“Being missional means moving intentionally beyond our church preferences, making missional decisions rather than preferential decisions.” ― Ed Stetzer,
I have known Mary DeMuth for some time now, as she and her husband Patrick were missionaries in France with the organization I led – Communitas International, formerly Christian Associates. She is a prolific writer, mentor and nationally sought after speaker. She asked if I would spend a bit of time talking about the transitions I’ve had going from a local church leader to the CEO of an international mission and then back to the local church as a planter. I unpacked some of the micro-conversions I have had from inside of the faith. It was a blast to chat with her.
I have long felt like my calling in life has been to help change the mind of the church. Jesus made it clear that he came to proclaim the good news that the Kingdom of God was near. The imperatives related to this declaration were for his followers to believe and repent (Mark 1). Repentance, while it means many things, at its simplest, most rendered definition it means to change one’s mind. I believe that is what the church in the West must do – change its mind regarding its identity.
Do you wear skinny jeans or pleated pants?
Kind of a funny question, but those are the metaphors theologian Scot McKnight uses to describe two prevailing and popular views of the Kingdom of God in his book, Kingdom Conspiracy. The first view, skinny jeans, predictably represents a more current approach that frontloads public sector social justice activism, while often times bypassing the church. He writes, “Kingdom means good deeds done by good people (Christian or not) in the public sector for the common good.” (p.4) The second picture is, again predictably, a perspective that is more represented in “traditional” Christianity. He describes this group’s view by saying, “…the Kingdom is both present and future, and the kingdom is both a rule and reign.” (p. 9)
Over the last couple of months I’ve had the privilege of reading the book “Prodigal Christianity” with a group of my friends here in Spokane. All of them are good thinkers and we had a wonderful time processing the ideas by Dave Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw.
I believe that there is a direct correlation between how a church
spends its money and its effectiveness in engaging the world. If the church
spends all its money on itself (I mean using it to run the “show” – I would
include staff, building, etc. in this), there's a pretty good chance that it's
going to be stalled out as far as growth is concerned. I am shocked (although,
I shouldn’t be) by how most churches use their money. Seriously, many churches
feel like it is a herculean achievement to allocate 10% of their money outside
of the building and its members.
Here is an interview I did for an organization called, The Aqueduct Project. I am answering questions about the challenges of mission work in western culture. There is a part 2 coming, but thought this first installment might prove helpful for many of you.
does it mean to be a missional community of faith? There is much talk about what that is, what it looks like
and how it works. Newbigin (one of
the true forerunners of the current movement) identifies six characteristics of
a missional community:
Another insightful post by guest blogger, Julie Jones. Julie is a collegue of mine at Christian Associates. She and her husband, Darrin have ministered in Orange County, CA, France and Morroco and currently live in the Bay area. They both are remarkable people.
I was in the great city of Chicago this last week. While I got the chance to see a large swath of the city, I spenta good share of my time in a region called Bronzeville (southside of the city). When the Great Migration brought African Americans from the South to jobs in the North early in the last century, many found their way to this area of Chicago. It was the greenhouse for greats like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Lou Rawls, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis and countless others. It is crazy how many cultural greats have emerged from this area. Today, at least in part, Bronzeville can be described by terms like high unemployment and poverty, urban violence, and population density.