For the next several days I plan to share parts of my document. Today's post concerns need, current models and a new proposal.
What does the word 'missional' mean? There are probably several concepts of that word, and I haven't discovered them all yet. Most any article you will read introducing the concept of the missional movement begins by saying, "The latest rage in the church is 'becoming missional,' but many people have little idea what being missional is." While this may be true, I promise not to begin a discussion by pointing out the failures of those trying to learn it as they go. My church pops up on a google search as a "missional church" in the Salem area but it's not yet "missional" as I have now learned that word to mean. The story was the same in other churches. About six months ago I spent some time visiting other churches in this city looking for a MC. I asked pastors if they had ever heard the word "Missional Community" before and they had not heard the term. In fact no one except I believe two people who attend my church had heard of it.
Reading below, please keep in mind I wrote it before hearing about Missional Communities (MCs) and what MCs mean by "missional". Formerly, the best idea of what "missional" meant I defined as "Doing church off church campus." You can see in what I wrote, I just dismissed this idea of "missional" didn't I? (lol) I didn't want just another method, but more of a mindset; a sense of identity out of the Word of God that affected my whole way of life.
Since discovering MCs I've picked up the word 'missional' again. Now it means a whole lot more than what I thought I understood. Some of those facets are described to the best of my ability in the next few days here on this blog. I am still learning as you can see, what "being missional" is. We can learn together. Please don't think this is about me and my brilliant thinking. It's not! It's about the Holy Spirit speaking the same thing to many believers in many places of the world. I trust the scriptures to speak to you even if you don't feel led to embrace a "movement." I want to illustrate God's heart to perform His purposes according to scripture. From the document....
(an older draft from last year)
“Do you really think we can make a difference in this city? After all we ARE just kids,” my daughter Grace asked in her script for their presentation of “God of this City” in kids' worship. How can we touch this city for the Kingdom? Christians want to make disciples, but do not know where to start. Oftentimes they rely on the church to begin a ministry to the community.
(a newer draft)
Do you see people outside walking by the windows while you sit in church Sunday mornings? Ever wonder about them? They're not on my "high five" card because I don't know them. Does any Christian know them? What if they would come to church or believe in Jesus if some would pray and obey as the LORD promises to send us out as workers in the harvest? Are we waiting for opportunities the church gives, or do we make opportunities by seeking God individually? We embrace our Pastor whose heart is, "If you call me to Salem, we are going after the lost." It's not a Pastor's responsibility to transform us; each must choose to submit themself to the Holy Spirit. "Only 5% of Christians lead just one person to faith in Christ in their entire lifetime.” What should we do? Right now, I think about that and experience immediate spiritual warfare over how I've spent the last six months. How about you?
There are two common models for making disciples. One is the “attractional model.” This model's objective is to lower boundaries and invite those who feel like “outsiders” into church where they will receive the gospel. Examples would be AWANA, Women's bible study, First Bikers, the footwear fashion show, etc. These are excellent at making disciples and they bear fruit, but they are limited to those who feel comfortable ultimately coming in to church. Another model which is rapidly growing in popularity is called the “missional model.” Under this model, disciple makers have church services in unconventional areas such as nursing homes or coffee shops or construction sites. This is an exciting means of touching the city for the Kingdom, since it puts Christians in the midst of the unchurched. The weakness of this model is that it is difficult to do all that church does, all that the scriptures teach us to do, in an unconventional place. It still requires in essence, paid staff, a worship team, and a prepared location that is inviting.
Both the “attractional” and the “missional” model are successful in accomplishing the commission Christ gave. This proposal is to compliment them. The solution suggested in this proposal is to knit together willing believers interested in making disciples regardless of their location. This kind of disciple making will not come under the guise of services and programs to better the community, or a draw of entertainment, or a focus of ministering to a specific demographic, or a draw of short term missions to foreign places or even local ones. This is a transformational maturing of likeminded believers to make disciples no matter where they are or what they do. Christians need not go someplace to be a missionary, though they are welcome to do so. Disciple making is for wherever we already are. “Let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called” (1 Cor. 7:24). Slaves for instance did not need to exit slavery in order to have won converts in their day; converts may be made wherever believers most commonly dwell, work, and play.
Scripture & Philosophy
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations...” (Eph 3:20-21). “...Speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head— Christ--from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph 4:15-16). The heart of transformation and “knitting together” this ministry will provide for making disciple makers has four elements....
(more to come)