Friday, October 22, 2004

Frost, M. and Hirsch, A. (2003) The Shape of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church ... Some foldovers.

I irritate people. I have a bad habit of folding the corner of book pages that I want to re-visit. Don't worry all those kind people that lend me books ... I only do it to books bought by me! Here are some fold overs from - Frost, M. and Hirsch, A. (2003) The Shape of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church and a recent thought by Maggi.

The Gospel and Our Culture Network (GOCN) says, "The missional church represents God in the encounter between God and human culture. It exists not because of human goals or desires, but as a result of God's creating and saving work in the world. It is a visible manifestation of how the Good News of Jesus Christ is present in human life and transforms human culture to reflect more faithfully God's intentions for creation. It is a community that visibly and effectively participates in God's activity, just as Jesus indicated when he referred to it in metaphorical language as salt, yeast, and light in the world."

A missional church "seeks to discern God's specific missional vocation for the entire community and for all of its members." In other words, such a church makes its mission its priority and perpetually asks itself, 'What has God called us to be and do in our current cultural context?" The issue of cultural context is essential because the missional church shapes itself to fit that context in order to transform it for the sake of the kingdom of God. By definition, the missional church is always outward looking, always changing (as culture continues to change), and always faithful to the Word of God.

Motherhood and apple-pie. Nothing there to really not to like. Nothing there to really disagree with. A strong definition. However - beware the blind spot, missions false dichotomy. Beware turning the great commission into the great omission

If I could fold over blogs I would - Maggi recently looked at Greatest Commandment v. Great Commission

If the word "mission" means being inclusive, reaching out, living for-the-world, self-giving, then certainly mission is an indisputable feature of the Trinitarian God. Some time back I wrote a blog on the Trinity that expressed some of the social, inviting, inclusive character of God. But in that piece I envisaged it more in the context of worship (meaning that in the big-concept idea of worship, just as mission in this recent conversation was supposed to be big-concept rather than a discussion of evangelistic methods).

...When he was asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said "...you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”There's a certain semantic trick in Jesus' reply, of course, because this sentence is a neat summary of all ten of the Commandments, which fall into these two categories. It's quite possible that Jesus intended to suggest that loving God and loving the people around you are inseparable.

Maggi hits on something for me here. Mission when it is diluted to simply a discussion of evangelistic methods or perhaps key principles to achieve growth - worries me because it drives a wedge between what Maggi suggests should be inseparable and natural. It worries me because people settle for an insipid portrayal of the gospel. It worries me because as mission as a word gets more and more misused by people desperate to be seen as missional - mission as a concept gets weaker and weaker. It can't be allowed to happen.

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