Incarnational ministry is a term that is used to describe going to a culture and staying there, becoming like the people. Fully embracing a people group and living among them. Jesus is the best example of this type of ministry living and we can strive to live in this way. Christ left heaven to come and dwell among us ("The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" John 1:14). Christ left heaven to come to this sinful, dirty world for over 30 years.
In this same way, doing ministry is about staying in a culture. Here is a link to a 4 minute video that describes this term a bit more. I encourage you to watch it. One quote that Jeff says: "if missional is go then incarnational is stay".
In Perspectives we learned about going into a culture as a learner and learning all that you can to become more like the people. And God has orchestrated many events in my life which has led me and solidified my calling to Romania. So I know that I will be going to Romania and learning all I can about the country, people, and language.
And yet the new realization for me this week is the vital aspect of incarnational ministry which is to STAY. To not only live and dwell among the people, but to stay. To stay through the difficult times, through my desires to come back to the states for one thing or another..to stay.
Incarnational missions is living among a people group: staying, loving, serving.. living. And you know what? All of us, no matter where we live, have the opportunity to be doing incarnational ministry. We are in towns and people groups that need the love of Christ. We go through our daily lives and have the chance to invest in someone's life..to ask them how they are, to tell them about Christ, to watch their children for them..whatever it is. But we have the daily option to live missionally. Right now, where you are living, you can be on mission for Christ. Some of you may be in a small town in Iowa that you have been all your life..
THINK ABOUT THAT
Who knows the people better than you do? You have an advantage to missionaries that serve cross culturally. I will need to take time to learn a culture, people,and language. BUT.. you know the people, language, and culture. You know where most people go on Friday and Saturday nights..go there! For most of us, our day to day lives are so focused on ourselves and our families that we forget about the lost souls. Family is a gift to be treasured but think of Jesus' example in coming to this earth, living among us, and proclaiming the gospel as He served others. My prayer is to be more like Christ. That no matter where I am living, I want to fully love and serve Him everyday.
So while my class has implications for ministry in Romania, it is also a challenge to remember to be living missionally, that is to be the hands and feet of Jesus, every where, every day. In the grocery stores, in our cars, in our workplaces. May we grow closer to God and live on missions for Him everyday.