Archive for the ‘Missional’ Category

A Typical vs. Missional Church Foundation

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I was in my “nothing” box just mindlessly popping around the web when I ran across Adam’s blog, The Thin Place.

In 2005 he created and posted a couple of interesting visuals inspired while reading Dan Kimball’s book “Emerging Worship.” I found them interesting and clarifying. What do you think?


Missional foundation


Missional foundation


APEST and Leading a Missional Community

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I’ve been working with the elders of our faith community on their role, function and responsibilities. One of the many concepts we are exploring is the base leadership gifts described in Ephesians 4 and how this typology of leadership (APEST) functions and the bent each gifted person brings to the leadership group.


Mike Breen has been doing an interesting series of posts on Missional Community (pop over and read the seven posts he has done so far). Today he posts on how a person with one of the Ephesians 4 base gifts would tend to lead a Missional Community differently than other people with a different base gift. The post offers a good perspective on each gift and helps us understand why each should be represented on the leadership team.

Here’s what he posted:

Apostles Leading a Missional Community

Apostle led MCs will usually be highly attractional, orbiting around someone who has loads of charisma and ability to gather others. Frequently their groups grow the quickest. Their mode of multiplication is often to split down the middle as a result of the pressure of the speed of growth. A mature apostle should have the skills to manage such a maneuver, even though it can be fraught with pastoral landmines, as multiplying a MC can be difficult for some relationally.

Prophets Leading a Missional Community

Prophets will tend to focus on the mission, but not be quite so evangelistic. They often go for high visibility, since they desire an incarnational approach to presenting the Gospel. Generally this means that they and their groups are very radical, often with the highest demands placed upon members. If you know a group in a tough urban context where there is lots of talk and action about reclaiming the city by their very presence and engagement with the people out on the streets, then that is probably a group with strong prophetic leadership. Such groups can grow by multiplying, but often they will keep the core team and allow a new work to bud off into a new context.

Evangelists Leading a Missional Community

Almost certainly evangelists will love to go straight after the People of Peace in their chosen mission context. They will identify the gatekeepers to that place and stay with them. Often you see evangelists literally going out in pairs, finding some People of Peace, building relationships and through them reaching a whole neighborhood that was previously unreached. Eventually they will look to hand the group on and go into a new context or send out others in twos to do a similar work elsewhere.

Teachers Leading a Missional Community

Frequently you will see teachers go into an existing context where the witness for Christ is struggling or almost extinguished. They will give themselves to model how to live the Christian life, whether in worship, community or mission. Mature teachers will do this ever so humbly, so it won’t even feel like teaching much of the time. They will stay for a lengthy season, but many will eventually begin to look for a fresh context requiring their help and then hand on their group. They will send out new groups who will be characterized by having been thoroughly prepared with a clear model of how to do things.

Pastors Leading a Missional Community

Pastors long to bring community transformation, by establishing and then building on long-term relationships. They highly value the integrity of becoming fully embedded into their context. This means that while things are not as spectacular at first, they have a slower and longer burn approach to mission. We have noticed that often this model works especially well in the suburbs. As relationships are at the heart of everything they do, it can be more difficult for them to multiply, but they do find it easier to grow as a ‘bud’ or ‘shoot’ off a small group of people and perhaps to take what they are doing into a neighboring area (or even neighboring street!).

Thanks Mike.

Missional Misunderstood

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Ernest Goodman at Missions Misunderstood recently wrote:

There are too many ‘experts’ using the word ‘missional’ to refer to traditional missions or serving in the local elementary school. Without a radical shift in the basic understanding of what it means to be on mission, we’re just doing more of the same.

He’s right, but it is not just about orthopraxy. What is missed to often in the missional discussion is that it is not about what we do or how we do it, but about who we are. Missional is about a Jesus followers DNA. It is about a life where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence.

A Tough Season for Believers

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Good op-ed piece in the New York Times, “A Tough Season for Believers.” Here is the closing thought.

