As a part of our Basel Lab experience we were sent out in two’s which is from the model that Jesus gave us in Luke 10 when he sent the disciples out two by two to the cities where he was about to go. I went out with my friend D. As we walked around we made notes of the places and people that we saw. Another aspect of this narrative mapping process is to really be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I think when I have read Acts 1:8 and the Great Commission in the past I become too fixated on the location and where I am suppose to go more than I do in following the Holy Spirit in His timing and place.
Do we stay in Jerusalem?
Should we venture out to Judea?
What about Samaria?
When do we go to the utter most parts of the earth?
A couple of thoughts on this
A) The Spirit should drive the strategy. The promise of the Holy Spirit in the church is that it will lead us, guide us, encourage us, convict us, comfort us, etc… Regarding missions, the church should depend on the Spirit to lead as did Paul in his call to Macedonia.
B) We can be missional wherever we are and it count just as much in the kingdom as it does if you sell your possessions and take your family overseas. I personally think in some ways it was harder to share my faith amongst the people I lived with on a daily basis in the states then it was when I went on a mission trip or in my case moved over seas. Acts 1:8 is about BOTH / AND not EITHER / OR. It is about being missional wherever you are.
Back to Basel – One “take away” for me on this Basel Lab was the fact that I realized that no matter where I am I am drawn to a certain people. It does not matter where they live. I find this when I visit the states. I find this when I go to Spain or Morocco or Italy or when I am home near Basel. I am drawn to Spanish speaking people and in particular Spaniards. So when we were assigned by our trainer this certain area of Basel we had no idea what we would discover so we started taking notes and talking to people as we went.
Sure enough the Lord put some pretty cool things in our path. We had the Spanish Consulate, a Spanish Vino y Tapas bar, a Spanish kindergarten, a Social club where Spanish speakers meet and we even heard of a Spanish speaking evangelical church. I know this may seem quite obvious but this gave me a clue that there are Spanish speakers living in Basel Switzerland. Grin.
Later the next day we went out again and this time we ate at a local restaurant. Often in the case of these countries they will sit you on a bench next to another couple or family. We sat next to a couple where the woman was from Switzerland and the husband was from the USA. We talked for quite a long time and one thing that we were able to discover was the migration of certain peoples to Switzerland. She told us that about 50 years ago Italians came and then Spaniards and then people from Turkey so they could find work and that in those days the Swiss allowed people to come and work since they needed to build up their work force. This piece of information helped me realize that indeed we did find a Spanish population. An important aspect of narrative mapping is finding information givers in a community so that you can learn from them about the people and places of that area.
I think as I mentioned before, one thing that I am all about regarding mission strategies in churches is the idea that as your church senses some leadership from the Holy Spirit to reach a certain people group that the church will work towards reaching them no matter where they live. There are a growing number of churches doing this. One such church that I have talked to lately regarding connecting with some people in Europe is the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. They have a desire to reach a people group and they are doing so everywhere that people groups lives. So this means that in their community, in the states, in Europe and in that particular country. In my mind this is a good way to flesh out how being missional can look. They are integrating missions in their community to missions in the world.
We live in a small world. We live close together.
The world has come to Europe and the United States. Many of the unreached peoples in the world live in the states. How can we connect with them in the states? It is a great opportunity. Sure we need to go overseas. We need to take mission trips but AS WE are doing this we also need to be seeking to build relationships and share Christ with these people in our own cities.
Some questions to consider:
Who lives in your city? consider doing some narrative mapping to explore your area
What are some ways you can reach out to these people?
What needs do they have as people who come from a different country?
How can you help meet those needs?
How can you help them feel at home ? Personally if it were not for our spanish and german friends (believers and non-believers) making us feel welcome here then it would be much more difficult to carry on day to day.