Thursday, August 10, 2006

Missional Church DNA

What does it look like to create church where it does not exist? What makes a missional church?

In the post "Shaping of Things to Come" - 3 from John we see the three aspects of what Forst and Hirsch are saying makes the missional church different from traditional church. SOOOOO the question comes to my mind:

How do we live those things out in a practical on the ground kind of way?

In dialoging with some incredible guys in my area from the missio ministry (www.missio.us) I have heard some awesome ideas. There are three priorities that I want to be the foundational DNA of any missional community I am a part of. They are:

1. Engaging Culture
2. Living life together
3. Growing Spiritually

I think if we actively engage in those priorities we will be incarnational, Holistic, and Missional. So lets take a moment and look at each of these in a bit more detail:

1. Engaging Culture-
This is where incarnational really takes on it's meat. We will engage those around us in loving relationship and love them as Christ loves, with out strings. This should flow naturally from each of our lives as we live out our passion for Christ allowing God to use our likes, passions, and personalities to develop relationships with the non-followers around us.

2. Living life together-
This is true community. A "Do you have any eggs?" life friend. These people have refrigerator rights... they know were the food, plates, forks etc. are and help themselves. This can't happen overnight and demands proximity. To live 30 - 40 minutes away and try to spend the time together needed to "Live life together" is nearly impossible. Just for logistical reasons.

3. Growing Spiritually-
I like how Forst and Hirsch have said that if no faith community comes from our engaging culture can we really say we are building the church? Growing spiritually is always a needed priority of a church. Otherwise there really is no church. Notice what I did not say. I didn't say bible study, or discussion series. To often I think we program the spirit out of our Spiritual development. On the other end of the spectrum, who are we kidding if we think their could be spiritual growth with out God's word. ? It will always be the ultimate authority in faith and in life!

Thread: Values

8 comments:

John Lynch said...

I like your post a lot, Mike. I can see how living that is ...

1) Spiritually Formative,
2) Incarnational, &
3) Communal ...

... is key, key, key to a faith-community's pre-conception plan & post-birth practice.

Do you think those 3 might also parallel the 1) Faith, 2) Hope, 3) Love triad so frequently mentioned in the NT? It seems spiritual formation is about FAITH, incarnation is about HOPE for transformation, & community is about LOVE.

I wonder, also, if the 3 dysfunctions of what is commonly thought of as "church" (noted in "Shaping... 3") also bear a parallel in contrast ...

1) Separated dualism blocks SPIRITUAL FORMATION & limits the practice of FAITH;
2) An attractional or extractional ministry philosophy ignores INCARNATION & reflects a lack of HOPE for the "otherness" of others;
3) And a hierarchical approach to organization squeezes the mutuality out of COMMUNITY while substituting real LOVE with programmed substitutes.

What do you think? Is this legit or am I reaching?

Mike said...

I like your thouthgs on Faith Hope and love. It may be a bit of a reach but a good one. I do think that:

1. Faith is key to Spiritual formation
2. Hope is key to incarnation and...
3. Love is key to Community

I was also thiniking about Acts 2 and all the parallels there. More thoughts on that later as I have time to study it more.

Kim said...

Great post and comments Mike and John.

I would like to venture off "the bench" and really start thinking and praying about my involvement in this whole thing. It's been very comfortable in my little place of isolation.

So, here are my thoughts.
As I think about Mike's definition of engaging culture, as it "should flow naturally from each of our lives as we live out our passion for Christ allowing God to use our likes, passions, and personalities to develop relationships with the non-followers around us," I'm in trouble! My Christian bubble has created a lovely place of intollerance, judgement and indifference to those around me who don't share my passions and priorities. It seems that the more I pursue those passions and priorities, the worse it gets. I am realizing that this mentality is how we have come to know evengelism as "project love" which fits very well with attractional ministry. How could we be so far from Christ's example? Can a person's worldliness (is that a word?) become a bridge through which I can demonstrate God's love, instead of a barrier? My experience tells me "no" but my heart tells me "yes." Isn't this what Christ modeled to us?
This is where I see the vitality of community. Common ground builds a bridge to intimate and spiritual connection. Could something as simple and innocent as your neighbor helping herself to a snack in your kitchen, lead to an intimate connection through which salvation is found? Yes, common ground is what connects all of us as human beings. Through the connection of those basic needs, God brilliantly and wonderfully reveals himself regardless of belief, sin or righteousness.

There are may dots left to be connected for me. Mike, thanks for the gift of faith as you trust God for His leading and provision. I will follow! (Sometimes I might protest.)

Kim

Mike said...

Do I have a great wife or what! I think it is going to be a bit dificult for the both of us to burst our Christiandom bubble if we want to really engage culture.

One other insight she had that she did not blog was about Hope. She reminded me about 1 Peter 3:15 that says: "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to give an account to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence"

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts
Spiritual Formation

Give and account for the hope... Everyone who asks:
Incarnation

With gentleness and reverence
Community

John Lynch said...

Awesome! Way to jump into these open-hearted & open-minded discussions, Kim! Thanks for your wisdom & authentic passion.

In considering what you guys have raised, Aleta & I are going to join a Willow Creek Community Church seeker small group just to taste how they join 1) spiritual formation, 2) incarnational interaction, 3) & real community in that context. It's far from our growing vision, but seems like a helpful step in the equipping process.

I'm also going to begin attempting to connect 3 nonnbelieving friends & 1 or 2 believing friends to each other in some group interactions (poker, movies, dinner, etc.) I've never done that before, so I'm eager to see how it takes shape!

"Here's to breaking the bubble! Cheers, mates."

Mike said...

Cheers BRO! I Pray it all goes well and rocks your world and theirs!

Mike

John Lynch said...

Hey Mike -

I just noticed that the "Gather, Grow, Go" pattern in my August 28 post is parallel to your "Communal, Spiritually Formative, Engaging Culture" triad.

Hmmmmmmm!

Makeesha said...

Great stuff. Mike, I noticed you're in Colorado :) Me too. Where are you pastoring?