what does “missional” mean anyway? (preliminary definitions from “the shaping of things to come” by frost & hirsch)

•November 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

according to the GOCN (The Gospel and Our Culture Network), “the missional church represents God in the encounter between God and human culture. {it} seeks to discern God’s specific missional vocation for the entire community and for all of its members.” hirsch/frost go on to observe: “in other words, such a church makes its mission its priority and perpetually asks itself, ‘what has God called us to be and do in our current cultural context?'” they go on to say: “by definition, the missional church is always outward looking, always changing (as culture continues to change), and always faithful to the word of God.” 

GOCN (from whom seminal research into the missional church was birthed – see guder, “missional church”) lists these 12 hallmarks of the missional church:

  1. the missional church proclaims the gospel.
  2. the missional church is a community where all members are involved in learning to become disciples of Jesus. 
  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 of its members.
  6. a missional community is indicated by how Christians behave toward 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 a recognition that the church itself is an incomplete expression of the reign of God.

hirsch/frost don’t end there. they add three more:
1. “the missional church is incarnational, not attractional, in its ecclesiology. by incarnational we 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 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 hierarchical, mode of leadership. by apostolic we mean a mode of leadership that recognizes the fivefold model detailed by paul in eph 6. it abandons the triangular hierarchies of the traditional church and embraces a biblical, falt-leadership community that unleashes the gifts of evangelism, apostleship, and prophecy as well as the currently popular pastoral and teaching gifts.”  

many thoughts flying around here for me, many of them questions. i’ll keep you posted as i continue reading…

-t

does the chicagoland area need another church?

•November 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

in short, yes.

studies show that church plants are reaching more people with the Gospel. more people come to Christ through church plants than established churches. according to one source, the average new congregation will bring in 6-8 times the number of new people into the life of the body of Christ than the older, established church. 60% of membership is new, people who are not worshiping anywhere. contrast that to 80-90% transfer growth in older churches.

we desperately need new churches!

as of a few years ago, there were 98 million people under 25. those aged 18-25 are the least likely to attend church. what about them? this age range is the crucible, the pivotal years where you make the decisions that will carry on to eternity: whom am I going to follow? marry? what am i going to do with my life?

churches that have been meeting for under 3 years win an average of 10 people per 100. that number drops off dramatically as the church grows older, to an average of 3 people per 100 at a church aged 15.

these stats come from a presentation posted on a church planting resources website. anyone with a decent grasp of statistics probably knows that these stats need proper attestation, but, numbers aside, the presentation accords with what we’ve heard. new churches win new people to Christ. we want to draw them. and we want to grow them. that’s what we’re about.

check out the presentation here (kudos on the “last of the mohicans” music):
http://www.goodmanson.com/wp-content/Post-Christian-ChurchPlanting.html

one dude who gets us.

•November 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

a church which pitches its tents 
without constantly looking out for new horizons,
which does not continually strike camp
is being untrue to its calling.
we must play down our longing for certainty,
accept what is risky, 
live by improvisation and experiment.
– hans kung

welcome to impact church!

•November 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

wanna get in on this?

we’re looking for people who are:
sold out for Christ
kingdom-minded
seeker obsessed
uncompromising about their own spiritual growth
adventure seekers
passionate about social justice

interested?

check back here for more details.