Wednesday, May 31, 2006
1. Does being missional mean you know how to make lists? It seems like every (OK, maybe not every) description I've come across involves some kind of list. So I figure this must be one of the skills developed by missional-minded people :-)
2. Seriously ... Is being missional more about community witness than personal witness? It's not that we don't have an individual responsibility, but is there a stress on the body corporately reflecting Jesus to its neighborhood/city/world?
3. Is being missional more about "incarnating" the gospel (the good news of Jesus) among the lost than ministry that revolves around and within our church buildings? Is the emphasis on going to people, not just expecting them to come to us? But then I hear Mark Driscoll talk about the need to gather people "so hard words of repentance can be preached in an effort to expose people’s hearts" (HT: Project Mustard Seed)
4. Does being missional mean more energy is spent on deepening relationships than on running programs? But as I think of this, why can't programs be missional also?
5. Is being missional about being counter-cultural within the culture rather than isolated from the culture?
Go ahead and add your questions to this list.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Friday, May 26, 2006
That would be just a little kidding because of a previous post. I really do like that this dad is getting connected with his children in the community. It is an important part of the missional equation.
But let me explain why I wanted to say NOOOOOOO!! to this. I don't want this taken the wrong way. It's not an attack. I'll say it again: I agree with the concept. Absolutely. Completely. This is what normal people in the suburbs do - they register their kids in sports. And this is how we are part of our community - we cheer our kid's team in the local hockey/baseball/soccer league, we volunteer at the hospital, we sit on the parents/teacher council, etc.
So what's my problem? Maybe in some contexts this kind of thing (community involvement) is unusual for Christians to do. But where I live, many of the believers I know are involved in the community - in the ways I've talked about above and more. The problem is not that they aren't volunteering, in sports leagues, etc. They've been doing it for years. They're connected with unbelievers in many ways. Yet I wouldn't necessarily call them (us - I include myself) "missional."
[Let me add that I've appreciated what the writer of the post I linked to (Steve McCoy) has to say on the topic of missional. I also appreciate his heart for his community. No doubt he will seek to be missional through whatever opportunities he pursues in his city. Check this out also; cool idea!]
I guess what I'm rambling about is that most people I know are past the point of being involved in the community - they already are. In fact, under the terms, "lifestyle evangelism" and "friendship evangelism" their involvement has already been affirmed as important. Now missional comes along and ... well, I guess I'm wondering if we're just re-inventing (or re-imaging?) the same old lessons. Of course, Solomon did say there's nothing new under the sun.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
1. They look and see needs.
2. They listen to their community and hear what people are saying about needs.
3. They learn about needs and their community by studying and researching.
4. They link to those needs as individuals and communities in order to bring the Kingdom.
5. They act locally to meet needs.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
What missional is not
1. Being “missional” is not the equivalent of simply being “missions-minded.”
2. Being “missional” does not refer only to evangelism.
3. Being “missional” does not refer only to the support of missionaries.
The missional church
1. “Missional” is an adjective used almost exclusively to describe “church.”
2. A “missional church” is comprised of full-time ministers.
3. A “missional church” seeks to be simultaneously counter-cultural and culture-redeeming.
4. The missional church exists to be the embodiment/incarnation of Jesus Christ for our broken world.
5. Missional churches broaden the meaning of missions and evangelism.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I found the site after reading Steve McCoy's complaint that too many people are misusing the word "incarnissional" ... errr, missional.
Maybe a category can be added to this webpage.
One of the things I hope to do with this topic for the rest of the month is to find some articles that give the practical outworking of being missional (incarnational). I'm finding that there's more description of what missional is than how to put it in practice. At the same time I appreciate what was said on House Church Blog about the challenge of living this out:
Having said all that, I want to confess my shortcomings. I am still very much wrestling with what this looks like. Most of us were trained that, in order to "serve Christ" in the world meant that we had to give our testimony or share a gospel tract once a day. This is NOT contextualized incarnational living.
