As he writes about the church, he asks these questions:
What is the church?
Who belongs to it, and how?
Equally to the point, what is the church for?
I particularly appreciate the pointedness of this question: What is the church for? In many secular minds the church is often known by what it is against! But, what are we for? And more importantly, why does the church exist?
“It was brought into being through
’s Messiah, Jesus; it was energized by God’s Spirit; and it was called to bring the transformative news of God’s rescuing justice to the whole creation.” (p. 200) Israel
“The church isn’t simply a collection of isolated individuals, all following their own pathways of spiritual growth without much reference to one another….According to the early Christians, the church doesn’t exist in order to provide a place where people can pursue their private spiritual agendas and develop their own spiritual potential. Nor does it exist in order to provide a safe haven in which people can hide from the wicked world and ensure that they themselves arrive safely at an otherworldly destination. Private spiritual growth and ultimate salvation come rather as the byproducts of the main, central, overarching purpose for which God has called and is calling us. This purpose is clearly stated in various places in the New Testament: that through the church God will announce to the wider world that he is indeed its wise, loving and just creator; that through Jesus he has defeated the powers that corrupt and enslave it; and that by His Spirit he is at work to heal and renew it.
“The church exists, in other words, for what we sometimes call ‘mission’: to announce to the world that Jesus is its Lord. This is the ‘good news,’ and when it’s announced it transforms people and societies.
, in its widest as well as its more focused senses, is wat the church is there for. God intends to put the world to rights; he has dramatically launched this project through Jesus. Those who belong to Jesus are called, here and now, in the power of the Spirit, to be agents of that putting-to-rights purpose. The word ‘mission’ comes from the Latin for ‘send’: ‘As the Father sent me,’ said Jesus after his resurrection, ‘so I am sending you’ (John 20:21).” (p. 203-204) Mission
Jesus understood that His mission was to proclaim the Good News. As those whose lives have been transformed, we must now continue to proclaim the same Good News to others.
“From the very beginning, in Jesus’ own teaching, it has been clear that people who are called to be agents of God’s healing love, putting the world to rights, are called also to be people whose own lives are put to rights by the same healing love. The messengers must model the message. That’s why, though the reason for God’s call of the church is mission, the missionaries – that is, all Christians – are themselves defined as people who have themselves been made whole.” (p. 204)All Christians are missionaries.
All Christians are sent to proclaim the message of life and hope
and transformation that comes only through following Jesus.
Join The Missional Challenge on facebook.
- Learning In Community
- Networking With Practitioners
- Identifying Incarnational Behaviors
- EvaluatingMissional Initiatives
- Discussing Multiplication Strategies
- Your Input is Welcome and Desirable
- No Bashing! (contrasting is okay)
- Give lots of examples
- Focus on practices (not models)
- What do missional leaders do?
- Experiencing Community –
- Engaging Culture – Jeremiah Zimmerman
- Embracing the Cross – Dr. Paul Kaak
Chris explained that they are trying to create community where Christians and non-Christians come together. He described it like this: creating.un/churched.community. One of the tools they have used is http://www.meetup.com/ and created a Book Club that meets once each month. They read and discuss non-Christian books, do life together and hang out. Another activity that builds community is “The 44 Minute Long Beach Trash Pick Up” which happens one Saturday each month and anyone is welcome to join in. They have also participated in a
The biggest mistake they’ve made was trying to hold on to Christians and try to get them to be missional (trying to motivate unmotivated Christians). The best practice has been constantly holding up the value of being evangelistic because people will tend to drift away from that.
They see that their role is to make things better for other kingdom work.
Chris works as a substitute teacher, which he says is the best job for a church planter because “I’m getting paid by the government to church plant.”
- Who you choose to surround yourself with is very important.
- We view our church in “seasons”
- Summer = building relationships
- Small groups are called “Summer Ventures”
- Volleyball tournament where teams compete
- Cake baking class
- Star Wars and Twilight Zone marathon
- Pool Parties – one each week
- Seek to involve others in creating events
- Cousins Wine Bar – Tuesday night wine-tasting, helped create ethos, it’s been going for the last two years, don’t yet want to invite them to “my church”
- “It’s a red flag when I’m not being invited to stuff.”
- When we do things with intentionality – “felt like we were creating an agenda.” Jesus was not only interested in people knowing who He was, but being a blessing to people. Being missional involves “being sent to be a blessing.”
- “There are days I don’t sense God leading me to engage in conversation. There are other times God opens a door. We have to be open to what the Spirit is saying.”
- We thought the idea was to get them to church and we got discouraged and gave up. “The mission of Jesus is an agenda to love and bless people. To get them to church is a ‘sucky’ agenda.”
- “I don’t care if you buy what I’m selling – because I’m not selling anything.”
- “It’s not ‘I’m going to be missional’ – it’s who I am.”
- “There’s a reaction against hypocrisy in the church.”
- Find out what happens in the town on Friday and Saturday nights
- Decide to be there
- Meet those in charge
- Offer to help
- Be at the “center” of what’s happening
He’s discovered that if you are willing to help, people will put you to work. Engaging the culture is about “servanthood – willing to be the least.”
