Mission

missional; anything less is not biblical

What is the church? To provide part of the answer, I’d like to break-down this paragraph from Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, published by Eerdmans.

Here is the full paragraph:

Missional communities are called to represent the compassion, justice, and peace of the reign of God. The distinctive characteristic of such communities is that the Holy Spirit creates and sustains them. Their identity (who they are), their character (how they are), their motivation (why they are), and their vocation (what they do) are theological, and thus missional. That is, they are not formed solely by human intentions and efforts, individual or collective, but instead by God’s empowering presence. Through this power of the Holy Spirit a “people sent” are cultivated through the practices by which they are formed, trained, equipped, and motivated as missional communities.

Break-Down

Missional communities are called to represent the compassion, justice, and peace of the reign of God.

We have made Christianity and the Church to be mostly about the salvation of individuals, something contained in a “penal” expression of salvation, rather than the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe.

The distinctive characteristic of such communities is that the Holy Spirit creates and sustains them. Their identity (who they are),

We see ourselves (the church) not primarily as a “sent people” but as a “called out” people. It kind of reminds me of the OT Israelites who came to view their “chosen-ness” as something special for them and not for the peoples around them (cf Gen 3:15).

their character (how they are),

Do we see ourselves as “better than the world” or primarily as “redeemed by Christ?” Yes, God calls for holiness, but is it a holiness from ourselves or from God? My church tribe talks a lot about how it is all from God – “Who is doing the verbs?” and other such questions – yet we so quickly fall into a legalistic shell of spirituality, as exemplified by such statements as, “Well, the divorce rate among Christians is the same as that of the world.” It’s tragic that it’s true, but does it make God’s holiness less holy when bestowed by grace upon God’s people? It seems to me we strike our identity far more by “how we are” than upon “who’s we are.”

their motivation (why they are),

Now we’re getting the heart of the matter. Does the church see itself as something that is primarily “for Christians” or “for the world?” Please, let’s be honest! Our actions and attitudes SCREAM that it’s all about Christians. And the world? Well, okay, it’s for the world internationally and locally, well, we do “outreach” don’t we? Come on! It’s not our fault if they don’t want to come be with us!

and their vocation (what they do)

See above paragraph.

are theological, and thus missional.

A “missional” church is not some anomaly, biblically speaking. It’s what God through the scriptures calls us to be. Being “missional” is not like “missiology” in our seminary – an applied discipline rather than at the heart of our biblical theology – rather, being “missional” is being God’s people are called for through the scriptures. Anything less is less than biblical Christian community.

That is, they are not formed solely by human intentions and efforts, individual or collective, but instead by God’s empowering presence. Through this power of the Holy Spirit a “people sent” are cultivated through the practices by which they are formed, trained, equipped, and motivated as missional communities.

Whew! God the Spirit, we need your fresh wind—ruach (Hebrew word for God’s Spirit)—to blow upon us again to help us be the people you call us to be, and from than, to do the good works which you have already ordained for us to do. Amen.

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