Then, as we wrestle with what this means, we become servants to those around us. We do not say much about our faith because we don't want to "do it the old way" so we quietly "share our faith" with our deeds. Somehow, this also seems to come short of living incarnationally when compared to the powerful impact that Christ had on those around Him.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I don't know enough about other missional churches to answer for them, but here's what I think the answers should be:
(1) How do these churches feel about the primacy of teaching?
(2) I wonder what kind of church experience my kids would have in a missional church. I embrace the missionary mindset of impacting my community, but do I sacrifice my kids on that alter?
(3) I don’t want to be in a church that exists only for themselves, but I have the impression that missional churches exist only for the unsaved. Do missional churches nurture believers?
(4) Why do missional churches resist seminary training?
(1) I don't see why the primacy of teaching should be jettisoned for being missional, or how it can be, in fact. It seems to me that a robust teaching of God's word should prepare and equip and inform and shape his people to be missional.
(2) Granted the children's program in a missional church may not be all the bells and whistles of what many in our church culture want in a church. But I'm not sure that what children need is a program so much as they need to see a passion for God and a heart for the unbeliever modeled by their parents. BTW, for what it's worth, a pastor friend once told me that in his experience, the same percentage of kids in small churches turn out "OK" as kids in big churches.
(3) I don't see why missional has to sacrifice the nurturing of believers. In fact, with an emphasis on disciple-making, I would think nurturing believers would be high in priority. Besides, if we really love the lost then we have to consider the impact of our love for one another in the church on the world. Jesus said the world would know that we are his followers by our love for each other. So I don't see how either discipleship or fellowship can be ignored.
(4) I don't know why missional churches resist it, if they do (well, I have an idea but that's for another day - I think it goes beyond missional). Personally, I think intense study of issues of doctrine, ministry, etc. are good. Having said that, in seminary I often heard it said that the responsibillity for training is first and foremost the local church. Well, if we give more than lip service to that idea, than we should be able to train leaders from within our churches as well.
Just my thoughts.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
A missional church is a church that intentionally follows a missionary vision of itself and a missionary strategy for its existence. It is a church that looks beyond denominational programs and to the New Testament for its understanding of itself. It is a church that, like its missionary force on various mission fields, shapes itself around the Gospel in a particular setting, and determines its missional life not from a denominational blueprint, but from the vision nurtured and cultivated by its own leadership team and small groups.
Missional churches are frequently approaching pastoral leadership in ways that focus on the mission “on the ground,” and not the insights of an academic preparation in seminary. Pastors are coming from within congregations. Training is taking place within mentoring relationships. Networks of missional churches are forming to meet needs for leadership development without becoming denominational hierarchies telling churches how to “do church.” Missional churches are emphasizing church planting, and resisting the logic of the inevitable megachurch, a development that every concerned evangelical should applaud. It is not at all unusual to hear missional churches state that they do not want transfer membership or even to become large.
Missional churches believe the church is God’s missionary movement in history. Wherever it is, it is the missional movement of Jesus. Missional churches are “doing” missions projects or missions trips. They are finding ways for Christians to penetrate the culture around them. A good example would be the family driving twenty miles to a megachurch that has a menu of programs for their children. A missional approach would ask this family to begin to imagine how they can remain in the neighborhood, perhaps create a network of Christians in the immediate vicinity who share similar concerns in parenting and could create opportunities for spiritual and social activities in the community.
Missional churches are frequently small. They are made up of neighborhood groups. They prominently feature opportunities to be part of servant ministry in the community. There is often only a single rented facility, and technology may be used to facilitate communication and fellowship. Relationships have priority over programs, and institutional values may seem secondary or invisible.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
- Incarnational: Missional churches are deeply entrenched in their communities. The church is not focused on its facility, but is focused on living, demonstrating and offering biblical community to a lost world....
- Indigenous: Missional churches are indigenous. They have taken root in the soil and reflect, to some degree, the culture of their community. An indigenous church looks different from Seattle to Senegal to Singapore....
