Posts Tagged ‘Missional Church’

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


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.

Leadership and the Missional Church

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

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

Back in the 80’s I had a very wise and forward thinking pastor. His name is Dr. Wayne McDill, who is now Senior Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I was looking through some old journals for a specific piece of information. As I’m want to do, I got sidetracked reading notes and observations from the past including an item Wayne shared in a disciplining session for his elders. Using the illustration below, he talked about two models a pastor or leadership team could use to “build” a faith community.

The viewpoint of the pastor or leadership in the exploitation model is that people are the resource for the work. Note that the focus is on the leadership directing and using people so they can “build a great church for God.” The common lament is, “If only the people were more committed.”

The viewpoint of the leadership in the edification model is that God is the resource and he will build his church. The focus is on God and Eph. 2:10 and Eph. 4:11-16 would be the guiding ideal.

I was recently reading a paper by Krista Petty titled, “Making Good Ideas Happen: How to Help Your People Unleash Their Best Innovations,” where she talks about flipping the common church leadership paradigm and equipping and guiding the people of God to launch new ministries. Like Dr. McDill, she sees two models.

Using the first diagram below, Ms. Petty explains, “The senior minister, staff or leadership are paid to come up with the vision and direction, followed by the events, activities and programs to make the vision a reality. Often, leaders have the ideas and together with the people, they do the work.”

Instead of this American triangular organizational business model with top-down results, Petty suggests that “shared-vision leadership can present itself more like a diamond as both leaders and individuals shine with vision and passion to reflect blessing to the community. As individuals are impassioned with service ideas, successful church leaders will not be the only keepers of the vision; they will also serve as a conduit and encouragement for helping others develop in Christ and for community ministry benefit.” Sounds similar to Dr. McDill’s edification model.

I really don’t think many in the modern institutional church realize just how much American business models and theory have seeped into and permeate the way we go about the work of God. Our dependence is all too often on the right model, marketing effort or program (a business model) instead on God and his people.

Alan Hirsch on Cultural Distance

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Alan Hirsch spoke at the 2010 Velocity Conference on February 22, 2010 at Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, Georgia. In this 47 minute talk, Alan deals in detail with the concepts of cultural distance, more of the same, and innovation and new forms of church. If you can get past the first 1.5 minutes, it is well worth the time to give it a good listen.

They don’t allow the video to be embedded, so click here and then on Session Two.

Friend of Missional Update

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Here are the recent additions to the “What Others Are Saying About Missional” section at Friend of Missional.

Can Your Church Be Missional?

History of Missional Church

Syncretistic Missional Ecclesiology: The Failure of Missional Church

Tools for Missional Church

What is “Missional”?

Beware of Missional Church Models

Friday, January 15th, 2010

It’s part of the American culture to want things defined and structured in ways we can quickly and easily understand. As a result I often hear questions like, “What is the missional church model?” or “Why can’t you point to a model that can be understood and emulated?”

There is nothing wrong with models for much of life, but when it comes to the missional conversation, attempting to jam missional into some standardized pattern will shift the focus away from discovering what the Spirit is doing in our community and moving us towards developing agendas and working a program.

Alan Roxburgh and Scott Boren in “Introducing the Missional Church” (Baker Books, 2009, pages 22) noted,

Once we offer a model of missional church, the focus of our imagination turns to internal questions about how to do missional church correctly or how we can measure ourselves against this predetermined model. This would be to entirely miss what missional church is about.

We love definition, but we have to avoid allowing our cultural bent from interfering with us hearing and seeing our communities as God does — from journeying into our neighborhoods to see what God is doing. In other words, a model should not determine the “how” of our ministry. The “how” of ministry is to be determined by the who, when and where of the local culture. This contextualization will determine how we should live out our lives in the midst of our communities – not some model.

Ed Stetzer said this about models in a Q&A session last year,

I think a lot of people fall in love with their model before they fall in love with their mission field.

Well said.

What are your thoughts, should we beware of missional church models? Can they be helpful? Out of place?

First Resume and Interview Clinic

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

(This is a cross-post from Missional Tribe.)

Jesus follower Tim Jorgens got a burden for those currently unemployed in both our faith community and the community at large. And the great thing is that he acted on this burden and put together a free “Resume and Interview Clinic.”

