A missional understanding of the church places us within a historical context. It removes the ticket to heaven pressure that the Western Evangelical Church has placed upon itself. Missional people recognize that God is on the move in our villages, towns and cities. We need to engage with Him in what He's doing. Rather than building big box church warehouses that "vacuum cleaner up all the surrounding Christians" (to paraphrase Al Roxburgh @ the end of the video, Three Churches and a New Age Mall) and calling that the Church, we are to be the leaven that permeates our neighborhoods with the lived out good news of Jesus Christ.I'll highlight other contributions over the next while.
This is not a two-year, three-year, five-year or even ten-year plan. This is a lifetime's engagement with the communities where we have been strategically placed by the hand of God. We may see a great awakening that happens in our very midst - or we may be like David Livingston and Hudson Taylor - who never got to see the incredible harvest that came from the seeds they planted. But our call is to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus as we live amongst the people who are our neighbors. I believe that is what missional is.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
About a month ago, Rick Meigs organized a Missional SynchroBlog. Here's what one of the contributors, Bill Kinnon, had to say:
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Jimmy Davis shares this powerful reminder from Sinclair Ferguson that The Church's Greatest Evangelism Tool Is The Church:
Doesn't Jesus teach us here [John 17:20-23] that His single greatest evangelistic agency is the church? And notice--I think this is significant--not the church simply as a random collection of individuals who have been converted, but the church as a new, counter-cultural community in which the fellowship of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit comes to expression in the unity, and community, and joy, and sense of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ among His people.
That's the reason, you know, in the New Testament there's hardly any instruction whatsoever about how to be a witness. And by contrast, in our evangelism manuals all the emphasis lies on 'How can you as an individual be a witness?' and 'Here are the questions you need to learn to ask.' Now what's that a sign of? That's a sign of the bankruptcy of the church, because when the church is full of the power of the Holy Spirit what happens is what Simon Peter describes in 1 Peter, chapter 3--that you're in a situation that you need to be ready to give an answer for the hope that's in you.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
A while back, Nine Marks Journal had a Pastors' and Theologians' Forum on Church and Culture. Here is part of John Frame's response on The Local Church and Cultural Transformation.
The task of the church is The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), to make disciples, teaching them “to observe all that I have commanded you.” By God’s grace, we train believers in obedience. That obedience inevitably transforms culture, as it has done now for nearly 2000 years. Christians have made huge contributions to learning, the arts and literature, the treatment of women, the abolition of anti-biblical slavery, the care of the poor, the sick, the widows and orphans. Sin, of course, has impeded our mission; but the grace of God working through his people has accomplished amazing things.
Now some have argued that cultural transformation is the work of Christian individuals, but not of the local church. They argue that the latter should be limited to the area of the “spiritual,” the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. But the spiritual/secular distinction is not biblical. The gospel as proclaimed by John (Matt. 3:2), Jesus (Matt. 4:17), Philip (Acts 8:12), and Paul (Acts 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 28:31) announces the coming of the kingdom of God, a new order of righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17). In the kingdom, we do all things (not just “spiritual”) to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31), all things in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17). It is plain that care for the poor, orphans, and widows is part of that.