He explained – “If you are looking for results from your efforts, you’ll be discouraged and run yourself into the ground. If you are looking for spiritual results, you’ll begin to see it. We are doing this because we are obeying God. A lot of times it gets worst before it gets better.”
- Be willing to pray for people – ask them, “How can I pray for you?”
- It’s about how deeply you love people. It’s about helping release artistic expressions of people.
- If you are doing it right – there is a collision!
Paul encouraged us to practice hospitality. It’s important to know how to throw parties and be authentic in your own home. Also, be in their homes – that’s missional. Wherever you go, practice a “welcoming lifestyle.”
He talked about proximity – being close to people. Don’t become too busy for people as leaders. Hebrews 13:7 – “consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Mission should be a way of life for us.
Through cultivating spiritual intimacy with Jesus, Paul shared these learnings:
- I learned how to OBEY… you need to train to OBEY
- I learned to listen to God’s voice. In Mark 1:35 Jesus went off to pray He received His agenda by listening to His Father. In Acts 16, God speaks to Paul while he was on mission.
- I learned God’s heart for people. Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God FOR I will be exalted in all the nations.” Luke 10:2b – call out to the Lord of the Harvest…
- I learned courage – Acts 4
- I learned about the nature of conversation
- I learned that experiencing God’s grace in our lives is what sustains us!
“Life is busy. I say no to other things to say yes to my neighbors.”
If the method for sharing our faith is to let the pastor do it – few people will come to believe in Christ – and those of you who do know Him already will miss out on one of the most exciting parts of following Christ – introducing someone to faith in Jesus.
I think this starts with loving God and loving lost people with God’s love. Often times I’ve described this as “loving people until they ask you why.” Then – share how God’s love and grace have transformed your life. The more you love people – really love them – the more opportunities you’ll have to share the gospel with them.
Joe Aldrich notes, “I think it is fair to say that the majority of Christians have lost their ability to relate significantly to non-Christians….After knowing the Lord two years, the average Christian has no significant relationships with non-Christians.”
He also says - “Frequently the unsaved are viewed as enemies rather than victims of the enemy. Spirituality is viewed as separation from the unsaved.” You may think you have nothing in common with unbelievers – but the reality is, you do. You have a lot in common with them – like…a mortgage, car payments, kids who misbehave, a lawn to mow, a car to wash, a less-than-perfect marriage, a few too many pounds around the waist, and an interest in sports, hobbies, and other activities they enjoy.
I think we need to remember that Jesus was called a “friend of sinners.” Are we friends of sinners?
I agree with Leonard Sweet -
It's obvious that we don't understand that we have been sent by God with the gospel to our culture. We are to join Him in fulfilling His mission!
Don't you think that pastors should be training believers to engage non-believers with the gospel, rather than just inviting people to church? Wouldn't it be awesome to see bands of missionaries mobilized all over the United States to reach their neighbors and co-workers for Christ?
This is what Missional Transformation is about! It's about thinking "like a missionary" here in the U.S. It's about pastors who are training members as missionaries who "try to understand the people they are seeking to reach and create a culturally relevant ministry that incorporates points of contact between the people and the gospel.”
I will be attending this event next month. Join me!!!
Facilitated by CRM’s Missio Team and Forge Australia
October 6 - 7, 2006
you're stuck, come if you're jaded. Come if you love The Church.
Friday - October 6
12:00 - 1:00 Registration
1:00 - 1:45 Hugh Halter “Let’s Get Practical”
1:45 - 2:45 Alan Hirsch: “The Church in the West: The Real Story”
2:45 - 3:00 Question & Answer
3:30 - 4:30 Michael Frost: “Missional God, Missional Church”
4:30 - 5:00 Question & Answer
7:00 - 8:45 Hugh Halter: “Writing in the Dust” Missional Posture Unpacked
Saturday - October 7
8:30 - 9:45 Alan Hirsch: “Communitas Not Community” Can it be done in America?
9:45 - 10:00 Question & Answer
10:30 -11:45 Michael Frost: “Going Down, Going Deep” New World Ecclesial Practices
11:45 -12:00 Question & Answer
1:30 - 2:45 Alan Hirsch: “Jesus Made Me Do It” The Missional Call
2:45 - 3:00 Question & Answer
3:30 - 4:30 Michael Frost: “Living as Exiles: Where Do We Go From Here?”
4:45 - 5:00 Question & Answer
Saturday Evening 7:00 - 9:00 pm MCAP Informational Dessert: Strategic discussion for Denominational leaders, church planters and church planting churches. We’ll be discussing church plant training options for incarnational church plant innovators. (Cost $15)
NO REGISTATION AT THE DOOR
Information on Forge can be found at www.forge.org.au
Information on Missio can be found at www.missio.us
Feel free to forward this on to any church or denominational leaders, church planters, or pastors who want to discover more about missional church
2 Day Intensive: $119
This event is limited to 250 people so register early at www.missio.us
Please register for the MCAP Dessert Forum Saturday night
if you plan on attending.
Please read “The Shaping Of ThingsTo Come” before the event.
As you read through Acts you see the Church on
Essentially – the church is a missionary church! The church is sent by God! The church is proclaiming the gospel! The church is making diciples! The church is on mission!