Living Missionally

By Melanie Cocalis, Community Development Coordinator

So often when you leave your mission trip you hear the standard encouragement… “your mission trip starts now”! It follows with words that challenge you to not just live the way you lived during your mission trip, but to serve your own community when you get back home. To live missionally on a daily basis. That said, I don’t know that the encouragement is always followed with many practical ways this can look.

So, if you went on a mission trip this summer, this post is for you. Here are a couple tangible ways you can pursue this type of intentional living in your home community, now that you are back from your trip!

  1. Learn about your Community. Often times, we may lack a certain type of passion for our own communities simply because we don’t know much about it. Sure, we were born and raised there, but we haven’t necessarily spent much time getting to know about it. Here are a couple areas we challenge you to dive into: What are the city demographics and what do they mean? What is the story of your city (What do people talk about when sharing the story of your community? What things are true? False?), What is a sign of hope in your community? What are the top strengths of your city? What are the top challenges of your city? What is your community’s history? These are just a few directions you can explore, but the first step is really getting a better idea of the culture and makeup of the community you call home. This will begin to stir a passion and deeper understanding of some of the things you grew up not thinking twice about.
  2. Attend a Community Event. Research the different groups that exist in your city. Are there any neighborhood associations? Youth programs? Health groups? Start with an area you are naturally passionate about, and seek out an event or group of people regularly gathering together. As you start gathering with more people and meeting those that also call your city home, you will begin to connect the stories that make up your city and find even more ways to get involved.
  3. Volunteer at a Local Organization. Again, this will take a little bit of digging, but we encourage you to seek out the different organization that exist to address various community needs in your area. Learn about that organization. Meet with those who work there and ask questions. Be a listener. Volunteer with the organization, and learn about how you can get more deeply involved.
  4. Coordinate Friends to Serve Neighbors. Remember what it felt like to use your gifts to serve alongside those you were working with during your mission trip and accomplish the tasks before you? When we begin to see our own communities as a group of people made up of various gifts, strengths, and skills, we can start to build some momentum to address various challenges using those gifts that exist in your community. Pull together a group of friends and respond to some of the needs of your own community using your gifts, as well as the gifts and passions of your neighbors.