Do not touch thermostat.
Do not use this trash can.
No dog walking.
Use only one paper towel.
Do not move the furniture.
Recently, a colleague shared a story of an adventure to a local church where she was scheduled for a meeting. Everywhere she went, she was confronted with signs telling her what she couldn’t do while in the facility. I’m sure there is a story behind every sign. But the people outside our church walls don’t know that. They read the signs this way:
“I’m not welcome.”
“Who are these people and why are they so off putting?”
“I should stay far away.”
And many are doing just that…staying far, far away. But what if the Body of Christ began to be intentional about being living signs of an incarnational God? What would that look like?
Incarnational Signs of God
Perhaps it would look like a joy-filled conversation at a local cafe that included passers-by and offered prayer for, and even with, the server.
Perhaps it would look like a game of pick up basketball at the local park with young men who would open up their hopes and fears to someone who was real with them and gave them more than just a sideways glance.
Perhaps it would look like a Bible study in a tattoo parlor, or a neighborhood chili cookoff in a local garage, or a prayer walk through a local community.
There is no end to the ways that we can become living signs of God’s love in the middle of the crossroads of everyday life in our communities.
Beyond Being Readable
I often come back to Ephesians 3:18: “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
The power to comprehend.
What signs get in the way of people comprehending God’s love?
What signs reveal God’s love?
And how can we more consistently join with God in the latter?
Shannon serves as Director of Training, leading our team of mission strategists and trainers in the development and implementation of the Mission Shaped Ministry course through Pioneer Learning Communities. She is also a pastor on staff with Riverside Church in Sterling, VA, a Church that worships in two languages and engages in several Fresh Expressions of Church. In the last several years, Shannon has been involved with the Presbyterian Church’s New Worshiping Communities initiative, and has directed the coaching network that supports pioneer leaders. Shannon lives in Springfield, VA with her husband Patrick and teenage daughters Catherine and Suzanne.