborhood to their version of faith. (that we consider completely wrong)
How effective have they been? I do not have the hard numbers from their offices but I can tell you that 1 out of every 5 people in Samoa are now Mormons. While people can say the total numbers is still small, it is only growing. I have no reason to believe that trend is any lower in Fiji, French Polynesia or even New Zealand.
The fact is the Mormon are much better at being incarnate than we are that proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom.