Basic Tool 35:  Two completed mission discernment forms with some useful hints

Sample responses with hints for the home and work mission fields:  a mother, Marge, finds closeness is lacking in family life; and a postal worker, Jack, copes with an overly demanding manager.

  1. What has God been doing or telling me in (this mission field)?  Where are love or justice at work or needed?  What message am I getting about it?  Try a response beginning with: I believe God is . . .

    Hint:  Be guided by where you see love and justice at work or where they are needed or are weak.  Here are some places to look for clues for what you sense God is doing or telling you.  If you’ve made mistakes in the past, remember God forgives and welcomes trying again; perhaps, you learned something that may be a lead for your next step in this area; assess the Lord’s current message for you and get ready to try again.  Or, what’s foremost in your mind in this area?  What really needs to be fixed or changed?  What are others saying to you that sticks in your mind?  What is happening around you?  What do you sense that you want to do or should be doing?  Do you sense a need to confront and seek to correct some wrongdoing or evil in this area of life?  Do you see anything blocking love or justice?  Or do you see ways love and justice need to be increased?  Cite God in your answer to avoid a wholly secular one.

Home example:  Marge senses this message:  I believe that God is telling me that our family life is fractured. We are not as close as we could be.
Work example:  Jack senses this message:  I believe God is telling me to speak up about the unfair workload that all of us share.

  1. As I think about God’s message, what is my vision or goal for how I want life to be in (this mission field)?

Hint:  A vision is a general statement that provides you with a sense of direction, such as “My vision is to have a close working relationship with my team at work.”  A goal is a concrete step that is clear and specific; for example, “My goal is to meet with my manager regularly for better communication.”   Express your vision or goal in a simple sentence.  Further, be open to learn from reading or others visions or goals that you do not think of yourself.

Home example:  My vision is for my family to spend more time together and enjoy it free of outside distractions such as cell phones, TV, or social media..
Work example:  My goal is to start speaking up about unfair treatment. 

  1. What am I doing right now to make this vision or goal a reality?

Hint:  Name even the smallest effort.  Do be honest.  If you’re not doing anything to work toward making your vision or goal a reality say so.  Perhaps, the hints for the next question will stimulate your imagination to answer this question.

Home example:  I am trying to get us to find a regular family time to talk, laugh, and share what we are doing outside the family.
Work example:  I am trying to get to know my coworkers better and to find what I have in common with each one of them.

  1. What do I still need to do to make this vision or goal a reality?  I begin with thinking of where I need to bring or to increase caring or love, fairness or justice; and keep in mind my skills, talents, gifts, limitations, and convictions.

Hint:  Once you get a feeling or idea as to what you might do, write it down – even if you don’t think you have it quite right.  Guard against the fear of failure that can sometimes inhibit concrete goal setting.   Lean on the Spirit’s unlimited help.  Perhaps you will try again to do something that you did not do well in the past.

Home example:  I need to ask for all cell phones and the like to be turned off for an hour – start with a half hour – in the evening so we can pay attention to each other for a while.
Work example:  I want to be able to speak up when the manager is being unfair. 

  1. What, specifically, will I do or continue to do to make my vision or goal a reality and when will I do it?  I will limit myself to just one action.  This is or will be my mission in (this mission field).

Hint:  So far, you have answered thinking and planning questions.  The remaining questions are action-oriented and require concrete answers. Answer by writing down the specific action you will take and when you will take it.

Home example:  I’ll work toward spending every Tuesday night eating together and doing something as a family with no distractions – cell phones, etc.  If we can just do this three times starting next Tuesday, I’ll feel we’ve gotten started and I’ll look forward to going on from there.
Work example:  I need to speak up the very next time we’re not being treated fairly. 

  1. Who can work with me to carry out this mission?  How will I describe the mission to interest him or her?  How will I ask for the other’s help?  Here are the person’s name and words I might actually use.

Hint:  A mission works better with a teammate (Mark 6:7) who knows what you are trying to do, who regularly checks on your progress, and who offers whatever insight he or she has.  Such a teammate will help you to come closer to achieving needed and lasting change.  Also, think broadly.  Who is most able to help you?  Who seems to work easily with others and who seems to have common sense?  Don’t exclude potential teammates who may not be religious.  Choose anyone who is committed to love and justice as primary values.  They already share in God’s mission of love and justice even though they do not see it that way.  Further, put your mission in appealing words to help your desired teammate to say “yes.”  Does your invitation sound inviting?  You may want to recruit more than one teammate as you see the postal worker recruiting Tom and Hank (below).  All the references to finding a teammate are in the singular for simplicity.  Recruit as many as you believe you need. Adapt the procedure for each one.

Home example:  I’ll need my husband to agree to help me to get things going.  I could say something like, “I bet you want more family time as much as I do.  Let’s do a family night once a week – no cell phones, TV, or video games.  Let’s just take time to do something together.  What do you think? Will you help me get this started?”
Work example:  “Tom and Hank, can I check with you when I have something to bring up to make sure that what I have in mind is something that’s important to all of us?  If you keep me on track, I believe we can make a difference.” 

  1. When the time is right and with permission, how can you explain that what you will be e doing is or can be part of God’s mission?  How will I ask if he or she is comfortable with my sense of the work as part of God’s mission?  Here are words I might actually use.

Hint:  Words, as well as actions, make up a full mission.  Mention how this work connects with God, God’s mission, your faith, the Bible, or the church.  Be yourself and use everyday words.  Think also about the best time to talk this way with your teammate such as when the mission has become quite difficult.  Do ask for permission.

Home example:  I might say, “Can I share what I believe about this?…Since I’ve been going to church these last few months, I’ve been thinking about how I’d really like for our family to be closer. The kids are growing up so fast I feel I hardly know them.  Do you ever feel the same way?”
Work example:  “Can I share what I believe about this?…I believe we are made to work together so that all of us feel that we matter and are heard. Do you ever think this way?” 

  1. When the time is right, how could I encourage my teammate to turn to the church for help and support?  I will begin with recalling how the church helps me (in this mission field); that may give me an idea of what to suggest for how it might help him or her.  How will I ask if he or she has ever thought of the church as helping in this way?  Here are words I might actually use.

Hint:  Think of how your church actually helps you in this mission field; this may give you an idea as to how it might help your potential teammate. You are not imposing your faith on your teammate.  He or she needs to know where you go for help so that he or she might find help there too.  If not a churchgoer, hearing how the church helps you can open the door to a dimension of church life that may be new to the other.  Do ask for permission to share before you begin.

Home example:  My husband is a Christmas and Easter worshiper, so I might say, “Can I share what helps me that might help you too?…Come to church with me for a few Sundays.  My week always seems to go better when I’ve been to church.  See if that happens for you, too.  Maybe, while we’re there – or another time – we can pray for our family time to go well.  How do you feel about this idea of mine?”
Work example:  Most of my coworkers are not churchgoers, so I don’t push church. I’ll talk about God indirectly.  If I have spoken up and it has made a difference, I’ll be ready to say something like, “Can I tell you what I am thinking?…I think we made some progress.  We must be getting help from somewhere.”  They may change the subject but I will usually hear something later that tells me whether or not they heard me suggesting that help came from beyond us and that they might ask for such help themselves; or they may take it as just my belief that I feel free to share with them.

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Practice in finding skills, talents, and gifts

For practice in finding skills, talents, and gifts as suggested on p. x of Ch. 3 of Missional Members, use the forms above.

Going through Marge’s answers to the questions on the form, you might list as follows wider each answer.  Where more than one skill, talent, or gift comes to mind list it.

  • Re answer to Question #1:
               realistic:
    she faces the facts of the family’s life now
  • Re answer to Question #2:
              imaginative:
    she can come up with ideas
              problem solving:
    she sites possible distractions
  • Re answer to Question #3:
              practical:
    she can put “legs” on ideas
  • Re answer to Question #4:
              articulate:
    she will ask they pay attention to each other

Do the rest yourself writing in the skill, talent, or gift implied in each answer; then, note how it is implied.

  • Re answer to Question #5:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #6:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #7:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #8:____________________________________

Go through Jack’s answers and do the same on a different set of four answers.

  • Re answer to Question #1:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #2:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #3:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #4:____________________________________
  • Re answer to Question #5:
              sees what needs to be done:  will do what’s needed
  • Re answer to Question #6:
              team building:  clear on help he wants
  • Re answer to Question #7:
              trusts his own convictions:  uses his own words covets
              interchange:  invites response to what he said
  • Re answer to Question #8:
              flexible:  offers ideas without demanding they be accepted