Monday, July 24, 2006

"The Shaping of Things to Come" - 2

Frost & Hirsch describe 3 pillars of the missional church, the first of which is an ecclesiology that's incarnational, not attractional. They go on to suggest five characteristics or implications of such an "incarnational" methodology (p.37-40):

1) "...provides us with the missional means by which the gospel can become a genuine part of a people group without damaging the innate cultural frameworks that provide that people group with a sense of meaning and history."
2) "...we will need to identify with [people groups] in all ways possible without compromising the truth of the gospel itself."
3) "...a real and abiding incarnational presence among a group of people." (i.e. locality & identification)
4) "...a sending impulse rather than an extractional one."
5) "...people will get to experience Jesus on the inside of their culture (meaning systems) and their lives because of our embodying the gospel..."

In Mt 8 a scribe tells Jesus he'll follow the Rabbi wherever He goes. Jesus replies, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

So here are my questions:
1) Should we ever build a church building? Would such a building qualify as a place to lay our communal "head"? What are the pros & cons of having a facility dedicated to "church life"?
2) How does building indigenous Christianity speak to cultural diversity? The Apostle Paul says we've been given the "ministry of reconciliation". If the church becomes fully indigenous & carefully avoids "damaging innate cultural frameworks", how do we shape culture in radical ways? Isn't there an element of separation... even in culture? Jesus challenged all kinds of cultural frameworks, right?
3) What if a culture is, in itself, evil? How would that scenario fit with people experiencing Jesus "on the inside of their culture"?

"Shaping of Things to Come" - 1


Mike said...

Here is a previous post of mine that I think speaks a bit to some of this. The article I mention is interesting. I will post more thoughts later.

Missional Church in suburbia???

What would a missional church look like in suburbia?

Phil Parshall is well known for his C1-C6 contextualisation spectrum and its application to an Islamic context. However what would it mean for us to think in those terms for western communities?

Use the link below to be re-directed to a great articl titled C1-C6 in Suburbia by Andrew Hamilton.

Andrew Hamilton is the FORGE Director in Western Australia . He is involved in the planting and developing of a new missional community in Brighton ( Perth ). He was formerly senior pastor at Lesmurdie Baptist Church in Perth.

Let me know what you think!!

Mike said...

I am going to be preaching on some of this Sunday! It should be up next week some time at - sermon audio.

Mike said...

In Rob Bells book Velvet Elvis he suggest that we should start calling missionaries tour guides. His point is that God is already at work in a community or people group. It is simply our job to point him out.

To say that we are bringing Jesus to a lost community or people group is to suppose that we have Jesus and need to carry him to them. If you ask me he could get really heavy. God is present everywhere not mater the community or people group. He is present at the very least in his creation, no matter how evil the culture.

It seems to me that there has got to be a way to share Jesus within a culture, no matter how evil, using that cultures images, vocabulary, traditions, etc. It is just is a question of degree of difficulty.

John Lynch said...

I just bought Rob's book (Velvet Elvis) & am even more excited to read it after your comment, Mike.

I read Andrew Hamilton's article (HERE)
on contextualization levels, & felt that while Parshall's C1-C6 model might leave a number of contextualization options & stages out, the C4 description captured some essential characteristics of the incarnational approach of Frost & Hirsch.

More impactful than the parallel between "C4" & "emergence" for me, however, is FORGE's model of missional training (HERE). One particular statement really grabbed my attention: "People cannot learn mission removed from the context of mission. The same applies to leadership and ministry. Therefore the vast majority of the learning and training must take place in the organic context of the intern’s workplace or mission setting. Furthermore different leadership styles will emerge from different mission contexts. Context is everything."

So Mike (& Kim)... where is the target community in Denver your hearts are aiming at? Is it the neighborhoods around your house or somehwere else? And in the spirit of Rob's "tour guide" challenge & FORGE's contextual learning challenge... what would you say God's already doing in that context? And what approaches do you see that need to be learned or embraced to truly connect to those people?

(I'm eager to hear your message! Al & I are leaving for a 9 day vacation Friday... so I'll hear it after we return.)

ALSO... (purely as an issue of dreaming)... Would you be interested in getting a small-business loan & starting a business together (you & me) in that target community? Any idea on what kind of industry locals would appreciate? I hate to be stereotypical... but what about a coffee-wine-beer / art / free-wireless / hang-out cafe thing?

hockerfamily said...

I think some might be unfairly blaming the building for the problems that plague Christianity. The church body has been trained for years to be consumers of Christianity… returning each Sunday to be refueled. To throw away the building would be reactionary and not addressing the real issue. Maybe the solution is to redefine the purpose of the building and to reduce its value in the life of a Christian. Emphasizing the importance of a body of believers and not the four walls we’ve come to know as ‘church’. There is great value in Christian community, and the building is a great place to accomplish this. Of course too much of a good thing can be bad; so we need to push our body into our surrounding community, encourage them to build relationships with their neighbors.

John Lynch said...

I like your thoughts, Brad. And I think I challenge what you say about the church building being a good place to accomplish community. Do you think real community happens in a church building? I'm interested in hearing how you define community?

hockerfamily said...

In retrospect I see that ‘accomplish’ was too strong of a verb. Perhaps ‘initiate’ or ‘begin’ Christian community would have been more appropriate. For Christian’s the Church is a great place to meet and interact with fellow Christians. Working together this community can accomplish great things and impact the world.

Realize that I was referring to the Christian community. This is not the only type of community we would be interacting with. We need to go beyond our little comfortable community and break into our local and global communities.

While the Christian community has been notoriously bad at establishing greater community as of late, I do not see this as a reason to abandon the church building but work harder to get our people out of the building and into the world.