20040730

a missional community of faith

what does it mean to be a "missional community of faith?" i hear the word tossed around all the time and in every possible direction; every "church" or gathering is claiming that they are missional, so what's the big deal? it seems to me to be the "new buzz word" that identifies a community of faith as a postmodern/emerging community of faith. but using the word to describe who you are, and actually being it are two very different things. one church i know insisted that it was missional because it supported "missions" in countries of the two-thirds world; it does nothing on a local level and has zero from the church doing anything except writing checks. now, before i go on i need to say this; this is where most people say something like "there is nothing wrong with giving money" - well, i am not going to say that because i believe a great many churches and christians use that as a cop-out to actually being missional. if everyone stopped giving money to organizations, and started to actually do something i think we would be a whole lot better off - i am not looking for people to "fund" a mission trip, i am looking for people to have fun on a mission trip; we are a datebook faith, not a checkbook faith. in my heart of hearts i truly believe we make it easy for people to "write a check" for missions and not move off the pews to actually serve. while, to them, their definition may be valid, to me it is limiting at best. it seems to me that they do not fully catch the possibilities of being a "missional community of faith" and they ignore the nuances of those possibilities.

let me share with you what i think it means to be "missional;" a missional community of faith is a living breathing transparent community of faith willing to get messy while reach out to, and bringing in, those outside the current community. now, what i would like to do is explore some of the nuances of that "definition" and go a bit deeper.

messy (dirty)
a missional community of faith is messy, and is even willing to get messier. if a community of faith is truly open to the needs of others it is going to get dirty in the process - if you are reach out out the wounded, the hurt, the cut, the bleeding you will get messy. i have likened it to an emergency room; where people are running around striving to help others reach the place where God wants them to be.

transparent (real)
seeing real people, with real issues, lead by real people is breathtaking and life-giving. to see that others are real and have over come their hurts is refreshing for those who are hurting. if real life is hidden from those seeking healing, they will not stay and be connected. to truly be transparent one must be willing to be messy, it's all connected. because without that willingness one can never truly be open and real with others.

it's alive (changing)
all things change. let me say this again so that you get the idea, all things change. it just depends on certain factor how one changes. you see, if you are dead the change is called "decay" but if you are alive the change is called "growth." the idea is not that "nothing changes" but to what extent are you willing to change? to be alive means growth, a "living breathing" community if faith is essential to reaching out and being a missional community of faith.

community (united) of faith (in Christ)

community is best formed in christ. if we see christ as the center, the core and as a viable part of our dna we are ready and willing to move past the self, and to the hearts of others. when we are in christ, we have a desire of the heart to be in service - we want to help, we want to care, we want to serve.

welcoming and accepting (reaching out to others and bringing them in)
too many churches today are "welcoming and excluding." i think many churches are groupings of "clicks." small groups of people who seem friendly, and welcoming but in actuality are not welcoming. a missional community is willing to go beyond themselves and accept those God is moving into their path. it is willing to truly reach out and bring in the hurting.

i think if a community is truly missional, they know it. i think those that use the word as a "cool" word that makes them seem "cooler" are wrong. to truly be missions be ready to welcome the hurting, to be who you are, to be alive in faith and united in christ. know that what God wants from us is to be off butts, and on the streets.


1 comment:

Mykel said...

I freaking love this!