Friday, January 23, 2009

Start Missional

a Biblical thought...
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. (Exodus 34:29)

a Book thought...
Leaders who are gripped by a call from God do well to remember that they serve the call. The call is not given to serve them. The initiative and substance of the call belong to God. (p27)
a Dave thought... from Alan Hirsch
In a remark ascribed to Gordon Cosby, the pioneering leader of that remarkable community, Church of the Savior in Washington. DC, he noted that in over 60 years of significant ministry, he had observed that no groups that came together around a non-missional purpose (i.e. prayer, worship, study, etc.) ever ended up becoming missional. That it was only those groups that set out to be missional in the first place (while embracing prayer, worship, study, etc. in the process) that actually got to doing it. This observation fits with all the research done by Carl George and others that indicate that the vast majority of church activities and groups, even in a healthy church, are aimed at the insiders and fail to address the missional issues facing the church in any situation.

An organizing principle is that which an organization structures its life and activities around. It’s hard to imagine a sports team surviving long if it forgets its primary mission to compete and win each game and eventually to win the grand final context in its league. Winning the prized cup, medal, or award, keeps the team focused and integrated. It’s mission is its organizing principle, comradeship takes place along the way. The team experiences communitas as it engages in its core task—when it faces physical challenge and risks failure in order to succeed.

Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

I love the film 'The Mission' - what a powerful story and what a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack! Off track a bit I know, but yay for that image today.

Anonymous said...

I've seen an organisation - 24-7 prayer - that started as prayer, has retained prayer as its core essential, and is incredibly missional.

And the fathers and mothers of the modern missions movement, the Moravians, began with prayer and community, and sent 3000 missionaries around the globe in 100 years, influencing just about all evangelical expressions. So I would dispute the original suggestion that you need to start as missional in order to be missional.

I could also rattle off a number of missional groups that lost their connection with God over the years, because they hadn't built in prayer and worship and community as fundamental.

Mission is essential. But it is part of the whole, not the end all and be all.



Anonymous said...

I would certainly agree with Hirsh. However I am not sure Stephen Court does. On his blog he notes:
Cultural Keys
a. We are a movement, not 'church'. (yes, we are part of the Christian Church) Why should we slavishly identify with something so obviously unpopular in most western countries (church)? Let's play up our mission and vision and justice to win the world.

b. We training colleges, not seminaries. We have a different purpose. We are raising up warriors to win the world for Jesus.
c. Training staff are officers, not professors. We are training warrior leaders, not Bible scholars.

However, in our current context leadership that is biblically and theologically astute, and is skilled in understanding the changes shaping Australian society has become critical. It would seem that Stephen is suggesting that only the warrior is of any value in winning the world for Jesus. Paul’s definition of leadership in Ephesians 4 is a voice we may well listen to: the function of leadership is the formation of God’s people, that is, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, so that they can “lead a life worthy of the calling to which they have been called”. This calls for a leadership that is itself that is equipped biblically and theologically and is thus able to make concrete and practical what it means to lead a life worthy of the calling. Academic and intellectual competency is crucial.
Missional leadership must be biblically informed and theologically grounded leadership. If the gospel of the redemptive reign of God is to shape the Army then its leaders must be formed by the gospel and be able to faithfully articulate it. This requires that the gospel be, studied, explored, and heard over and over again. The formation of God’s people is not a matter of simple warfare methodologies but of biblically centred training of both leaders and people.
Leaders are needed who are not mere ‘warriors’ but who can think deeply about the faith in a contextual and significantly theological manner. The Training college might not be a seminary but it certainly needs to be a place where theological and biblical thinking at a high level is nurtured. Such nurture is not confined to the College or the classroom but is worked out practically in corps and social placements. Paladin