We did the first one today and had 15-20 people participate.

This is something that could easily be replicated anywhere and can be a great way to become involved in a meeting a real community need. Here was our schedule. Glad to send alone our handouts to anyone wanting them and discuss what we did.


8:45: Ready for people to arrive. Be available and greet people.

9:00: Welcome:

* Overview of the morning and logistical issues.
* Quick discussion on agencies and services where you can look for job opportunities.
* Quick discussion on additional resources available in the community.
* Discuss the importance of networking.

9:30: Interview Session:

* Introduction including types of interviews and the objective of the interview.
* Review the “Ten Rules About the Interview.”
* Review sample interview questions.
* Conduct a mock team interview with a volunteer.
* Critique of interview and observations.

10:15: Break

10:30: Resume Building Session:

* Introduction.
* How to do a skills assessment using PAR.
* How to document work experience.
* Description of the two types of resumes and where to use them.
* How to construct the two types of resumes.
* How to write a cover letter.

11:15: Break-out sessions

Two break-out sessions (one for interviewing and one for resumes) where participants can have further discussion and get one-on-one help.

12:00: Close

Reggie McNeal on Attractional and Missional

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Reggie McNeal looks the attractional model and how it differs from the missional paradigm.

I’ve have been tweeting other quotes via twitter.

The attractional model of church creates a ‘member culture,’ in which people join a particular church and support that organization with their attendance, their money, their prayers, and their talent. The flow is toward the church, which is always at the center of the action, where the big game is being played.

The missional church is made up of missionaries, who are playing the big game every day. They live their lives with the idea that they are on a mission trip. On mission trips, people focus on the work of God around them, alert to the Spirit’s prompting, usually serving people in very tangible ways, often in way that involve some sacrifice or even discomfort. Life on mission is more intentional and more integrated. While the concerns of life (family, work, leisure) are pursued, they are part of a larger story being played out for the missionary.

The member culture views society as a series of silos: politics, business, education, arts, media, technology, health care, social sector, and so forth. All of them are separate. The church culture has developed its own silo — a parallel culture in many respects — complete with schools, businesses, educational institutions, health care facilities, sports clubs, travel associations, and social agencies. Positioned as one silo among others, the church works to recruit people and resources from the other domains, vying for attention and money…. Its activities serve effectively to take a lamp and put it under a bushel.

The missional church views the church’s position in society very differently. It understands that God has his people — his missionaries — deployed across all domains of culture. After all, since the mission is redemptive and the world is God’s target, doesn’t it make sense that he would take this approach? Otherwise, how would salt be distributed or light puncture the darkness?

Quotes from Reggie McNeal’s “Missional Renaissance” (Jossey-Bass, February 2009), page 54 & 55.

A Conversation With Ed Stetzer

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This is a cross-post of an exchange between Rick Meigs, one of the Missional Tribe instigators, and Ed Stetzer that was recently posted at Missional Tribe.

Ed is not just a talking head, guru or theorist, he is a practitioner. He has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and transitioned declining churches in Indiana and Georgia. Ed has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. He is currently interim teaching pastor of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, TN. But his primary role these days is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence.

Ed’s must read blog is

MT: In simple terms, what issue(s) or problem(s) do you believe helped give rise to the “missional movement”?

Ed: The quality streams in the missional movement are good course corrective to some of the problems in the church growth movement (which, ironically, was mainly a response to the missio dei movement that de-emphasized evangelism in a the name of a holistic gospel). I think perhaps the common thread through all the variations “missional” would be the concern that churches have become inward focused and self-concerned and have given up the missionary nature of the Christian and the Church. “Mission” isn’t just a program or something some of us do, but something we are and something we’re all called to do as it reflects the characteristic mission of God.

MT: You mentioned the missio dei movement has/can lead to a de-emphasis on evangelism. This is a huge concern of mine. Can you unpack your thoughts just a bit on this?

Ed: Well, the last folks who put a strong emphasis on the missio dei actually did so to the detriment of evangelism. In a rather ironic reality, what became known as the “Church Growth Movement” was largely a response to the “missio dei” movement. The CGM (before it lost much of its way) was created to help the church refocus on evangelism because everything was defined as “mission.”