- Intentional: Missional churches are intentional about their methodologies. Biblical practices for preaching, discipline, baptism and other functions are vital. But negotiables such as worship style, evangelism methods, attire, service times, locations and other man-made customs are determined by their effectiveness in a specific cultural context....
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Keller said that biblical righteousness is about being willing to disadvantage yourself for the advantage of the community. His question for us: Does your city rejoice that your church is there? If they don't then we aren't working justice.
Here's (Keller's) six-fold model for the church relating to culture. They can read as one sentence.
1. More Christians living long-term in cities
2. ...With a better understanding of the gospel
3. ...Living as dynamic counter-cultures in the city
4. ...Integrating their faith and their work
5. ...Radically committed to the good of the city as a whole
6. ...Contextualizing the Gospel message
Monday, May 15, 2006
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day may come when the courage of Men fails; when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship; but it is not this day - an hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the Age of Man comes crashing down - but it is not this day!!! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth - I bid you stand!
And for some reason I was thinking about the feminization of the church (which others have talked about) while I was watching this epic.
- The shift from an internal focus to an external focus. Missional churches are churches that are turned inside-out. They are heavily involved in serving their communities.
- The shift from program-driven to people development.
Missional churches still have programs, though typically not as many as program churches would have. However, the difference is in the starting point. Missional churches begin with people’s declared needs and then customize a development path for them, using some of the church’s programs.
"Begin with people's declared needs"? Sounds like what the seeker church has been doing for years.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
At this time I find myself preferring the language of incarnational living instead of missional living. The language of incarnational living more meaningfully emphasizes embodying Christ in every situation and cultural context. The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of God with humanity—it is the Incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us. Fully God and fully human, Jesus by his very life and presence was mission.
Incarnational living more meaningfully marries mission with the wholeness of life. Incarnational living places the mystery of life with Christ at the center of each follower’s life and each faith community’s life together.
Incarnational living invites all Christ-followers to flesh out their uniqueness, encouraging the totality of their being to reflect or embody Christ. When people and their respective communities see their “being” as inevitably making the invisible Christ visible through their lives, then every interaction, every act, every moment of stillness becomes a Christ moment. This explodes the singularity of mission; now life becomes mission in a holistic sense. Mission is inevitable when Christ is incarnated, but without incarnation mission looks a lot like busy religiosity.
Good emphasis. Good reminder not to turn "missional" into a task-oriented mission, but to live out the life of Christ (or the life of the Spirit) in our daily experiences.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Also in the articles is this (incomplete) definition proposed by National Evangelism Partnerships, a roundtable of ministries facilitated by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, currently working on a draft statement about the missional church: "Being missional means being incarnational, passionate about neighbourhood, intentional about community, passionate about spirituality, radical about stewardship, and committed to transformational discipleship.”
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
They are as follows: 1) from programs to processes, 2) from demographics to discernment, 3) from models to missions, 4) from attractional to incarnational, 5) from uniformity to diversity, 6) from professional to passionate, 7) from seating to sending, 8 ) from decisions to disciples, 9) from additional to exponential, and 10) from monuments to movements.I guess we'll just have to read the book to flesh this out practically, but it's a helpful framework. Also helpful is this description of the missional leader:
Leaders who are breaking the code have a different beginning point. Their beginning point is grounded in theological understanding and conviction of what the church should be and do. It is not simply about building a reputation, a ministry, a following, or a great church.Of course "breaking the code" refers to the missional code ... not that other (DV) Code so big in the news these days!
UPDATE: Mark Driscoll has an interview with Ed Stetzer on his book at Resurgence.
What is the central concept of your latest book?
In Breaking the Missional Code, we talk about the fact that "culture matters." It does, but there are few practical tools on how to engage culture. Our book is intended to be a practical handbook on how to apply this in your church.
