Living on Mission in Our City This Summer

Welcome to Summer in Minnesota! There is nothing like it. Between the music festivals, weekends at the cabin, late night patio seating at your favorite pub/restaurant, and exploring all our city has to offer, it is one of the best times of year that school kids and adults alike look forward to. 

And even though summers may look different (youth are off of school, most of us take vacations, we move to just one service on Sundays, Community Groups and HLI takes a break, etc.), the Church’s mission of making disciples (and ours as an extension) continues. 

Below are some ideas for us as individuals, community groups, or as a church to live on mission this summer. Minnesotans come out of hibernating, yards are full of neighbors, students aren’t in classes, and the lakes, parks, and streets are full of people. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” -Ephesians 5:15-16. 

Hiawatha Church, let’s be used by Jesus this summer!

  • Holidays/Celebrations: host a party or get together with a group of friends to attend one of our many summer festivities: Memorial Day, 4th of July, National Night Out, Longfellow Corn Feed, State Fair, Open Streets, outdoor movies, and countless festivals, concerts, and activities across the city.
  • Sign your kid(s) up for a sport or activity at one of the local parks. Then show up. Meet other parents. Connect with other families. Want more ideas about connecting youth sports in the park system with missional living? Contact one of our locally supported ministries: R.O.C.K.
  • What are you good at or excited about? Host it at your home or in your yard. Whether it is an acoustic concert on your deck or porch, a lawn game tournament, a stop on the Lolo art crawl, or an outdoor movie, connect your passion and talents with opportunities to build relationships. 
  • Host a neighborhood BBQ: invite those you know and use this as an easy excuse to show hospitality and meet neighbors you haven’t yet.
  • Enjoy our local green spaces (here's our local favorite). Meet new people or meet up with friends and neighbors. 
  • Invite someone out for lunch after a Sunday service. 
  • Get or make a fire pit: invite people over to make smores and have great conversations deep into the night.
  • Visit your local Farmer’s Market: go often and to the same vendors, learning their names, and building a relationship with them as well as participate in the community that many Farmer’s Markets create.
  • Join a local garden (if you don’t already have one in your yard). There are a number of them in South Minneapolis. There will be lots of opportunities to meet people as you garden alongside others. 
  • Finally, join your church family in prayer. Every Thursday morning this summer, starting June 1st, we will be gathering for prayer with a missional focus. We'll gather at 6:30 am at the church building (and often walk through our neighborhood). We passionately believe that God is the one who saves, melts hearts of stone, and raises the spiritually dead. So as we desire to see our city transformed with the gospel, we start with prayer. Join us as we pray for more conversions,  for God to use us and bless our neighborhood and city, for current and future church plants, and for mission in general. 

Through the power of the Spirit, let’s be a church (individually and corporately) that intentionally moves into our city this summer to reach those who don’t yet know the saving power of Jesus!


The Gospel Changes Everything (Pt. 9): Leadership

We're in a series where we're seeing how the gospel of Jesus affects every area of our lives. Each post will look at how the truth of the gospel changes how we view a certain aspect of life and its implications in our lives.

There is a story of two of Jesus' disciples (James and John) who get in a heated argument. Each of them wants to sit next to Jesus when he ushers in his kingdom. They want to sit to the right and left of Jesus' throne. They want to sit in the seats of honor, power, and leadership. When the other ten disciples hear that these two disciples asked Jesus for these spots, they were annoyed and resentful of James and John. 

James and John didn't get it. Leadership, power, and authority look different in Jesus' kingdom. Through the gospel, leadership is different. Although desiring leadership is a good thing, Jesus redefines what it is and how it looks. This is how he responds to them. 

Jesus called them over and said to them, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all." -Mark 10:42-44

Jesus says that leadership in his kingdom is going to look starkly different than leadership in the world. Others use their leadership, power, and authority to dominate others. But Jesus counters that by saying his followers will view and use leadership completely differently. They will lead by serving others. They will use their power to build up others. They will become great not through making people respect them but through seeing others' needs as more important than their own. 

