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Being Missional Matters
by Gary Shavey
an interview with Ed Stetzer
"It is not membership in the sense of some club, it is living in each others lives and "provoking one another to love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24), but also holding one another accountable through care, exhortation, discipline, etc."
"Every planter (and pastor for that matter) needs to ask "what does a Biblically faithful Church look like in this context?" Jude 3 reminds us to "contend for the faith once delivered to the faith" which 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 reminds us to "become all things to all men so that all means possible [we] might save some." It seems that most planters or pastors get excited about "contending" or "contextualizing." I think we need to hold both with equal fervor."
(download Stetzer's talks at the Reform & Resurge 2006 conference here.
1. Breaking the Missional Code - why being missional matters-- how issues of Christology, missiology, and ecclesiology all have to interact within the bounds of scripture to lead a Biblically faithful Church.
2. Understanding Culture - real life examples and providing some tools for missional ministry)
Christian Image Is Everything
by Christopher Castaldo
"As we look at the church, we would do well to consider the kind of image we are reflecting."
"We can improve our reflection of Christ by observing a fourfold routine that entails reading, contemplation, prayer, and witness." (p. 2)
reading - 2 Corinthians 3:18 "... looking at Scripture, which exposes us to the sunlight of God's presence. Divine light causes Christ's image to be indelibly burned into our soul. To the extent that we maintain exposure and welcome his light, idolatry of self and the surrounding culture loses its seductive appeal." (p. 3)
contemplation - "The challenge of contemplation is to take the image of Christ that we behold in Scripture and connect the dots between it and what we observe in the modern context. Sometimes what we see around us will be an accurate reflection of Scripture...—a mother nursing her child, an adult child caring for an elderly parent, a businessman advocating on behalf of the unborn or a poor refugee. These reflections of God's grace should be celebrated and promoted. On other occasions we will observe reflections of idolatry—the dehumanization of women as objects of pleasure, excessive material consumption, college professors asserting an anti-Christian agenda overlaid with a thin veneer of political correctness. Or it may just be the idols fashioned in the factories of our own hearts. Either way, these reflections of evil must be called out and vigorously challenged." (p. 3)
prayer - "Prayer recognizes that we are incapable of advancing God's kingdom without the animating movement of the Holy Spirit—a movement that can't actually be seen with the naked eye; it can, however, be perceived in the context of prayer.... Thankfully, God gives the church faith, and with faith we can pray, and when we pray, God's Spirit infuses into our lives a conspicuous measure of his glory. Such is how God uses prayer to fashion our image." (p. 3-4)
witness - "Even though society is unable to recognize God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ, and our role of reflecting it is inconsistent, there is still hope. For the light of salvation doesn't emerge from darkness but rather proceeds into it. This is the essence of image reflection. Through the church's proclamation and embodiment of the gospel, truth about Christ's kingdom radiates into society. It forcefully advances, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. In this way God displays his victory over idols and provides renewal to the languishing elements of creation. Shattered souls are transformed and eternally captivated by the indescribable beauty of the Creator." (p. 4)
Christians and Culture
by Tim Keller
2. "Christians should be a dynamic counter-culture in the city.... We Christians are called to be an alternate city within every earthly city, an alternate human culture within every human culture, to show how sex, money, and power can be used in non-destructive ways; to show how classes and races who cannot get along outside of Christ can get along in him; and to show how it is possible to produce art that brings hope rather than despair or titillation." (p. 2)
Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: hard lessons from an emerging missional church
by Mark Driscoll
10 Curious Quesions
1. Will your Rev. require reformission?
(reformission - "living in the tension of being culturally liberal yet theologically conservative Christians and churches who are absolutely driven by the gospel of grace to love their Lord, their neighbors, and their fellow Christians.")
2. Will your church be traditional and institutional, contemporary and evangelical, or emerging and missional?
3. Will your church be an emerging liberal church or an emerging evangelical church? (Mars Hill is "emerging and missional in its practice and evangelical and biblical in its theology.")
4. Will you proclaim a gospel of forgiveness, fullfilment, or freedom?
5. Will your church be attractional, missional, or both?
6. What size shoe will your church wear?
7. Will your church have a mission of community or be a community of mission?
8. Will your leaders work from guilt or conviction?
9. Do you have the guts to shoot your dogs? ("Dogs are idiotic ideas, stinky styles, stupid systems, failed facilities, terrible technologies, loser leaders, and pathetic people.")
10. Can you wield a sword and a trowel?
Hospitality: The Invitation to Come, See and Stay
by Wilbur Ellsworth
the loving invitation to investigation and identification
"This seemingly insignificant story in the early ministry of the Lord teaches us how the love of the stranger draws people into the life of "staying with Jesus," of abiding in the place where he lives in the fellowship and joy of the All Holy and Eternal Trinity. These days sincere attempts to evangelize the stranger seem to diminish the nature of biblical triune worship of the church out of a desire to get people to come. We often show them appealing pleasures that are only seductions to draw them to something different. Instead we need to follow our Lord in his "come, see and stay" love for the stranger.