Missions historian Stephen Neil expresses the concern that when churches focus on societal transformation, and particularly when they call it missions, then “everything” is mission. Neil explained, “when everything is mission, nothing is mission.” Those words were prophetic: he spoke those words to a movement that progressively moved away from church planting and evangelistic missions to a near total focus on social justice (for more information, see the history of the Conciliar missions movement).

Moreover, are there historical patterns that further confirm Neil’s concerns? When we look at the history of missions, it is frequent (dare I say common?) that those churches which focus on societal change lose their focus on evangelism and church planting. The most healthy churches engage in evangelism (individual transformation), church planting (collective transformation), and societal impact (cultural transformation). And one tends to lead to the others. The best societal impact occurs when it is a reflection of individual and collective, gospel transformation.

So, when you hear someone you consider less “missional” that you say, “Let’s tell them about Jesus because if we serve the hurting we will lose our focus on missions,” it might have more historical validity than you would choose to believe. Thus, many are convinced that if churches have to choose between evangelism and social action, they should choose evangelism. And with good reason.

I just think that it’s short-sighted for churches to choose. Evangelism, church planting, and societal impact are like fruit that blossom and grow from healthy church trees. We do not have to bow to the tyranny of the “or.”

So, the church growth people reminded us that we needed to reach the lost. And, as we emphasize mission again, we would do well to be careful to not lose the evangelistic impulse as we also think more fully on the mission of God.

MT: Any practical advice to pastors and leaders on how to ensure that proclamation (as Frost would put it) is not de-emphasized in their efforts to move their faith communities toward a more missional stance?

Ed: I think you have to see it as one mission but with different facets.

To see all of this as one mission requires a biblical understanding of the gospel and the mission. The beginning point is to bring people into the mission (by seeing them become believers and followers of the King); the second phase involves forming groups of these believers together into transformational units (churches); the third aspect involves fulfilling the one mission (of bringing more into the mission AND serving the hurting) to the point that societal and cultural impact takes place.

While these often do not happen in a perfectly sequential way, a progression can be witnessed or identified. Hence, because of the order some conclude that a priority of evangelism exists. It is a fair statement, but incomplete.

A “priority” often creates a dichotomy where there can only be one. It is not either/or. Really, it is not even “both/and”it is “one mission.” Churches that chooses to join God on his one mission see the transformation of individuals because it is intensely evangelistic, the transformation of cooperative units as new congregations are formed, and the transformation of society because it cares about the world, because Jesus called the church to advance His kingdom in the world.

Perhaps a solution to our false trichotomy can be found by understanding the gospel and the Kingdom. Though the church is not the Kingdom of God, it is a sign and an instrument of the Kingdom. But, how does one enter the Kingdom? Well, by repenting of sin (a response to evangelism). Note the message and the response, “But when they believed Philip, as he proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12, HCSB).

As Christians we have an obligation to care about society and the increasing evangelical consensus on the Kingdom of God calls us to plant new churches and engage in good works because of our Kingdom obligation. Jesus calls us to serve the poor and care about our communities so that we might obey the King and demonstrate His Kingdom, showing and sharing the good news of Jesus.

Thus, proclamation leads people to Christ who then join together in the larger mission. That mission is to see the world transformed by the gospel. The focus is to see people and society more like Jesus would have it be and the church is the tool God uses to accomplish that agenda. The church is not the goal; the gospel of the Kingdom is the goal and the church is the tool. As such, we invite people to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 8:12) and then to be a part of the mission of Jesus to serve (Luke 4) and to save (Luke 19:10).

MT: In “Breaking the Missional Code,” you and Putman wrote that “what is really needed is not just an understanding of missiological thinking, but a commitment to apply “˜missional’ thinking.” Are you seeing a commitment to applying missional thinking taking place? If so, what leads you to believe this and can you give some examples? If not, why do you think this is the case and/or what is hindering it?

Ed: The problem with the so-called “missional conversation” is that it too often stops at conversation. We have lots of professional and armchair missiologists, but very few practitioners. I do think there is a tide turning; however, time will tell if it involves actual commitment to applying missional thinking or if it is merely a new coat of paint on to what is perceived as the next technique for church programming or growth. There are mega-churches interested in what it might mean to implement “missional” in their communities. Church planting organizations are nurturing missional churches from the ground up and facilitating their multiplication. And then there are numerous smaller churches that are planting unconventional and gospel-centered — yet indigenous — communities.

