Monday, January 17, 2011

MissionSHIFT: Discussion

I was asked to take part in a blog discussion put on by Ed Stetzer of Lifeway. For those who may not know, I am on staff of a church plant. My responsibilities include the “missional” ministries. I am thankful that a discussion is being on missions in the next generation.
In the first essay, Charles Van Engen gives his view of a definition and description of mission. It is as follows
* Contextual: A missional church understands itself as part of a larger context of lost and broken world so loved by God.
*Intentional: A missional church understands itself as existing for the purpose of "following Christ in mission."
*Proclaiming: A missional church understands itself as intentionally sent by God in mission to announce in word and deed the coming of the kingdom of God in Christ.
*Reconciling: A missional church understands itself to be a reconciling and healing presence in its context, locally and globally.
Sanctifying: A missional church understands itself as a faith community gathered around the proclamation (my word) of the Word, thus personally living out its truth and serving as a purifying influence to society.
*Unifying: A missional church understands itself as embracing, enfolding, gathering community of faith, anxious to recieve people into fellowship.
Transforming: A missional church is "the salt of the earth," a transforming presence as the body of Christ in mission called to be, embody, and live out in the world the following biblical concepts of mission, among others: koinonia, kerygma, diakonia, martyria, prophet, priest king, liberator, healer, sage."

I love that in the course of the essay he addresses the core of missional living/missions as having the idea of “sent ones”. The history of missions lends itself to the professionalization of missions. It focuses churches and organization as sending individuals with others supporting b y finances and prayer. This has led to the view that “missions” is something only for a few select.
As I look at missions/missional living I understand that we all who choose to follow Christ are “sent ones. If we apply his definition to this paradigm of all being sent, we can then begin to see missions begin to take off. There will no doubt be those who we send and support, but we must realize that this process does not alleviate us from our responsibility in the process of missions.
This first section has been helpful to me as I continue to struggle with putting together a “missional community” that seeks to live as sent.
Thanks for including us in the discussion Ed. If you would like to join us, pick up the book MissionSHIFT and join.

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