"There are strangers to Christ all around us and he calls us to care about their eternal homelessness. Welcoming the stranger into Christ's home begins with: (1) Asking them what they are seeking; (2) Sharing with them the home you have in the worship of God in the church; and (3) Staying with them for as long as it takes for them to stay in Christ's love."
The Missional Church
by Tim Keller
1. Discourse in the vernacular.
2. Enter and re-tell the culture's stories with the gospel
3. Theologically train lay people for public life and vocation
4. Create Christian community which is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive
5. Practice unity as much as possible on the local level
"These are elements that have to be present in every area of the church. So, for example, what makes a small group 'missional'? A 'missional' small group is not necessarily one which is doing some kind of specific 'evangelism' program (though that is to be recommended). Rather, 1) if its members love and talk positively about the city/neighborhood, 2) if they speak in language that is not filled with pious tribal or technical terms and phrases, nor disdainful and embattled language, 3) if in their Bible study they apply the gospel to the core concerns and stories of the people of the culture, 4) if they are obviously interested in and engaged with the literature and art and thought of the surrounding culture and can discuss it both appreciatively and yet critically, 5) if they exhibit deep concern for the poor and generosity with their money and purity and respect with regard to opposite sex, and show humility toward people of other races and cultures, 6) they do not bash other Christians and churches--then seekers and non-believing people from the city A) will be invited and B) will come and will stay as they explore spiritual issues. If these marks are not there it will only be able to include believers or traditional, 'Christiianized' people." (p. 3)
The Radical Reformission: reaching out without selling out
by Mark Driscoll
(from the conclusion of the book in which Driscoll describes how Mars Hill cultivates a Kingdom culture within Seattle)
Seattle - not likely to go to church, marry, have children, or be responsible.
Mars Hill - convert them and train them to be godly men; "how to study the Bible, get a job, invest money, buy a home, court a woman, brew beer, have good sex, and be a pastor-dad to their children"
S - "live together and sleep together with no plans to get married or have children"; abortion often the only option
MH - premarital process training future husbands and wives in their biblical roles; the marriage covenant is sacred and the marriage bed is sensual; "we speak frankly, but not crassly, about sexuality because if our people do not get their information from the living waters of Scripture, their thrist will compel them to drink from the toilet of pornography and perversion.
S - not valued
MH - "welcomed as a blessing from God because they will ensure reformission continues well into the future"
S - value replaced with that of the marketplace
MH - "We encourage our people to buy their homes with hospitality and ministry in mind so that they have enough space to host Bible studies and parties and to practice reformission evangelism."
S - creativity and the arts is highly valued
MH - also holds in high regard believing beauty to be one of God's attributes; display art in home and church; all-age concert venues; write own worship music; takes aesthetics very seriously
MH - demonstration of faith; "good food, good drink, good friends, and good times filled with laughter stand in contrast to the worry, hurry, and busy of stressed and depressed people who do not trust God."
MH - "claiming Jesus as Lord means that he rules over everything ..."; "theology is intensely practical and connected to how we live every day as we work our jobs, clean our dishes, and brush our teeth to the glory of God."
S - dominated by youth culture
MH - "young people are identified not as adolescents but rather as Christians of whom Christian living is expected."
S - one of least churched in the nation
MH - "every culture and community needs vibrant churches to be the reformission base from which the gospel is taken into the culture."; gives 10% of annual budget to fund church planting among indigenous peoples around the world
(also here are links to Mars Hill's various ministries, community groups, classes, film & theology lectures. Many of their meetings such as "Practical Theology for Women" are recorded and available for download as podcasts.)
Toward A Missional Worldview: Creation, the Imago Dei, and BMWs
by Anthony Bradley
"Missionally oriented Jesus followers, in a sinful and broken world, seek to show, lead, and invite the people they engage into a journey of being changed by God to live wellâhere and nowâruling, developing, and maintaining creation as God intended it (Matt 28: 18-20). Jesus followers, through their marriages, work habits, love for others, use of natural resources, knowledge, passions, worship, etc., display to a lost world (both verbally and relationally) what it means to be intimately united to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 5:16, 1 Pet 2:12)."
"The Bible describes no "sacred/secular" distinction in creation. Running a business, for example, is not "secular." No human activity is religiously neutral. Everything is spiritual. Everything. This includes endeavors ranging from envisaging creative recipes and developing technology, to arranging color on a canvass and, again, creating the 2006, BMW M5."
What Kind of Fruit Does Your Church Produce?
by John Armstrong
"The apostle Paul urged the Christians in Galatia, and therefore us, to "live by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16). He also urged them and us to be "led by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:18). And this way of living is clearly contrasted with "the works of the flesh" (Galatians 5:19). And, by way of even further contrast, we are all to grow in producing "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22). I have been thinking about how this section of Paul's letter relates to the local church, particularly to how we do church." (p. 1)