MT: How are the leaders and pastors of your denomination responding to this whole missional discussion and movement?

Ed: Open but cautious. Which, incidentally, I think is a wise response to any biblically coherent movement or trend perceived as “new.” My denomination is facing its decline admirably in most cases and wanting to do what is biblically and practically necessary to do what it’s always meant to do: reach the lost near and far with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

They let me hang around, so clearly they are not closed off to the missional discussion! And the research we are conducting is both waking us up to the problems before us and helping us problem-solve. Denominational publications “ both books and resources — are exploring “missional.”

We face an uphill climb, because the first guys to jump ship in my denomination were our creative, entrepreneurial young pastors and leaders, the guys most inclined toward missional vision. We’ve got to woo some of them back and nurture the ones rising up in the ranks, and I think the leaders in the denominations are realizing this.

And let’s be clear, as well: the SBC’s Cooperative Program is the largest and most successful denominational/organizational missions effort in the world. The task before us is converting that cooperation and focus in a concentrated way across the life of our local congregations.

MT: Thanks for the insight on the Southern Baptist Convention. As an aside, I think the SBC produced one of the best “missional” text (for lack of a better expression) in Blackaby’s “Experiencing God.” I remember well when Henry, who was still a Pastor and DOM in Canada, spent a weekend with our SBC church leaders and staff back in the 80s. He worked us through the material that would become Experiencing God. It was a profound weekend for me. Brought understanding to so much of what I was feeling and struggling with that we now label as missional.

In your latest book “Sent,” you talk about living the missional nature of the church. In simple terms, what does this mean?

Ed: In simple terms it means every Christian is called to live on mission. Wherever he or she is, whatever his or her location or vocation, he or she is to live on mission. We are ambassadors for Christ, as Paul says. Having been reconciled to God, he now carries the “ministry of reconciliation.” Mission isn’t something “other people” do in other parts of the world, or certain people do in your church program (as in the evangelism pastor or whatever). It is the call of every believer, and therefore the call of the Christian community. And it means the community not existing for its own sake like the self-interested Jerusalem church we see in Acts, but existing to share and “be”the good news of Jesus for the sake of its neighbors.

MT: Do you have a word of counsel for the pastor/leader who wants to help move his people towards living this missional nature?

Ed: A few things: You must live it yourself. It cannot be a theoretical technique you’re trying on. Pastor by teaching but also by being an example. Secondly, be prayerful and patient. Don’t take a sharp 90 degree turn. Cast a vision through your example and through consistent teaching over time and providing opportunities for missional service. Don’t push; lead. There’s lots of other things, but the last I’d mention is to network and seek counsel with other churches and leaders. See what’s worked for others and what hasn’t, get encouragement and advice, and develop cooperation between congregations.

MT: Thanks so much Ed for taking the time to share your experience, knowledge and heart with us.

There is a lot of great stuff here to contemplate. If you have a question or comment for Ed, please leave it here and we’ll ask Ed if he can pop over and respond.

You can also see a video exchange between Ed and David Fitch here.

Are We Delusional?

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

There has been some good private discussions going on about “experts” (in general) who pontificate on all thing missional yet don’t model it in their own lives. Michael Frost once said:

It is not any longer possible that we sit in some command center telling other people how to go forth. I’m speaking in particular to those of you who are clergy. You cannot preach about, encourage or motivate or mobilize people into mission unless you model what missional proximity looks like. You cannot sit in some ivory tower spending days and days preparing sermons which are seeking to motivate people into mission unless you yourself are prepared to embrace that similar commitment to proximity. Do you follow what I’m saying? I’m not just talking about proximity like our building is on the street corner on the main street with a gigantic sign and everyone knows that we are there. I’m talking about personal, relational, and geographic proximity to people.

There is a wonderful place for dialog around the missional movement, but we all need to be doers as well as talkers and listeners — especially church leaders and those who hold themselves out to be authorities on the subject. Reminds me of what James told us, “Prove that you are real. Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you’re delusional.” (James 1:22, The Voice).