Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What does it mean to be Missional? (Part Deux)

MISSIONAL CHURCH requires some shifting in thinking, acting and measuring success. Here are three things Missional Church IS.


Jesus came into the world and through him, God established a beach head in enemy territory. Jesus came near. He entered the mess. He did something that was absolutely counter-intuitive. It wasn't safe. It wasn't easy. It wasn't without extreme cost.

And that incarnation is what we are called to. Figure out the people, demographic, age or neighborhood that God has burdened your heart with. Is it at risk children in under achieving schools? Is it a poverty stricken neighborhood in the city? Is it 20 somethings? The homeless? The widow and the orphan? Teens? The elderly? What things break God's heart that have also broken your heart?

Start there. And then realize that if you truly want to see transformation, it will mean you have to enter the mess. It means you will have to establish a beach head in enemy territory, meaning you bring light into the darkness.

If I choose at risk children in under achieving schools, I had better not live 30 minutes away in a high class suburban school district. If that is what breaks my heart, then I better not drive from somewhere else to "save the day". No, the Missional/Incarnational Approach necessitates that I enter the mess. That I live in the school district. That I send my kids to that school district. Where I invest my love, I invest my life. Too many of us have not been moved by the heart of God to desire lasting gospel change. And even worse, some of us know what we've been called to but we refuse to truly enter the mess for the long haul, to go against the grain, to count the cost.

What breaks your heart that you are called to enter into incarnationally?


While many of the world's problems that might break our heart are systemic in nature, the truth is, it will always boil down to people, individuals, relationships. When I see or hear about world poverty it doesn't grab my heart. When I go to Kenya, or to Ecuador, or to the inner city and put a name and a face to poverty, it changes everything. I can't solve world poverty. But I can make sure the Johnson kids don't starve this week, or that the village in rural Central Province Kenya has access to clean potable water. Always think relationship when thinking ministry. Always think partnership when thinking remedy. Parachute drop or drive by ministry is not the way of God. Going once a year to serve at a homeless shelter is nothing more than a nice gesture you can pat yourself on the back about. Go eat with the homeless every week for a year, then you begin to grasp the gospel.

Too many Christians want to piously help from an anonymous distance, thinking that this is what God wants. The reality is that the gospel advances relationally. If you are a Christian and don't have meaningful relationships with those far from God, you are not living the life God is calling you to live.

What breaks your heart that you are called to enter into incarnationally?

And who are you investing in relationally in that area that breaks your heart?


At C3, our motto is that we are being changed and being change. God is blessing us by transforming us into His people. SO THAT we can bless others by bringing gospel transformation into neighborhoods, schools, cities, populations, and individuals.

So I start by asking how I am being changed by the gospel. Am I stagnant? In a rut? Then chances are there is unchecked disobedience somewhere in my life. But when I'm being changed, I can't help but want to be change to others around me. The thing is that sometimes this is a staggeringly slow process. I might have a moment where God just changes me by burdening my heart with the 20 something generation...but to go to Ohio State/Columbus and facilitate the change God has put on my heart is a lifelong endeavor. I may not see much traction in year one, or three or five. But if I stay at it, keeping daily obedience and persistence at the forefront of my day, I will see what God does to erode stony hearts, to soften calloused souls, and the gospel will win the day, because that is the nature of the gospel.

What breaks your heart that you are called to enter into incarnationally?

Who are you investing in relationally in that area that breaks your heart?

How much and how long are you willing to sacrifice to see what breaks your heart change into something beautiful.

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