Because of an opportunity provided by Jesus, five of us from the small group are going on a short-term mission trip together to Athens, Greece. Everyone who has gone through the study is an actively involved Christian, and we all grew in our understanding of what walking with Christ really means in our daily lives. Of the five going on the trip to Athens, three have never been on a short-term mission trip together before.
Our small group studied the book Missional Essentials by Brad Brisco and Lance Ford. This is a 12-week study guide that is intended to help the disciples of Jesus to live their daily lives “missionally”. There is no mention in the study to go on a Short-Term Mission Trip (STMT). But it is great preparation, if the group decides to do that.
Each week there is practical application for the lesson, and then the following week always begins with questions about how the practical applications went. There is never a time when one lesson ends without a follow-up starting at the next lesson.
We saw great growth in all our members in “living missionally”. Three family units in our small group live close to each other in a new housing development. They got together (on their own) and had a pot-luck dinner for their neighborhood. Everyone in the development is new to that area.
Because of the initiative of these three families, we (Joanne and I) thought we needed to do something as well (we were the leaders after all 😊). So, we met with a few key neighbors and planned a Christmas progressive dinner in our neighborhood. We thought that this would be a great way for us to get to know our neighbors better. But it turned out that we knew our neighbors better than they knew each other. The result from both neighborhood events is that more people know each other better than before, and everyone suggested we plan additional events.
Like many other neighborhoods, we don’t see our neighbors much. Fenced back yards, small, low-maintenance front yards, and automatic garage door openers create an environment where there aren’t neighbors as much as people who just live next door to each other. This study helped all of us to become bolder in our daily living for Christ in our neighborhood and community. It helped us move from being “polite and nice” to stepping out and being “missional” with Jesus.