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Archive for the ‘Missional Living’ Category

‘This is the mark of an immature church: it’s all about me and not about [those who don’t know Jesus].’ – Mark Driscoll

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Earlier this week, I was part of the Velocity Conference in Atlanta – here are some notes from Alan Hirsch’s session on ‘Missional Velocity’:

  • Missional is not just another cute buzz word–it changes everything about how we do church.
  • All communication of the gospel in the west is cross-cultural. We have to become cross-cultural missionaries.
  • Attractional churches work well to reach people who are not too far removed (culturally). When people get further away–it doesn’t work as well. Why? Because we are asking the individual to do the cross-cultural translation to come into the church (rather than us going to them).
  • Huge survey in Australia on people’s perception of…
    • God = HIGH marks
    • Jesus = HIGH marks
    • Spirituality = HIGH marks
    • Church = VERY LOW marks
  • The good news is that people give VERY high marks on God, Jesus and Spirituality. That is good news for us.
  • What has to change? The CHURCH as the delivery mechanism for the gospel MUST CHANGE.
  • The problem–90%+ of churches are trying to follow the contemporary, church-growth, attractional model that…at best…will only reach 40% of Americans.
  • The problems of the church cannot be solved by doing the same thing that got us into those problems.
  • The church that Jesus designed was meant for advance and attack–not defense!
  • Keep doing attractional. It works for 40%. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and. I’m interested in finding the AND!
  • Mission precedes the church. You do mission. The church is something that happens out of mission.
  • You plant the gospel. You don’t plant churches.

HT: Tim Stevens

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From Tim Chester over in the UK:

I recently put together some thoughts on ‘missional business’ arising out of discussions we have been having in [our church] …

Missional Business Vision

1. We like business
We like business. We believe business blesses the city by creating employment, providing services, generating tax revenue and resourcing mission. We want our network to have a culture in which business is affirmed and entrepreneurs are encouraged.

2. We like business people
We like business people. We want business people interested in Jesus to feel welcome and affirmed within our church communities. We want this to be reflected in our strategies, our application of the Bible, our prayers, the people we interview in meetings, what we celebrate and our talk illustrations. We do not want to warn against the dangers of wealth in a way that portrays business negatively, nor do we want to affirm the service professions in a way that business people find excluding.

3. Money is also mammon
We recognise that money is also mammon, a rival to God for our affections and a threat to our relationships. So we believe Christian business people need to be accountable to their church community for the way they generate wealth and the use to which they put it. We want people to be generous, avoiding excessive expenditure.

4. Free to rest
Work can be a way of finding worth, identity, fulfilment and security apart for God – an attitude that often leads to overwork. Our faith in Christ’s finished work of justification means we do not need to prove ourselves through work or business success. Our faith in God’s goodness means we do not need wealth to find fulfilment. Our faith in God’s fatherly care means we do not need to worry about our needs. So rest or sabbath is a sign and celebration of God’s provision.

5. Cultural profit
We believe the gospel shapes the methods of business. So we want a ‘cultural profit’ in which our products, our employment and management practices, the design of our premises, the conduct of our meetings all shape and renew the wider culture as well as pointing to the gospel message. Being in business gives us the opportunity to exercise authority in a way that reflects the liberating and life-enhancing rule of God. We will treat employees, customers and suppliers as partners. We will ensure our activities confirm with legal requirements and relevant codes of conducts. We will ensure our businesses bless the neighbourhood in which they operate and do not harm creation.

6. Gospel-shaped goals
We believe the gospel shapes the goal of business. Growing a business is not an end in itself, whether for power, prestige or prosperity. We believe Christian business people should commit their business to one or more of the following missional business models …

Missional Business Models

1. Lifestyle business
Developing a business to support a missional lifestyle. This might involve earning sufficient income in four days a week to release time for mission or working in a role that creates evangelistic opportunities.

2. Income generation
Developing a business to generate income to support church planting.

3. Economic and social renewal
Developing a business to bless the city by creating employment, providing services, generating tax revenue and facilitating the establishment of new companies.

All three of these models can be combined to some extent. But some people will opt for one instead of another. They may, for example, not invest as much time as they could to maximise income (model #2) so they have time for church planting (model #1).

Networking for Missional Business

The following are ideas for supporting the establishment and development of businesses within a church network.

1. A mentoring scheme
linking new entrepreneurs with experienced business people to help develop business plans, access resources, generate ideas and solve issues

2. A business club
business people meeting regularly for peer support and gospel accountability

3. Investment
linking investors with missional business opportunities

4. An investment fund
pooling savings to create an investment fund for missional businesses around the world

5. A holding company
creating a central company to create economies of scale for administration and legal compliance

6. A skills bank
providing free or low-cost start-up support (accountancy, business advise, design) plus a database of government and other resources for new businesses

7. Training
providing training in the vision and practice of missional business

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Asking (most) people to come with us to church is an unrealistic expectation:

Church is where we feel safe and comfortable. Church is where non-Christians feel embarassed and awkward. We offer people the gospel, but on our terms and on our territory. Put like this, it becomes clear that we must take the gospel – and indeed the church – out of our ghetto and into the world around us.

Steve Timmis and Tim Chester, The Gospel-Centred Church, 24-25.

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More from Timmis and Chester:

Think about the contexts in which you rub shoulders with unbelievers. What is the distinctive gospel behavior that should characterize your relationships?

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From The Gospel-Centred Church by Chester and Timmis:

We are not all gifted, eloquent, vivacious, engaging personal evangelists. But we are all children of God, saved by grace and heading for glory. Commending the One who has adopted, rescued and enriched us is an enormous privilege. This is the heart of God’s plan for me to bear a credible witness to the gospel in whatever context I find myself. The source of this consistent and believable witness is the sense of being gob-smacked by grace. Gripped by grace to the extent that it infuses our hearts and transforms our lives. This grace will also nurture within us a love for those who, in the words of Jonah, have ‘forsaken the grace that could be theirs.’

Loving God to the extent that we want to make His truth winsome, and loving others to the extent that we want them to know the God of truth is not the exclusive prerogative of preachers, evangelists and missionaries.

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From Ben Connelly – talking about the recent Verge conference:

Here’s the point: “missional community” is not a “model” at all. It’s not a church structure. If it is, then it’s just another program, which it was very clear nobody wanted at the conference. If it’s not a model of church, what is it? It’s deeper than that: it’s a lifestyle.

Living as a community on mission is not a weekly event; it’s an everyday activity. It doesn’t start from a pastor preaching it to his church; it starts as individuals start to live it out and others catch on. It doesn’t mean that a church has to “blow up” its small group program; it means that we train our leaders what it looks like to live on everyday mission, and to see disciples being made.

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