What is a Missional Church? Part 1: Foundation
20 November, 2015 § Leave a comment
There is a lot of misinformation within the Church when speaking and writing about being Missional. Christianity Today has been running articles written by Ed Stetzer defaming the majority of Missional Churches as being rather unguided and silly, claiming that to be missional in these churches is paramount to reading chaotic ink blotches (See Rorschach Test) and making inferences about the world around us without the Scriptures. I’m reminded of Romans 3:7-8
“ 7But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.”
If what Stetzer says is true, than his condemnation is just, but is seems to me that he lacks any basis for his allegations, he makes no reference to the churches based around the fallacies he is denouncing. But the reality is that for a Church to be truly missional, it must first be repentant of the way that we have turned the body of Christ into the Business of Christ. It hits us first in our pocket and is revealed most evidently in the way that we go about expanding the Kingdom of God as if they were franchises of a Fortune 500 Club business. In order to move forwards, the body of Christ must first breath in and examine the roots of Christianity. We have one foundation, one feast and one function and when we stray from these three we cease to be missional. Let me be clear. A missional church must first be a repentant church. Let’s examine our foundation.
When Jesus left the original disciples on the mount of Olives, He did not leave them as a foundationless, unorganized people with commands to obey but no foundation or blueprint with which to build His church. Earlier in His ministry He established the foundation of the Church as the fact that He is the Christ the Son of the Living God.(Mtt 16:13-18) He acknowledges this from His disciple Simon whom He gives a new identity to, because God had revealed this to him. Jesus changes his name from Simon, meaning, “like the grass,” to Peter which means, “Rock”. This is pretty basic, most Christians have no issue confessing that the foundation on which we build is Christ. But our confession doesn’t match our practice. If we are under the impression that God left the design of His kingdom in the hands of a bunch of fishermen and tax collectors, and zealots to come up with a brilliant, reproducible, interdependent organization with which to continue the ministry of reconciliation to the world, then we need to read our Bible again.
Our practice reveals our belief in a God whose sol purpose was to dictate what we believe about Him, but the end justifies the means. I have heard teachers waffle about what the teachings of the Apostles were to the church that they were continuing in along with prayer and breaking bread. I tend to think that they were obedient to Jesus when He commanded them to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe everything that He had commanded them. (Mtt 28:16-20) I also tend to think that they were listening to the Spirit who was reminding them continually of the things Jesus taught them. (Jn 14:26) We, however, are under the impression that they immediately came up with their own gig. That right out of the gate they built on Jesus as the foundation but that the structure itself was man made. We proclaim this to the world by the fact that the only thing that links some of our churches is what we believe about God (some of it). We have white towered the truths about who God is and what He has done and not let it define who we are and as a result where we live, what we drive, where we work, who we marry, how we parent, how we do business and ultimately how we structure the church. For us to move forward we must repent of building with wood hay and stubble and repair the breach in our practice that exists because the fiery darts of the devil keep burning a hole in our defenses. In order for people to be the living stones that the Church is built out of, they must actually be be built up in the gospel (Eph 4) otherwise they’re only bundles of kindling and hay bales masquerading. The way that we return to our foundation is through repentance of wrong belief in God. I won’t say that I have completely repented because there are still areas that God pulls me on but here are a few that started me down this path.
Repent of my unbelief in who God says He is.
Repent of believing that God’s blueprint for the church won’t work in the 21st Century.
Repent of decentralizing myself from the mission.
Repent of centralizing my belief in God around a location instead of His people.
Repent of making church a mere Bible Study, Support Group or Activist Group.
I’ll work on bringing Feast and Function in the coming days. In the meantime don’t forget to comment.