In this book we recognized that if the Great Commission is to be realized, all people need to hear the gospel and experience church in a language they can understand. In a world where "all nations" can no longer be defined in simply linguistic terms, this is not easy. Since our context is made up of many people groups, population segments, and cultural environments, one size does not fit all—and we want to help churches find their biblical expression in every culture.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Here are the links to the posts in the series:
Emerging Evangelism: What Is It?
Emerging Evangelism: Critical Beginnings
Emerging Evangelism: Begin with Jesus 1
Emerging Evangelism: Begin with Jesus 2
Emerging Evangelism: The Earliest Churches
Emerging Evangelism: Which Term to Use?
McKnight describes Jesus' missional life:
Jesus was out and about and he was doing good for others and he was loving others and he helped them along and he summoned them to find God and redemption through himself and through what he was teaching and he summoned to find God and redemption by attaching themselves to his kingdom vision.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
I commented on Josh Harris' blog that we have too much talk about the Da Vinci Code. Is that just a feeling or is it based on reality? So here's a little experiment. I'm going to link to every website I can find about DVC over the next week. Criterion: If it's a blog, it can't be just a one-time post - unless there are significant links to other resources; if it's a website, it can't be just one article. Care to guess how many I find?
1. Da Vinci Code: Separate Fact from Fiction (RBC Ministry)
2. The Da Vinci Dialogue (Hollywood Jesus)
3. Da Vinci Code Truth (Westminster Theological Seminary)
4. Da Vinci Code Breaker.com
5. Jesus and the Da Vinci Code (Focus)
6. Da Vinci Code Special Section (LeadershipU)
7. The Da Vinci Opportunity (Mark D. Roberts)
8. Da Vinci Code Special Section (Christian History)
9. Discussing the Da Vinci Code (Bible.org)
10. Know the Truth (Focus on the Family)
11. Responding to The Da Vinci Code (The Baptist Start Page)
12. Debunking Dan Brown's "Fact Based Fiction" (Alpha and Omega)
13. Da Vinci On-line Resources (Preachrblog) - links to Lutheran Radio
14. Jesus Decoded (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)
15. The Da Vinci Code News (blog)
16. Da Vinci Code resource list (emergesque blog)
17. The Da Vinci Code: A Biblical Response (CBN)
18. The Da Vinci Code (The Life)
19. The Da Vinci Hoax
20. The Da Vinci Hoax Blog
21. The Da Vinci Code articles (In the Nick of Time)
22. The Da Vinci Code Online
23. The Da Vinci Crock (blog)
24. The Da Vinci Code: Criticism and Commentary
25. Da Vinci Code and Opus Dei (blog)
27. The Da Vinci Code Discussed
28. Dan Brown's webpage featuring The Da Vinci Code ... of course
29. Sony Picture's website for the movie The Da Vinci Code
30. The Da Vinci Code Research Guide (About)
31. Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, The Last Supper
32. The Da Vinci Code reviews (Rotten Tomatoes)
33. The Da Vinci Code (Apologetics Index)
34. Critique of the Da Vinci Code (Planet Envoy)
35. The Da Vinci Code Articles
36. Deciphering the Da Vinci Code (explorefaith.org)
37. Expressions: The Da Vinci Code (rejesus)
38. Dialogue: The Da Vinci Code audio (Dallas Theological Seminary)
39. The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers podcasts
40. Jesus and DaVinci
41. The Da Vinci Quest Project (includes pdf of chapter 1 of Josh McDowell's book)
42. Hot Topics page on The Da Vinci Code (PreachingToday.com)
43. Da Vinci Didn't Convince Me
44. The Da Vinci Code Author Roundtable (FaithfulReader.com)
45. Challenging Da Vinci
46. Da Vinci Code Resources (Biblical Foundations)
47. The Da Vinci Code - Fact and Fiction forum (website to come)
49. Da Vinci Code (Rosslyn Templars)
50. Da Vinci Code (Beliefnet)
51. The Cadre's Response to The Da Vinci Code
52. Cracks in The Da Vinci Code (Institute for Religious Research)
53. Da Vinci Code Resources for Study (Grace Fellowship)
54. The Da Vinci Code Official Website (Random House)
55. The Da Vinci Code Quest on Google
