Friday, August 05, 2005

Some Thoughts On The Missional Church

{Excerpts taken from "The Shaping Of Things To Come" by Frost and Hirsch, p. 11-12}
I've been reading this book that has kinda messed me up, but in a good way. The book is "The Shaping Of Things To Come" by Frost and Hirsch. There are some things I don't agree with, but most of it makes sense. Here's a little bit. Read it and tell me what you think:
The author use a term for the disciple-making church as being a missional church, or the church with a mission. I love that! It's not just church because...It's church because of a purpose! Frost and Hirsch mention an organization called the GOCN (Gospel and Our Culture Network/ that has identified 12 keys to being a missional church that will contrast the modern church in some ways. They are:
1) The missional church proclaims the Gospel.
2) The missional church is a community where all members are involved in learning to become disciples.
3) The Bible is normative in this church's life.
4) The church understands itself as different from the world because of its participation in the life, death, and resurrection of its Lord.
5) The church seeks to discern God's specific missional vocation for the entire community and for all its members.
6) The missional community is indicated by how Christians behave towards one another.
7) It is a community that practices reconciliation.
8) people within the community hold themselves accountable to one another in love.
9) The church practices hospitality.
10) Worship is the central act by which the community celebrates with joy and thanksgiving both God's presence and God's promised future.
11) This community has a vital public witness.
12) There is the recognition that the church itself is an incomplete expression of the reign of God.
Hirsch and Frost give three more, overarching principles for the missional church. I agree with all three, but would remove the apostle from the leadership of the church because no one alive has seen the physically resurrected Christ. Therefore, no one can be an apostle. But, here they are:
1) The missional church is incarnational, not attractional, in its ecclesiology. By incarnational they mean it does not create sanctified spaces into which unbelievers must come to encounter the Gospel. Rather, the missional church disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don't yet know Him.
2) The missional church is messianic, not dualistic, in its spirituality. That is, it adopts the worldview of Jesus the Messiah, rather than that of the Greco-Roman empire. Instead of seeing the world as divided between sacred (religious) and profane (nonreligious), like Christ it sees the world and God's place in it as more holistic and integrated.
3) The missional church adopts an apostolic, rather than hierarchial, mode of leadership. By apostolic they mean a mode of leadership that recognizes the fivefold model detailed by Paul in Ephesians 6. It abandons the triangular hierarchies of the traditional church and embraces the biblical, flat-leadership community that unleashes the gifts of evangelism, apostleship, and prophecy, as well as the currently popular pastoral and teaching gifts.
So, comment and let me hear your thoughts!

1 comment:

Nathan Futrell said...

I think those 12 points the authors give are good, as well as the 3 over-arching ones. As I continue to read the Bible, I see how the church should be, and how it is not. Good stuff. I want that book.