At our recent conference of September 2014, Adrian McCartney (below) spoke of the challenge of a mission shaped life. Below is a summary of his musings:
A challenge to a mission-shaped lifestyle
“The true test of any community is not how it looks after itself or its own members but how it looks after its minorities and those who don’t yet belong”
Mission does not come as a good idea from God, it is deeply part of his nature:
- Gen 1 and John 1
- In the beginning God created….
- The Spirit of God hovered over the waters…
- The Word was with God and the Word was God…through Him all things were created –
The nature of God is revealed as the one who creates more like himself, who desires to extend his community. “Let us make more in our image.”
He is subsequently revealed to us as the redeeming God, who longs draw back into the family those who have drifted away:
- “So the Word became human and made his home among us.”
- “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
- “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.” John 1:14
Lost sheep, lost coin, lost son – the three stories reflecting the nature and heart of the trinity.
Think of one thing that your church could change to be more incarnational, to be more like the culture in which it finds itself.
A model of thinking that reflects a Christendom age:
Theology – Ecclesiology – Missiology
We understand God, then we organise the church, then we see what we can do to draw others into it.
In a post-Christendom missional context we have to reverse the order
Theology – Missiology – Ecclesiology
We understand God, we understand his call to go, the church is the result rather than the starting point.
Our normal strategy is to build bridges from the church into the community. We cross it with bait to entice people back across the bridge.
What if we find ourselves in a context where the bait no longer works and people cannot cross back with us? Can we imagine crossing the bridge and then blowing it up so we live the gospel on their side of the bridge without the possibility of escape back to our security?
Imagine a group of people (geographical or cultural) who have not so far responded easily to the church. If you crossed the bridge to them with no agenda to get them to cross back over with you, what might the new community of faith look like on the other side?
Luke 10: 1-12
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two …
3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves … VULNERABILITY AND WEAKNESS – our secret weapons.
4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals … LACK OF RESOURCES IS NOT AN OBSTACLE
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you … TAKE THE RISK OF DEPENDING ON THEIR WELCOME AND HOSPITALITY
Imagine a project you could start and sustain that only requires three committed people and their resources.
God’s plan is not simply to use one group or congregation of believers over another one. His plan is always the network of believers in a town or region (e.g. Ephesus or Corinth). How about doing something that changes this from an idea into a reality .
What could my church do to bless someone else’s church?
- Buy them a tank of oil
- Visit them on a Sunday and pray for them
- Send them a musician
- Contribute to clearing a debt
- Share a lawnmower