I was privileged to spend some time with some of our missionaries and hear them share about living incarnationally in ministry. Ministry is relational if it’s going to be lasting. They talked about, even prior to their call overseas, they were living in an ethnic community and gained a hearing with the people and built relationships with people that were meaningful and transformative only after they moved in and actually shared life with people. Ate strange food, watched people’s kids, and the like.
It seems we’ve been going around in circles as we’ve attempted to minister to folks who are long term residents in the local motels. From our missionaries’ perspective, we’ve probably hit the wall in terms of what we can do until someone moves in there to live incarnationally among them. That’s kind of frustrating; there’s no way our family of 5 can do it, but it is also refreshing. The fact that we’re beating our head against the wall should be expected. We’ve reached the end of what we’re able to do effectively. We’ll keep doing it to keep the contacts alive until someone can get there – and we genuinely love some of the people there – but there’s not much more we can do with ‘drop in’ ministry.
As challenging and encouraging as this was for our ministry to the motels, it was challenging to how we live all the time. We don’t live incarnationally. Well, maybe we do, but it isn’t intentional. We live in a detached way like so many others rather than immersing ourselves in the culture and investing in those around us in a way that they feel loved. A challenging word for our family that I’m not quite sure what to do with it yet.