What might shift if a church were to become more missional?
In order to become “the personal Presence of Christ in the world by the Spirit,” as seminary professor Craig Van Gelder defines the missional church, there are indeed a number of shifts that need to happen in a congregation. Here are a few:
- From doing outreach events to connecting with people where they are (maybe even right next door!)
- From evangelism as a one-time presentation to bearing witness as we are, where we are, in our ordinary, everyday lives
- From investing in buildings to inhabiting the ones that are already there as we join in with the daily and weekly rhythms of our neighbors
- From seeing Sunday worship as an evangelistic (or attractional) event to gathering for engagement and formation as we together encounter the living God, who equips and empowers us to be his people where God has sent us
- From assuming we have the right answers and know what others need to taking a posture of humility and attentiveness as we listen to our neighbors and discern how all are image-bearers of their Creator
- From being the host with the resources and the control to entering the spaces of the other to share our peace (Luke 10)
- From surveying our neighborhood to living among and connecting with our neighbors— and, in so doing, rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn
- From strategic planning and problem solving to trusting and following the Spirit when we don’t have all the answers (yet still pointing to the kingdom of God come near)
- From assuming that the “P’s” of church—professionals, programs, and pews—will take care of us and any visitors who show up to being the church, every one of us, in person and in place through our postures and practices, becoming who we are already called and made to be: the light of the world (Matt. 5:14) bearing witness to the Light of the World (John 8:12)
What will it take for us to make these shifts? Perhaps the faith of a mustard seed.
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