Archive for ecclesiology
With the different wiring and issues facing the mission-oriented person (MOP) and the business-oriented person (BOP), there are several options for how to be about business as mission (BAM). The first option is to determine that one type of individual and resulting strategy is categorically right and the other is always wrong. There are a host of issues that make this a poor choice, so let’s put this choice aside for now. Second would be to allow that both have merit and each MOP or BOP should find his or her own way. I have seen cases where this has and is happening, but often with poor results. A third option would be for the church to come alongside the MOP or BOP person and resulting proposed strategy and speak into the conversation, process and strategy. This is, I am convinced, a super healthy way to move forward.
If mission belongs to the church, then BAM is a tool or strategy for the church to use. The church is uniquely positioned to be able to work with the MOP to bring some BOP(s) into a collaborative relationship to be able to speak into strategy and process. On the other side of the scale, the church can bring MOP(s) into a consultative relationship with the BOP person being sent out to provide balance and perspective.
The church that is seeking to take rightful ownership of the commission of Christ can as a healthy body help in addressing strategy in a range of areas including resourcing whether it be expertise, legal counsel, capital fund-raising, business plans, missional living coaching, etc. The church is key in seeing the gospel go forward. If she takes ownership of this responsibility, then she should also prepare to work in a range of ways and strategies including BAM.
As this happens, there will be a slew of new questions to address. At the base level, the church will do well to look to answer the question about her role both if and in BAM as a strategy for her people to reach out to those to whom they have been sent.
From the beginning of the church in Acts 2, the gospel went out to the nations. After a short period of time, the believers were scattered and the gospel went again to the nations in Acts 8. Undoubtedly, God’s plan for the nations is essential for the city church. Whether a church is the oldest, most traditional church in the community or the newest church plant, it is part of God’s plan to be about taking the gospel to the nations. The city church is blessed with the calling to take the hope of Christ to its community and beyond.
When considering the scope of the call for the city church as she seeks to live sent, it may prove helpful to have thought about what did and did not happen in Scripture. If God’s desire was only for a small, homogenous group to live in obedience to Him, the Old Testament would have been significantly different. For example, no mention or model would be found in Melchizedek. Neither Ruth nor Rahab would play a special role. The Ninevites would be left to their own devices and certain peril. Other altered stories would have included Balaam, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius.
If His plan was for only a select number from one ethnolinguistic people group in one geographic area to walk in the transforming love of Christ, then the New Testament would be radically altered–even more so than the Old Testament. If God’s desire was not for the nations, then Jesus would have dismissed the woman at the well, the Syro-phoenician woman, the Roman centurion and the thief on the cross. He would not have pointed to a good Samaritan as the hero in the story….
(this is the start of a chapter posted on reproducing churches.com’s discussion of City Church. Check out the whole piece and the other contributions on City Church starting on Sept. 22. They are all worthwhile!)
Over the past several years, I have often been reminded of a simple truth that impacts my perception and responses to others. It has impacted my lifestyle and my missiology. Ultimately, it even impacts my views on ecclessiology. The statement is this:
Lost people have a propensity to act lost.
When I forget this, I can easily be lured into a mission of moralism where I want to help make people be better. With this reality firmly embraced, however, I have a passion to be sent as Jesus was sent.
In London, England with The Upstream Collective, we had a stimulating discussion today about issues of contextualization in churches that are unique to London and many other urban, global centers. Questions were raised about whether or not metaphors, music, language, accents, etc. should be adjusted for the target audience. One of the realities dealt with was the presence of trans-nationals in urban, global centers. Additionally, there are nationals and a plethora of other distinct ethnic groups, etc.
To provide one thought on this discussion, I offer Malcolm Gladwell’s 2004 Ted talk where he shares about the market research of Dr. Howard Moskowitz. His findings on product research include the revolutionary findding that there is not a perfect product, but rather there are a number of perfect products. It seems that we have Dr. Moskowitz to thank for the retail dilemma of which of 13 different Crest toothpaste flavors to choose from. And about as many Colgate offerings, etc.
These findings also, I believe, speak to the numbers of and types of churches and church plants that are necessary to reach the transnationals and different people groups of an urban, global city such as London.