[B]elieving Christians are no longer what they once were — an overwhelming majority in a self-consciously Christian nation. The question is whether they can become a creative and attractive minority in a different sort of culture, where they’re competing not only with rival faiths but with a host of pseudo-Christian spiritualities, and where the idea of a single religious truth seems increasingly passé.

Or to put it another way, Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom — and more and more like the diverse and complicated Roman Empire where their religion had its beginning, 2,000 years ago this week.

And Christianity did thrive under an intolerant Roman Empire. God doesn’t need a “Christian nation” or tolerant environment for his people to flourish. But we do need to be the people he calls and empowers us to be in the context we find ourselves.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. (1 Peter 1:11-12, The Message)

Contact Does Not Equal Contamination

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Are Jesus followers to withdraw and separate themselves from culture and the world? This question is often discussed and many struggle with the tension of the thin line between being in the world, but not of the world.

Below Michael Frost shares his view on the North American churches use of resources and about the skewed theological framework around being separate from the world.

One good quote to ponder is, “Missional effectiveness is directly proportional to your relational capacity. If you have high relational capacity with the world — high missional effectiveness. If you have limited relational capacity…you have limited missional effectiveness. ”

Concept to commit to memory: contact does not equal contamination.

A Chat Between Dave Fitch and Gary Nelson

Monday, October 18th, 2010

This is a series of videos, produced and by Imbi and Bill Kinnon, of a chat between Gary Nelson, President of Tyndale University College & Seminary and Dave Fitch, Associate Professor of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary. You need to take time to watch these videos. They are really insightful and encouraging.

In this first conversation, Dave and Gary discuss whether the word “missional” had become so over-used/mis-used that it no longer has value.

Here Dave and Gary talk about theological education that is not simply for full-time seminarians, nor designed purely to create full-time ministers, missionaries or other paid church staff.

This third video looks at The Pastor in Post-Christendom, a calling that lacks social significance in the eyes of much of society. They end the conversation talking about what excites them about our future in a Post-Christendom world.

You can subscribe to Bill Kinnon’s Missional Channel on Vimeo for more videos on the Missional Conversation. There are 14 videos available at this time.

The Sacred and the Secular

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Bob Robinson has a good take on an important issue: Dualistic Christianity and the Church. Pop over and read it. It’s good.

Bob’s post reminded me of a similar piece I did back in June 2008. I’ve reposted it here because I believe “dualistic Christianity” is an underlying reason why so many follower of Jesus struggle to consistently embody the life, spirituality, and mission of Jesus.


Ask yourself, are we merely devotees, who, as a mark of our faith, attend church weekly, participate in a bible study and often invite a friends or neighbors to join us? Or are we disciples of Jesus whose life is consumed 24/7/365 with, as Hirsch stated it, “the practical outworking of the mission of God (the missio dei) and of the incarnation”? Most operate in the former when God calls us to the latter. Missional is about the latter. So why does the average Jesus followers labor to understand Gods call and to live it out?

One core reason for this struggle stems from our western culture adopting the Greco-Roman supposition that all the world is divided into two realms: the sacred and the secular. The average Jesus followers segregates their lives (all they are and do) into one of these two boxes.

Work, clubs, hobbies, school, recreation, vacation, money and other such things go into the secular box. Sunday “church,” bible studies, home groups, short-term missions trips, feeding the poor, quiet times, bible reading, prayer, teaching Sunday School, serving on a church committee, tithe and the like go into the sacred box. This thinking leads to considering the secular as pretty much devoid of anything sacred or spiritual. And anything spiritual must happen in the sacred box.


When you attempt to explain the concept behind missional, the average Jesus follower simply can’t comprehend how they could possibly live their entire life in the sacred box (where all things spiritual happens, right?) unless they became full time clergy (the clergy/laity divide is a result of Greco-Roman dualism). In their mind, to live 24/7/365 as a missionary would require them leaving behind the secular. But which activities do most of our contact, dealings and interaction with our neighbors and community spring from? Can you see an oversees missionary thinking of their vocation as anything other than a powerful tool to be use to accomplish the practical outworking of the mission of God in their context?

