Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why the Traditional Church is Extremely Unlikely to Become Missional


1.    Unless and until we can imagine and experience God as the Great Lover of the World whose face we see in Jesus Christ, and not the “God-with-a-Scowl” whom so many identify him with, the church will never become missional.  

2.    Unless and until we can see and experience Jesus Christ as the Lord of all reality (Bonhoeffer), the world’s rightful king who is on a mission to subvert and overcome the attitudes, actions, patterns, and structures and ourselves as his divinely armor-clad soldiers (Eph.6:10-20) who implement and spread the fruit of Christ’s victory at the cross and in his resurrection and ascension, the church will never become missional. 

3.    Unless and until the Holy Spirit is a reality in the lives of traditional churches (and released from the narrow confines in which Pentecostal churches tend to keep him), God’s struggle to spread the fruits of Christ’s victory throughout the world through his people will never be brought to completion.  God’s will, of course, will not be frustrated but we may or may not participate in it as intended. 

4.    Unless and until  the church shakes the dualist spirituality (more worthy of Plato than Jesus or Paul) it has inherited which privileges the inward, immaterial, (which it calls “spiritual”) and sees the human as composed of two parts, body (inferior and finally dispensable) and spirit (superior and eternal), it will never become missional (i.e. incarnational). 

5.    Unless and until we can imagine church in such out of the box ways that we gradually forget church as we have known it, the church will never become missional. 

6.    Unless and until the church recovers leadership by gift, particularly the five gifts of apostle prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher (Eph.4:11), it will be perpetually ill-equipped to function as a missional body. 

7.    Unless and until the church derives a consensus rule (way of life) by which they are willing to live (as in Mike Frost’s “Bells”), it is very unlikely it will display a way of life for others to catch.  Such rules, of course, will vary from community to community. 

8.    Unless and until church happens in daily life Monday – Saturday, what happens on Sunday is unlikely to be worship. 

9.    Unless and until the church replants itself in neighborhoods (those it lives around and with), it will find itself buried in mausoleums it built for itself. 

10. Unless and until the church becomes a community whose life is inexplicable apart from the existence of the God it proclaims, it will never become missional.

 

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