This brief talk has significant implications in both the disciple-making and the church-planting process. Thanks to Larry McCrary, a founder of The Upstream Collective, for alerting me to the video.
To move forward, it is first essential that we identify our Why?, How? and What? Though not the only options, some major options are as follows:
Why? – For glory. But a follow-on that each must wrestle with is whether it is about His glory and/or ours?
How? - Make disciples and/or plant churches. Also may include acts of justice, blogging, writing articles and books, speaking, etc. There is an interesting discussion on this going on at David Fitch’s blog today.
What? – So many options here. Perhaps a point for consideration begins with the video in yesterday’s post.
Are we starting with and maintaining focus on the Why?, the How?, or the What? What are the implications?
In this third installment of interview videos with Michael Frost, he deals with the question of the purpose of the church. Frost proposes a wonderful metaphor of how he believes the church should function.
If you would like to view the previous Frost videos as well as other videos that present ideas important to the church, you may visit or subscribe to the almost an M You Tube channel or feel free to sign on to this blog page for email notifications or the RSS feed.
- “We have to assume now that all mission is cross-cultural.” ~ Alan H
- “It’s not that the church has a mission, but the mission has a church.” ~ Alan Hirsch
- (Speaking about planting churches,) “I’m not even sure what we are trying to do the world wants.” ~ Shawn Lovejoy
- “If you do church to reach church, then you’ll reach somebody else’s Christians.” ~ Hugh Halter
- “The [Christian story] is a peasant’s movement.” ~ Hugh Halter
- “…community has to be the witness now.” ~ Hugh Halter
- “You cannot sell a Christendom approach to a post-Christian world. They are anti-Christian.” ~ Alan Hirsch
- “Go among the people. Don’t assume you know what church looks like.” ~ Alan Hirsch
- “You plant the gospel. You don’t plant churches.” ~ Alan Hirsch
Lately, I have been thinking, studying, and writing a lot on the area of discipleship. Last week I was on my way to be with some church planters in AR. While in route, I stopped for a plate of fried catfish (perhaps this is important when considering being a fisher of men or perhaps I have just missed it the past several years) and to write down this syllogism.
Jesus calls us to be his disciples.
Therefore, I am to be a disciple. And…
He teaches his disciples to be disciple-makers.
Therefore, a disciple makes other disciples.
Two possible outcomes:
I make disciples.
Therefore, I am a disciple.
I don’t make disciples.
Therefore, I am not a disciple.
By extension, if this is the characterization of the disciples that make up the church, then it will be the characterization and evidence of the church. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 should not be descriptive of the church. However, verses 10-17 should be consistent with church.
Hirsch makes a similar argument in his upcoming book, Untamed, and in “No Disciples, No Mission,” a post on the Catalyst site. Not only is this a worthwhile read, it merits serious consideration and reevaluation.
Before wrapping up this post, I would like to encourage those who may attend the churchplanters.com conference this February 22-23 in the Atlanta area to consider participating in the pre-conference event with Alan Hirsch and the founders of The Upstream Collective. The event will deal with Lessons from Post-Christian Cultures. Like other Hirsch talks and Upstream events in the past, I am sure this will be insightful and thought-provoking.
Yesterday’s post had part 1 of this conversation. It is really good video. Part 2 here is worthwhile, but part 3 is essential. For 3 to make sense, best to do 2 first. After the second portion, it appears that Stetzer & Fitch agreed (even requested) to have the camera turned back on in order to communicate some things very important to both of them. Very worthwhile.
Above Ed and Dave provide their perspectives on whether mega churches can be missional. A lively and fun discussion.
After a few minute break whilst shooting the conversation (see end of Part II “…you’re wearing us out” then laughter), Dave and Ed came back with some final thoughts on the importance of the church telling a new missional story.
This missional conversation between Ed Stetzer and David Fitch treats the meaning (and growing lack of meaning) of the term missional and what that means for church. Many thanks to Bill Kinnon for making this and other quality videos available.
Produced by Toronto’s mkpl.tv for the blog kinnon.tv and the new social network, Missional Tribe, this video features Ed and Dave in conversation about what missional is, missional vs attractional and missional church & converts. Engaging, funny and yet serious, these two well known writers and missional commentators help expand our understanding of missional.