I realize that most people have more gray between their two boxes than I’ve portrayed here, but my point is that we have to deconstruct the belief in dualism if you want to be able to communicate what missional is. Believers need to see their life holistically and completely sacred before they can begin to grasp what it means to be missional.

Part of the point of the missional movement is to recapture the biblical understanding of who we are and the life we are called to walk. A life where we are consumed 24/7/365 with the practical outworking of the mission of God and of the incarnation. A life where “the way of Jesus*” informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture. But it will not happen in a people that operates within the concept of dualism.

* Seeking to consistently embody the life, spirituality, and mission of Jesus.

Video: DMin in Missional Leadership

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Northern Seminary is offering a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership and here Craig Van Gelder, David Fitch, and Alan Roxburgh discuss why it is unique.

Missional Leadership – Northern Features from Northern Seminary on Vimeo.

Doctorate in Missional Leadership

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I was going to write a post on this, but Brad has done a much better job than I would have. So pop over here and read about Northern Seminary’s forthcoming D.Min. program in Missional Leadership.

More Pondering on Leadership

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

This is a repost from 2007 that fits with the post on Missional Transformation – Three Shifts.

In a recent post I asked you to ponder this:

Let’s reflect by asking the following questions: “What is the role of leadership within the body of Christ?”, “How does the modern church define leadership?”, and “How do we move from the current leadership model to an Ephesians 4 ideal?”.

What is the role of leadership within the body of Christ?

It is pretty clear from what Paul taught and from what we see in the first century church that leadership was about discipleship. A key text is in Ephesians 4 where Paul tells us that God has given the body of Christ, “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to [become mature], to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-13, ESV).

It is plain that Paul sees the role of these “leaders” to be that of equippers (ESV, TNIV), perfecters (KJV, Amplified), trainers (The Message, Holman). He sees them in the role of disciple makers fulfilling the commission given to them by Christ himself (Matthew 28:19-20). Because they took seriously their task of equipping the saints for the work of ministry, when a problem arose, they were able to confidently turn to the saints and have them select people who could deal with the issue. Acts 6 is a classic example.

We see that the role of leadership is discipleship – to equip, train, and perfect the saints who then become leaders able to do the work of ministry. You can visualize it as:

How does the modern church define leadership?

Unfortunately, the modern church (and maybe even the church from the time of Constantine) has define leadership in terms of a hierarchical organizational model where the pastor is the CEO with paid assistants who deal with the programs and problems. Any discipleship that occurs is done using some programmatic methodology which tends to focus on imparting information.

And where are the apostles, the prophets, and the evangelists in the leadership of the body? Why is the pastor considered the only valid leadership gift?

Is it any wonder that in the modern church so few of the saints are involved in any work of ministry?

How do we move from the current leadership model to an Ephesians 4 ideal?

Within an existing congregation full of consumer driven saints who only know the CEO leadership model, I don’t think it is easy to move to an Ephesians 4 ideal. But I do believe it is possible to make some progress over time.

The first step is to make a commitment to doing personal discipleship. Identify a small group of saints who you can begin to equip, train, and perfect. My suggestion is that you start with those who already have influence, like your elders or deacons. As they grow and mature, it is going to be much easier for you to wean yourself from some of the organizational maintenance responsibilities and their dependence on you being in such a role. They will have understanding and can support such a transition.

Don’t expect this to be an overnight transition. Expect it to take years.

Understand that making disciples is not a matter of more or correct biblical knowledge. Having classes where you impart more information is not enough. You have to move out of the classroom and get them involved in right actions. For more on this, read what Alan Hirsh has to say about acting our way into a new way of thinking.

I know most pastors by nature seek to ensure that there are no “messy situations” or conflicts within the body, but in the process of disciple making you are going to have to trust the people you are working with knowing full well that they will make mistakes. Use such situations as a training time. Don’t back away from empowering them to act and do ministry.

Finally, you need to begin the process of expanding your leadership to include the apostle, the prophet, and the evangelist. The team is incomplete without these gifted people.