56. Da Vinci Code Outreach Resources
57. Da Vinci Code Workshop (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
58. The Da Vinci Code (Religious Tolerance.org)
59. The Da Vinci Code: Are You Ready?
60. Rejecting the Da Vinci Code
61. The Da Vinci Code Movie Blog
62. The Magdalene Review: Da Vinci Code category
63. A Christian's Response to the Da Vinci Code (Reforming My Mind blog)
64. Sermon Central sermons on Da Vinci Code
65. Pastors.com articles on The Da Vinci Code (Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox)
66. The Da Vinci Code Special Section (Christianity Today Movies)
68. Decifering the Da Vinci Code (James Watkins)
69. Hollywood Translates the Da Vinci Code (ReligionLink)
70. The Da Vinci Code Blog (Infuze Magazine)
71. Bloggers and Da Vinci (LaShawn Barber's Corner)
72. The Da Vinci Code (Denver Seminary)
73. Da Vinci Code Lectures (WithAllYourMind.net)
74. The Truth About the Da Vinci Code
75. The Da Vinci Code (ChristianBibleStudies.com)
76. SermonAudio.com sermons on Da Vinci Code
77. The Da Vinci Code - Answered (Squidoo)
78. Articles About the Da Vinci Code (New Media Ministries)
79. Amazon.ca books on The Da Vinci Code
80. The Da Vinci Code Quotes
81. Da Vinci Code Photos and Paintings
82. The Da Vinci Code (Wikipedia)
83. Dr. Trevelyan's Da Vinci Conversation (blog)
84. What Is the Da Vinci Code (blog)
85. Da Vinci Code Book.com
86. An Orthodox Response to The Da Vinci Code
87. The Da Vinci Code Responses (CANA)
88. The Da Vinci Code (Keith Parkin)
89. The Real Da Vinci Code (Weird Worlds)
90. The Da Vinci Code, part 1, 2, 3 on FoxNews.com (Father Brown)
91. The Da Vinci Code Hoax (Australian Presbyterian)
92. The Da Vinci Code (Resource Center for Theological Research)
93. Some Da Vinci Code Resources (Ordinary Everyday Christian blog)
Oh yeah, it's not lost on me that I am contributing to the DVC noise.
94. And for those who don't want to read the whole book, here's the SparkNotes version.
95. Couldn't resist adding just one more: Debating Da Vinci (U.S. News and World Report)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Tim Keller did an article on The Missional Church back in 2001. He describes the elements of a missional church as follows:
1. Discourse in the vernacular.
2. Enter and re-tell the culture's stories with the gospel
3. Theologically train lay people for public life and vocation
4. Create Christian community which is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive.
5. Practice Christian unity as much as possible on the local level.
Read the article to see what Keller means by each element. He concludes with a case study of a missional small group (I would have liked to have seen a case study of being missional in the community, but it does summarize his points well):
So, for example, what makes a small group 'missional'? A 'missional' small group is not necessarily one which is doing some kind of specific 'evangelism' program (though that is to be recommended) Rather, 1) if its members love and talk positively about the city/neighborhood, 2) if they speak in language that is not filled with pious tribal or technical terms and phrases, nor disdainful and embattled language, 3) if in their Bible study they apply the gospel to the core concerns and stories of the people of the culture, 4) if they are obviously interested in and engaged with the literature and art and thought of the surrounding culture and can discuss it both appreciatively and yet critically, 5) if they exhibit deep concern for the poor and generosity with their money and purity and respect with regard to opposite sex, and show humility toward people of other races and cultures, 6) they do not bash other Christians and churches--then seekers and non-believing people from the city A) will be invited and B) will come and will stay as they explore spiritual issues. If these marks are not there it will only be able to include believers or traditional, "Christianized" people.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
- A missional church is one where people are exploring and rediscovering what it means to be Jesus' sent people as their identity and vocation.