Now when Jesus gives a command alone, we should listen, right? He is God. But it doesn't just stop there. Jesus doesn't only say I'm making a new rule here about leadership. In the very next verse he says, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life - a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45). 

So the reason that leadership is different among Jesus' followers is because our Lord and Savior first did this for us. He was and is the greatest leader, the King of kings, the Lord of every "lowercase L" lord in the world, the one who has ultimate authority and power. Yet he chose to come as a servant. He demonstrated to us that leadership in his kingdom is servant leadership, it's sacrificial leadership, it's life-denying leadership with the focus on the other. 

Jesus came not to be served by us, even though he deserves it. Jesus came not to dominate us with his power and authority, though he rightfully could have. Jesus came with the mission to serve humanity. The way he was going to accomplish that was through denying his own wants, needs, and rights by dying in our place in order to ransom us back from the slavery of sin and death. 

This is the gospel! This is why Christians view leadership differently. Not just because Jesus said it but also because he demonstrated it for our sake. So when we lead sacrificially as servant leaders, we demonstrate a Savior who first did this for us. When we use our power to bless others rather than ourselves, we embody the gospel of a Lord who first did this for us. 

"Christian leadership, like no other kind, with the posture of a servant aims to cultivate the world so others can flourish according to God's design." -Geiger and Peck. Leadership for Christians is others-focused because Jesus' leadership was that way. He led by dying, so that we could live. 


Especially love the church?

Galatians 6:10 says, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  Why does it say, “…especially to the household of faith, or the Church”?

Three reasons:

1. We’re family

And family does good to one another, even after we hurt each other. This verse implies that as Christians we need to have good done to us, as if Paul has the church’s health in mind when he writes this. So, in the spirit of how we needed God to do good to us through his Son to save us from our sins, we need to do good to those who are being saved so as to help them persevere in the faith and catch a glimpse of God’s present-day love (not just past love) for them in Christ.

You could say that the idea of “doing random acts of kindness” is less at the heart of God as is “doing particular acts of kindness towards the Church.” God cares deeply about his redeemed family loving one another, like a parent loves to see his or her children play with, laugh with, love, and serve one other.


2. The Church is Jesus’ body

Doing good to the Church is—biblically—linked closely with revering Christ himself and responding to his matchless grace.

In Matthew 25:34-40 Jesus says, in what serves as a picture of future judgment, "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The phrase “my brothers” in verse 40 is a reference to the Church. For who are the “brothers” except those who—together—call God “Father”? Jesus is saying to Christians, “When you loved other believers, you loved me,” because the Church is Christ’s body on earth in a way that others are not. So to respond to a Christian’s need in your local church is akin to responding to the grace, love, and forgiveness that Christ himself offers us through his death and resurrection. The inverse is true as well: to not love the church is to not love Jesus. As he says later in the passage: “When you didn’t love the brothers, you didn’t love me.”

So there is something to say about a lifestyle of belief in the grace of Christ that’s closely linked with a transformed life of love towards others who profess the same faith. What other Christians in your church do you know who are in need, hungry, thirsty, poor, sick, or otherwise in trouble?


3. It’s evangelistic

In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Christian love for one another puts Christ’s love for the world on display. True love only comes from God, for he is love. So, to love other believers, particularly, publicly, is to demonstrate physically what we preach spiritually. It may very well be the thing that gets a non-Christian into your church gatherings, or the very thing that will knock down the remaining obstacles between them and true faith in Christ.

So, hang out with other believers together around those aren’t yet saved. Let them see how much unity, love, and mutual submission you have with other Christians. It will scream the gospel to them, maybe without them initially realizing it. the Church!

Love outsiders, yes. Love lost people, yes. But do not neglect the particular call to sacrificially love your local church family. The Bible commands it!