Moving People of Faith from the Pulpit and Pew to the Pavement
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|Posted on November 17, 2011 at 3:46 PM||comments (58)|
The Mission Possible God!
Do you know that God is Missional? That is God is the Missio Dei-the God of Mission--the Sending God. Sometimes we get things 'twisted' and we convince ourselves that we are the one's with the plan, that we are the ones with the vision and we do the sending. NOPE! The truth is--God sends people of God to carry forth God's Mission and not the other way around. Within God's economy, humanity exists, acts and serves under the mandate, the call and the divine direction of the uncreated One who creates and who loves the creation.
What's more---people are called to be disciples-a body of united believers who assemble. This assembly may be in an institution or a formal structure like a temple, chapel or church or it may be a gathering that meets in a home. Regardless of form and structure, disciples-believers are called to carry out the Great Commission--to be partners, earthly evangelists with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To Share the Good News and Be the Good News----that is to be and share the soothing/healing 'balm', to bind up broken hearts and set those in physical, spiritual, and mental bondage free.
Evangelism is not easy but why should it be? Evangelism is not that deep either. It is about presence and touch---sharing your story through testimony, being transparent, finding comfort in trusting, freely establishing relationships, and most importantly authenticity. When you meet someone on the street, in the grocery store, on the train, bus or wherever---have a conversation, find comfort in sharing freely---it does not have to start with God---but don't be ashamed or afraid if it ends up with God. Permit the Holy Spirit to move and act in the encounter. Talk about how God has and is blessing you--and guess what--you will be surprised what happens next. This is part of the God's mission and we are co-laborers in the mission--While it may seem like an impossible mission from a fleshly sense---it is indeed a Mission made Divinely Possible!
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
|Posted on October 10, 2011 at 2:18 PM||comments (112)|
|Posted on September 30, 2011 at 5:02 PM||comments (159)|
From Pew to Pavement and from Pavement to Pew: Disciples as Worshippers, Stewards, Evangelists, Social Justice Advocates and Missionaries Engaged in Christian Community Development Ministry
Today the faith community continues to be challenged by those who question its relevance in the world. Foremost in the minds of many is whether the faithful can legitimately lead or are we doomed to follow? Are we really being salt and light to the world? Given the culture, is the church able to be a catalyst of transformation? In order to respond to these questions, there is a need for the church to answer its own most basic foundational questions and to rethink these questions in relation to the mission of 21 Century church. James White asserts that this strategy requires the church to “get underneath its traditions, programs, and its methods of doing church and ask ---what are we fundamentally trying to do in the modern world?”
Against this backdrop of uncertainty, swirling questions about relevance, the church comes face to face with the Zeitgeist. Here, the faith community is confronted and challenged to ‘read the signs of the times in light of Jesus’ teachings and the nature [or theory] of change”.
Today, the modern church [and the faithful] has become spiritually obese and evangelistically anorexic. However, they are well positioned to come out of hiding and be the authors and agents of the sort of Christian social change that God desires for humanity and the world. To do this, requires the willingness to assemble a diverse cohort of revolutionaries, griots and ‘new bloods’, prophetic ministers, missionaries, educators, and ordinary individuals who are committed to working in and outside of the church to create systemic change that leads to whole people and whole communities. As servants of God, these change agents are partners within the community, bringing together the ‘churched’ and ‘unchurched’. They are persons who have accepted the divine call to be salt and light—they are salty servants of God--Servants of the Sewer not Saints of the Sanctuary. Accepting the call is to embrace The Great Commission which empowers church and people to become witnesses and vessels through which the ‘culture of silence’ is destroyed. These disciples give voice and authenticity to the existence of those once unaware of their own potential and are able to establish caring Shalom communities who freely invite, embrace, include, reconcile, and express the ethic of reciprocity.
Though this framework has broad foci it seeks to develop people in the pews and those on the pavement into the disciples, stewards, evangelists and missionaries whom God has called out of darkness to be servants to the world. As such it requires the faith community to fully and completely know there congregational and ministerial identity---that is who they are in Christ, who they are as an institution of faith and God’s calling.
Willis Bennett writes, establishing a congregational identity is integral to how groups are able to “turn their attention outward so as to be effective in witnessing to the glory of God and the [L]ordship of Christ in the community and in the world”. He goes further to assert that an outward focus suggests the church is aware of its own history, theological leaning, capacity, member talents, and there is clarity regarding the degree of commitment towards the mission. Uppermost, there must be an overwhelming concern for all people but especially those with their backs up against the wall who are within and outside the walls of the church.
Please, be patient with me-God is not through with US yet!
 Dinn, Julia, Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing and What to Do About it. pp. 28-29. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book. 2008  White, J. E. Rethinking the Church. pp. 25-26. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2008  Ibid, p. 26  Freire, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 97. Continuum: New York, 1970  Bennett, G. Willis. Guidelines for Effective Urban Church Ministry: Based on a Case Study of Allen Temple Baptist Church. P. 41 Nashville, TN: Broadman Press. 1983  Ibid, pp. 42-44
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