March 31, 2006

The Missional Church, part 1

By request, I thought I’d go ahead and sort of re-explain what we’re doing here in Melbourne. It’s not an easy question to answer, particularly because it’s such a shift in the traditional way of thinking that explaining it requires one to completely reevaluate their concept of God, of church, and of the very way they live. It took me two years to wrap my mind around it, and most of the time I still think that I’m not really there yet; but I believe in it – in how God is using it – enough to move this far around the world to try it.

So – the missional church.

The missional church is the continuation of a story, a story that has been unfolding for thousands of years. It started when God created the world, made people, and they rebelled. Then God chose a few of them to be his chosen group, and they rebelled. It got so bad that God had to come to earth personally (Jesus) and set up a new deal so that he could rectify his holiness with his compassion. It was bad enough that God had to die – but then he rose again. Then he created the church, his name for all the people that decided to get to know him. Over the next two thousand years, he did all sorts of things with this church, and it did all sorts of things with the world, good and bad.

Which brings us to now.

Today, lots of people seem to have different ideas about the way life works. In an age where it’s easier to communicate than it is to find a job, the problem is that nobody seems to: we talk a lot, and don’t say much. Consequently, people really want to feel close to one another; it’s like they’re relationally starved.

The missional church is simply the unfolding of the first-century church in modern (or, to label it, “postmodern”) culture. It lives the principles Jesus taught and seeks to mimic the heart of God in the culture of today. It is a relational church, and instead of trying to convert people, it chooses to inspire them to seek truth (the logic being, since God IS truth, if people seek Him, then they’ll find Him).

It is an experiential church in response to an experiential culture. No longer do people simply want straight answers, but rather, they wish to experience God for themselves. Instead of providing answers, the missional church tries to provoke questions (and questioning).

Other words to describe the missional church:

Actions before words
Social Justice
Outside the box
Values balance

So now, ask me questions. The best way to learn about something is to experience it for yourself, but frankly, my writing is meant to provoke those questions that lead you to experience. So: if I can answer any questions for you, please, fire away.


cylec said...

Do you regularly share the gospel, how to be saved, with people?

Jon said...

Sounds intriguing...I've known people who live out this sort of thing, well, naturally...without trying to be missional, and I've admired them.

the danger I see is a sort of pride that can creep in - like "we're doing ministry better than they are". The safest thing is never take yourselves too seriously, I think...