The Missional Power of Preparation


How do we prepare in the midst of uncertainty?

The natural human inclination is to react. We see and observe certain things to be true about our world, and based on our life history, personality, and gifts, we respond in a way that ideally brings honor to God. For church leaders, this reactionary posture has become the normative modus operandi since March. No one was prepared for a pandemic. No one knows how this whole mess is going to play out. So, each week, or even each day, leaders pivot and make decisions based on their understanding of the facts at any given moment. Such a reactionary posture is both understandable and unavoidable when a crisis lands at our doorstep.

But most of life isn’t lived responding to crisis. What makes a crisis so paralyzing is that it’s an anomaly to the normative flow of our lives. It forces us to adapt and respond to unusual circumstances, often when the stakes are at their very highest.

But we as humans can’t live this way for long. Thankfully, most days are filled with relatively normal patterns. Though the days may be busy and the work complex, we normally have some sense of what we are going to face from one day to the next. In fact, we’ve even seen this to be true in the post-COVID-19 world. As the chaos of the initial crisis abated, we began to adopt new normal practices, many of which we’d likely never considered just a few months previously.

And here’s the rub for us when it comes to mission. We simply never—or almost never—react our way into mission. Sure, there is the occasional circumstance where a missionary opportunity drops in our laps. You see a neighbor in crisis and lend a hand. A co-worker shares a personal need and you are given a chance to pray or lend counsel. But the …

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