After college, my understanding of missions and service was deepened.  I worked full time for the mission agency where my youth group had served several times.  I was blessed to be able to live alongside those I had served; they became my neighbors. This challenged my teenage understanding of mission work. You see, I had overlooked their gifts and capacities and failed to realize that service is about being present, coming alongside and building relationships with those who we serve. The painting, construction, yard work, and house cleaning projects were simple ways to do this and it became for me a way of living – what I call a missional life.

We don’t all have to work full time for a mission agency to live a missional life. It starts with the neighbor in our own back yard. Find ways to serve them, strike up a conversation and lend an ear, don’t overlook their gifts. Missional life is contagious – invite them to serve with you and before long, you will be feasting together at one big back yard picnic on Earth as it is in Heaven.  If you are interested in taking steps forward in living missionally, please reach out to me at

– Patrick McLaughlin