According to a just released Pew Research Center survey, Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. Not surprising for the missional minded, Pew found that knowing someone from a religious group is linked with having relatively more positive views of that group.
I’ve posted on the concept of missional being the “slow movement” of Christianity. The concept of slowness, as defined by this movement, is essential IMHO. Taking the appropriate amount of time to experience the various activities, people and communities in our lives, we are able to savor, deepen, and invigorate the important things and relationships.
Two authors have now published a book focused on the topic. “In Slow Church, Chris Smith and John Pattison invite us to leave franchise faith behind and enter into the ecology, economy and ethics of the kingdom of God, where people know each other well and love one another as Christ loved the church.”
The book has been well recommend, so this 247 pager has been added to my “slow” reading list.
Back in the ancient of day, 2007, I wrote on ‘Third Places.’
Missional Church Network has a very good follow-on post that is well worth the read: ‘What is a Third Place?‘ Good video also and I really encourage you to pursue finding the ‘Third Places’ in your neighborhood, then get involved.
Well worth the read because it touches on a paradox difficulty we face in the deconstruction of traditional church structures, particularly the Sunday focus.
Here are a couple of quotes from the post that allude to this difficulty:
Havenor:“The latest attempt by church people to reinvent the Church is failing precisely because they are repeating the same error: assuming that new ideas within the same structure will produce radically different results.”
Fitch:“However, I still see the gathering as essential spiritual formation for mission. The formation that happens here is what resists the church from being absorbed into ‘the world’s’ story.”
I’ll tell you up front, my old-high-capacity-leader-self resists this marinating process. My old self can’t rest, it can’t sleep. It needs quick returns, escalating numbers, regional buzz and high excitement. All of those pieces previously helped me not feel like a failure. But here in the laboratory of a Missional-Community, slow is our friend. Seeking slowness is essential in the stew of discipleship. Cultivating a culture saturated in the embodied life of Jesus requires purposeful patience. A new character needs to be developed while leading in this type of atmosphere. Slow is not something to bear with, it’s something to embrace. No longer am I trying to launch an organization that sparkles before its consumers. The call is to shape a way of life; to create a conducive setting for transformation. In this stew we need unhurried time and grace-filled space for:long conversations, unearthing conflicts, detox from consumerism, facing missional fears, relearning how to listen, frustrated prayers and moving beyond suspicion to trust.
Last week, hiked 29.1 miles over five days into the Mink Lake basin of Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness. The three of us on the left have been backpacking together for well over 30 years. Not in our 20′s anymore, but we still love doing the miles.
For many years, our faith community has worked with our neighborhood high school to help them maintain the school grounds and landscape. One year we took a Sunday, and instead of the usual worship service, we had everyone show up at the school. It was amazing what a few hundred people can get done in a few hours.
Today we joined with Waterfront Foursquare, Portland Christian and local community neighbors for a clean-up, fix-up and spruce-up before school starts next week.
A great way to “moved into the neighborhood” and become involved with our neighbors.
He gives four key aspects of life that must be coached in order for a leader to be a true missionally incarnational leader: Deep in Character, Clear in Calling, Culturally Savvy, and Able to Lead Inclusive Community.
Here are his coaching questions that can help our ability to engage our the lost culture with the Gospel:
Do you know the names of all your neighbors? If not, what can you do this month to get to know them without being a dork?
Are you doing any recreation, hobbies, or school functions with the intent to make friends?
Tell me about some good conversations you’ve had with lost friends this month? Have you made any plans to invite them deeper into your lives or go deeper into their lives?
How could you bless the children of the people you’re meeting?
Have any of your lost friends invited you to anything this last month? Did you go? How did it go? Any plans to thank them by inviting them to something cool?
Have you done anything this last month that you may need to apologize for to a lost friend? Maybe not being more helpful to them? Saying no to an invite they gave you? Maybe being gone when something bad happened to them?
What are you finding is always good news to your lost friends? Have you made any plans to be good news? What is that?
Have you taken much time this month to exegete the needs of your community? Have you talked to any school employees, city workers or government officials? How can you make that happen or begin to help where they expose need?
How many parties have you thrown or gone to this last month?
What types of non-profits are working in your area that you could help out with and support?
Have you been able to share much of your story to a lost friend this month? How did that go? Any follow up?
Are you showing patience with the people around you or have you overstepped any lines the culture is giving you lately?
Have you helped serve anyone this month?
How are you praying for the people around you? What does that look like? Has God led you to do anything unique for a friend?
Have you invited any new friends to anything this last month? What was it? How did that go? Any next steps?
Are you and your spouse in the same stride in how much time you’re giving to lost folks? How many times a week or evenings have you been opening your home?
How many of your 21 weekly meals have you been sharing with people?
How have you been engaging the culture with those in your Christian community?
Do you feel that your Christian community is trustworthy to bring any new friend to? If not, why and how can you mentor your community toward inclusiveness and trust?
Have you been advocating for any people this last month?
What common space, coffee shops, pubs, etc. have you been hanging out in consistently? Have any interesting relationships started to form?
I plan on using these to challenge my own missional journey and those I’m coaching.
I’d be interested in anything you’d modify, delete or add. Leave a comment.