- A missional church will be made up of individuals willing and ready to be Christ’s people in their own situation and place.
- A missional church knows that they must be a cross-cultural missionary (contextual) people in their own community.
- A missional church will be engaged with the culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (not of the world).
- A missional church will seek to plant all types of missional communities to expand the Kingdom of God.
- A missional church seeks to put the good of their neighbor over their own.
- A missional church will give integrity, morality, good character and conduct, compassion, love and a resurrection life filled with hope preeminence to give credence to their reasoned verbal witness.
- A missional church practices hospitality by welcoming the stranger into the midst of the community.
- A missional church will see themselves as a community or family on a mission together. There are no "Lone Ranger" Christians in a missional church.
- A missional church will see themselves as representatives of Jesus and will do nothing to dishonor his name.
- A missional church will be totally reliant on God in all it does.
- A missional church will be desperately dependent on prayer.
- A missional church gathered will be for the purpose of worship, encouragement, supplemental teaching, training, and to seek God’s presence and to be realigned with his God’s missionary purpose.
- A missional church is orthodox in its view of the Gospel and Scripture, but culturally relevant in its methods and practice so that it can engage the world view of the hearers.
- A missional church will feed deeply on the scriptures throughout the week so they are always ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why they’re living the way they are.
- A missional church will be a community where all members are involved in learning to be disciples of Jesus. Growth in discipleship is an expectation.
- A missional church will help people discover and develop their spiritual gifts and will rely on gifted people for ministry instead of talented people.
- A missional church is a healing community where people carry each other’s burdens and help restore gently.
I appreciate these descriptions. But it doesn't help me to grasp what is distinctive about being "missional." My major issue is when those in the conversation suggest that "traditional" churches aren't concerned about these things. I know there are churches that don't. But there are many churches that don't use the term "missional" who seek to live these values out, albeit imperfectly.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The word "Missional" has been adopted by many North American missiologists and theologians. According to Milfred Minnitrea (Shaped by God's Heart), the first person to use the word "missional" was Charles Van Engen (missiology professor at Fuller School of World Mission) who referred to "missional relationships" in 1991. He was followed during the nineties by the contributors from the Gospel in Our Culture Network on the Missional Church, often with a passing reference to Missio Dei and British Lesslie Newbigin. Young Leaders (Pre-EmergentVillage) also used the word missional with an acknowlegement of its roots in Missio Dei.
'Mission Shaped Church' became popular in UK. The book of the same title ties the history of the name to missio dei. Newbigin, btw, did not use the Mission Dei terminology very much but certainly helped in the formation of its thinking and impact on mission in a post-modern, post-Christendom society.
Missio Dei, meaning the Mission of God, was coined by Karl Hartenstein in the 1950's, immediately after and in response to the IMC missions conference at Willingen, Germany. It tapped into the trinitarian emphasis of Barth and Hartenstein in the 1930's and moved the thinking beyond the ecclesiocentrism and individualism of the time. The emphasis was put on God's mission rather than ours - we participate with the Triune God in what he is doing. Jacques Matthey is the unofficial guardian of the Missio Dei concept.
Monday, May 01, 2006
First, a definition of sorts. Since I've just spent a month looking at global (cross-cultural) missions, I think a distinction between missions and missional is needed (from Missional Baptist):
Being very involved in missions (international missions giving, going on short term trips, etc) is not missional. Being mission-minded is not missional. Missional is about incarnational living in our local communities.Over the next month, I hope to find articles that help to develop that idea. Feel free to send links that you've found helpful.
Here are the missional-related articles I posted in 2005:
Being a Missionary in Your Neighborhood
Andy Wildsmith on Being Missional
On Being Incarnational
Missional and Traditional Models Diagrammed
Link to Mission-shaped Church e-book
On Being Missional
Emergent-Missional Versus Evangelistic-Attractional