Dr. Mark Hausfeld, a mentor, friend, and former teacher from seminary, wrote and presented the following from Lausanne, a big world evangelization convention that is meeting this year in South Africa.

Dr. Mark Hausfeld on “Missional Greeting”

by richardbrogden
This morning I was impressed by Dr. Michael Herbst’s presentation
“Making the Case for the Truth of Christ in a Pluralistic Globalized
World.”  Herbst is from the former East Germany.  In his presentation
he recounted how one generation, the post World War II generation that
was under the domination of Soviet Communism, was forced to look to
the State as their provider instead of God.  That generation waned in
Biblical faith.  The result was their children, the second generation
post-World War II grew up totally without the Scriptures, prayer, the
Church and thus, faith in the God of the Bible.  The Communist Party
of the East German Republic was the sole entity to look to for
provision.  The second generation gave birth to the third post World
War II generation and by this generation dissatisfaction with the
State as the sole provider created change in that in this generation
the Communist government capitulated.  Perhaps logic would lead we
believers to think that the failed concept of the State as the sole
provider would led this German generation back to God.  The actuality
is that the opposite has took place.  As the saying goes, “The Church
is only one generation from extinction” in type can be exemplified in
what was East Germany.
The failed concept that the sole provider be a government  carries
over in the mindset of the Eastern German when told of a God who is
proclaimed by the Church to be humankind’s provision.  Jaded by past
lies such a God is rejected as well.  Why?  In the mind of the post-
Christian Eastern German he government failed and such a God wold fail
therefore neither can be trusted for provision.  How does the Body of
Christ communicate the Truth of the gospel in such a context?  Here’s
the answer.
“Missional greetings.”  Herbst told the story of three German
believers who rented an apartment in an old gray Communist era
building in a city in Eastern Germany.  There people isolated
themselves, personal contact with others was  limited and relationship
had to be fostered intentionally.  It is an example of life across
Eastern Germany.  These three people felt led of the Spirit to start
“missional greetings.”  They began to greet men, women, young people
and children with simple greetings of kindness to people.  This action
reminded me of Mother Teresa’s words when she said, “The first step of
love is to show kindness.”
The result is incarnational mission taking place as these believers
become the presence of Jesus to those in their apartment complex.
With each missional greeting the Person and work of Christ  becomes
real as the “Iron Curtain” of unbelief begins to rust and collapse.
Faith in Christ begins to fill the horizon of such a life.  The Truth
of the gospel is understood through people building relationships over
coffee, walks in the apartment complex yard and in living rooms where
friendships are solidified.  It all started with a kind missional
greeting.
Peter said, “Give reason for the hope that you have.”  The “missional
greeting” is not an argument, a theological discussion, or a new
missiology.  It is simply making Jesus known through being kind and
loving.  The result is people coming to know the way, the Truth and
the life because gospel Truth is being modeled through the life of the
Church.
This is not brain surgery.  What would happen if each of us as
followers of Jesus Christ intentionally extended a missional greeting
to our neighbors?  Those we work with in the marketplace the person we
pass on the street, the immigrant Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or post-
Christian we have in our presence each day each receive missional
greetings and we become a true priesthood of believers.  A bridge to
the Truth-less.  I believe the result would be what is happening in
post-Christian Eastern Germany.  Relationships would grow, coffee and
tea would be shared, unbelievers who become friends would visit our
living rooms and Christ-less friends would become sisters and brothers
in Christ as the gospel is seen and proclaimed as the reason for the
hope that is had.
Who will you give a missional greeting today?
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