Saturday, March 22, 2014

This Is Church?

The Missional Church Conversation
Rev. Ron Robinson

Everyday we do church at The Welcome Table, but it is almost always with lots of different people each time in different ways, serving, connecting, listening, working together for others, sometimes praying, sometimes sharing communion....Here is part of why we do it the way we do:

1. We have entered an era where we need a “bigger bandwidth” of church manifestations because we are not in a one-size or kind fits all world any longer.

2. The Church Doesn’t Have or Create A Mission; The Mission Creates and Has The Church. And The Mission is Given To Us: bring good news to the poor, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, heal the sick, free the prisoner, liberate the oppressed, end all debts. Creating communities where people don't have to think alike to love alike is a great launching pad for that mission, but it isn't the mission. 

3. Go to others; not expect others to Come to us (recognize shift from churched to unchurched culture); Be Incarnational, and even if you have the resources and ability to be attractional use attractional to become incarnational.

4 Church is not to be content to be a safe home until all homes are safe. Church is not to be content to be growing and thriving in a community that is suffering and declining. Don’t be the best church IN your community, but be the best church FOR your community. Shift from internal to external ministries, from programs to people development, from church-based to world-based leadership. 

5. Be Church of the 3Rs: Relocation. Reconciliation. Redistribution. Growing teams of “remainers, returners, relocaters” for renewal in “Abandoned Places of the Empire”. Connect The Disconnected. Grow Faith Where Life Happens.

6. A Mission Statement doesn’t equal Mission. Focusing on mission as purpose is not the same as missional, the word from which, from the Greek word missio, means to be sent. Missional has turned upside down the old connotation of the missionary; now being missional is not about the church going to convert the world, but going into the world to be converted by it, to discover how best to serve it and transform it and ourselves, by “meeting God already present and active in the neighborhood.”

7. The Post-Modern Culture: We no longer compartmentalize; we live in a blurry yet holistic world; boundaries of sacred and secular overlap; spiritual and material, personal and political or social are not kept separate; no one can go it alone in such a world; the church and non faith based nonprofits and business and government and philanthropic groups all need to play a part in the Mission, but they won’t inhabit completely separate realms but will be partnering. Can’t say this problem is only for government or this role is only for the church. 

8. Post Modern's EPIC Characteristics: Experiential trumps knowledge;  Participation trumps spectators; Image-Driven trumps print/text;  Communal trumps individual. 

9. Emerging Church Characteristics: Focus on three things: life of Jesus, blurring secular/sacred spaces, and community.

10. Four Paths, or The Loop, of Church-ing: 1. Missional Service; 2. Community Life; 3. Discipleship/Leadership; 4. Worship that refreshes the soul for missional service.

11. Focus not on “a church” but on “the church” which can have many manifestations. Church is not a what, but a who; Church anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Postcongregational. Grow smaller to do bigger things.

12. Ask the questions: if your church ceased to exist, who beyond in the community would notice and who would be affected? Who does your heart break for? Who does God's heart break for?

Also aligning with the 12 Marks of New Monasticism:
1.     "Relocation to Abandoned Places of Empire."
2.     "Sharing Economic Resources with Fellow Community Members."
3.     "Hospitality to the Stranger."
4.     "Lament for Racial Divisions Within the Church and Our Communities Combined with the Active Pursuit of a Just Reconciliation."
5.     "Humble Submission to Christ's Body, the Church."
6.     “Intentional Formation in the Way of Christ and the Rule of the Community Along the Lines of the Old Novitiate."
7.     "Nurturing Common Life Among Members of Intentional Community."
8.     "Support for Celibate Singles Alongside Monogamous Married Couples and Their Children."
9.     "Geographical Proximity to Community Members Who Share a Common Rule of Life."
10.                        "Care for the Plot of God's Earth Given to Us Along with Support of Our Local Economies."
11.                        "Peacemaking in the Midst of Violence and Conflict Resolution."
12.                        "Commitment to a Disciplined Contemplative Life."Type your summary here Type rest of the post here