What is a Missional Church? | Part 3: Function
27 November, 2015 § Leave a comment
You’re joining us at the end of our What is a Missional Church? series. If you want a bit more context you can start two posts back at Foundation.
In case you haven’t been getting the message; just because we know how the Church started and why the Church is the way that it is, doesn’t mean that we are justified when our traditions cause people to have a wrong understanding of God’s true nature and therefore cause them to be in sin. It is a must that we allow God’s redemptive story to overshadow Church History in the same way that we are being continually transformed into the image of Jesus. The true Church body has been saved from the penalty of sin, each individually started on the straight and narrow path of sanctification, submitting all of life to Jesus as we go. This brings us to Mission.
The last verses in Matthew 28 are some the most famous verses among those who are striving to live on mission. What I want to cover today is the truth that led me to plant in Milford. When we isolate people from their everyday lives with the intention of affecting their position in Christ, we save only one person, but when trust that Jesus’ authority still holds weight and obey him as we go along, then we will be fearless to speak the gospel into all of life thereby making disciples by baptising them and teaching them everything that Jesus has commanded.
As You Go
It has been a real test to apply the gospel to all of life after having been raised in the current church culture of separatism. My standby has been to hold a meeting if I want to share the gospel, or invite someone to a meeting if I want them to hear the gospel–not to speak directly into their situation and give them the God who dwells in me for all of life instead of the God who only applies in certain situations. At times I fail to believe Jesus when He says that He will be with me as I am going, or that the Spirit will be give me the words to speak, or that the Father will provide for me as His totally dependant child if it goes wrong and I lose a friend or alienate myself from a neighbor or my boss. Obedience to the mission means faith in who God says He is as the father who gives good gifts, the Spirit who channels those gifts and the Son who lends us His authority and what He has said He will do which is never leave us. When fulfilling the mission it must happen in the context of the people we are trying to reach.
I need to be frank for a second. Jesus does not call us to go unto all the world and implement church structure. Discipleship precedes church structure. I’ve covered this at length in another post so I won’t beat a dead horse. My point in bringing it up is that when we are going with the gospel, we go to a people not a location. Jesus divides disciple making into two steps.
Baptism is the only proper response to the gospel that we see in the scriptures. There are no post resurrection believers who come to Jesus by any other means than through the waters of baptism, being put to death (figuratively) and raised to newness in life. This is another article. It is the primary marker of having come to the gospel. The second is to be increasing in the knowledge of God.
Teaching Them to Observe Everything I have Commanded You
I think I’ve said it elsewhere, but I believe that when Acts 2 talks about the believers continuing in the apostles teaching along with prayer and breaking bread, I believe that this is what Luke meant; that the apostles actually obeyed Jesus when He commanded them that the second step in making disciples is to teach them how to observe the commands of Jesus in all of life. To be uncertain in this point is to exude a type of gnosticism that clouds the apostles teaching in mystery so as to say that they did their own thing after Jesus ascended.
I Am With You
We cannot forget this point. We are able to make disciples because Jesus gives us the authority first to be Children ourselves and then to extend the offer of salvation and adoption to the rest of humanity. He remains with us through the entire experience of life. Jesus supplies what He demands of His Church. If we ask anything in His name He will do it. We can rest in His work because we know that while we work He is alongside of us reassuring us of His power and presence.
I hope this series has helped clarify for you the identity of the missional church. If you have any questions please comment.