Posts Tagged ‘Missional Order’

Missional Order Debrief

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

….the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this…. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In this post, I’m going to attempt to do a little debriefing from the Allelon sponsored gathering on Missional Orders. Remember that this is just my perspective and my notes are far from complete. Each participant will have picked up on difference things and filtered them through their unique context, so you should attempt to read what others are also saying to get a full expression of what happened.

Unknown Territory

Allelon didn’t come with an agenda or answers. As the organizers, their hope was to bring together thinkers who, along with facilitators like Sara Jane Walker, Andrew Jones, and Pete Askew, could explore the concept both from a philosophical and practical point of view. It is unknown territory. Like journeying into one of those blank spots on a map which have never been explored. To put it in perspective, one participant quoted Robert Quinn as saying, we are “walking naked into the land of uncertainty.”

Why a Missional Order

The gathering was characterized by high interest, but lots of questions. One of those questions was, why such high interest? A number of individuals had responses like:

  • It may be costly, but we yearn for a home where we can freely express the pilgrimage we are on and we don’t find that home in the modern church.
  • Desire for other to learn from our own journey and that of others.
  • To help guide others along on their own pilgrimage.
  • A way to sustain us while we are in the game.
  • The restlessness of God will not allow us to be still.

Len at NextReformation said it well on one of his posts, “I was looking for roots – something larger than an individual community, more enduring, and built around shared purpose.”

Let me add that one of my deep concerns is how do we organically sustain the missional movement. A loose organic Order of apostolic and prophetic leaders may be one of the answers.

Missional Order Values

Alan Roxburgh shared that a Missional Order has been on their mind for some time and set forth three “values” (my word) that any Order must reflect. They are:

  • A deep non-negotiable commitment to the local church.
  • A commitment to help these local congregations move back into the neighborhood.
  • A commitment to the formation of missional leaders who want to go on a journey to help local congregations move back into the neighborhood.

Missional Not Monastic

A monastic community may be one expression of a Missional Order, but that was not the focus of this gathering. My impression of the Order would be a coming together of people committed to a rule of life (yet to be developed) and values (see above) that will, as Dan Steigerwald put it, link “a host of ecclesial and social-entrepreneurial communities/initiatives, so that those facilitating these might be developed and tied-into a bigger picture than simply their immediate local endeavor.”

Next Steps

A number of next steps were outlined including:

  • Allelon framing out, based on our discussion, what a Missional Order might look like, how it would function, and a “Rule of Life.” All very much to be in draft form.
  • Set a time to gather again (likely in March 2008).
  • Start experimenting and learning as we each move NOW into the neighborhood.

Much, much more could be written, but this should give you some impression of our wonderful time together in conversation.

Feel free to ask question in the comments.

Photos From Missional Order Gathering

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

I forgot to take the USB cable for my Sony Digital so I was not able to upload pictures during the event. So I’ll post four now to give you a flavor of the event.

Here Andrew Jones (left) and Brother Maynard (right) are either contemplating some deep theological paradox or Brother Maynard can’t figure out what Andrew is talking about.

Mark Priddy of Allelon (left) and Alan Roxburgh of Allelon (right) are into something heavy.

Waiting for an evening session to get started. Those in attendance were heavily weighted towards white males with no or gray hair, but we did have four or so females and an equal number of younger men. The split between Mac’s and PC’s was about 60/40 in favor of PC’s.

Here Pete Askew (left) of the Northumbria Community in Northumbria, UK, is talking with Bob Roxburgh (right) of Vancouver, BC. Bob is Alan’s older brother. Pete not only shared the story of the Northumbria Community, but lead us in both the morning and evening office. They were an enriching experience. Sara Jane Walker of Allelon is seated and Glen Mitchell from Vancouver, BC, is in the foreground. I don’t recall the name of the gentlemen pictured in the foreground (my apologies).

Len Hjalmarson, Brother Maynard, Andrew Jones and Rob Robinson have also posted pictures and observations. I suspect that Bill Kinnon will also have some posts up before long.

I will be putting together a couple of posts with some “meat” over the weekend.

Missional Order

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Image: Missional Order

I’ve been praying about and toying with the idea of going up to Allelon’s Missional Order gather since August. It will be held only a couple of hours North and the concept of a Missional Order has had my interest for many months. Still, the registration fee of $350 is steep even if it does include all food and accommodation.

I finally decided tonight to go and got registered for the limited space available. (And my wife approved which is an important factor.) I covet your prayers leading up to and during this gathering for it will be unexplored territory.

If anyone else is going from the Portland area (or passing through on your way North) and want to share travel expenses, let me know.


Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Portland is again bless with having new missional blood move into town. Dan and Ann Steigerwald (and their two teenage daughters) moved into the area from Europe where they have been (and still are) working with Christian Associates.

Dan ran across this blog and got in contact. We’ve had coffee a couple of times, exchanged emails, and Fran and I were over at their home this past Sunday.

Dan and Ann have start a group called “Missio” which they describe as “an enriching, face-to-face learning community that gathers regularly to stimulate each participant’s natural missional engagement with their neighborhood, workplace(s) and social network.” The goals are:

  • Seeks to missionally form every follower of Jesus, while not limiting the sphere of spiritual formation to the missio Dei;
  • Measures success by ongoing faithfulness to Jesus, rather than by results and marketplace notions of success or the effective application of church-growth techniques;
  • Is theologically-grounded in Scripture but more generous in orthodoxy and more empowering of women than existing church-planting networks in the Pacific Northwest;
  • Seeks to strategically link existing and new missional initiatives and churches in a covenant of fellowship and mutual exchange of ideas and resources;
  • Respects diversity and is concerned with discerning where and how Jesus would have each community focusing its energy (rather than mimicking the latest hip expression of church or Emergent activism);
  • Does not brand every big or attractional church as an archaic compromise to existing “-isms” of Modernity or American culture (consumerism, individualism, utilitarianism, civil religion-ism, etc.), but does hold the line on the prophetic ideal of seeing new, biblically-informed, postmodern forms of missional church emerge that challenge the excesses and idols of dominant culture;
  • Prayerfully chooses to come alongside various “secular” initiatives within the neighborhoods it serves;
  • Promotes shared configurations of local-church leadership that enable a balanced expression of five-fold leadership giftedness (APEPT);
  • Serves as a training incubator for church-planting team leaders; and,
  • Is decentralized and served by a missional order of experienced leaders/church-planters, who covenant to live humbly, deeply and missionally as a community of local friends.

Sunday was this groups first informal gathering. There was about a dozen or so people from around the community with a desire to form a connected missional network in the Portland metro area. It is hoped that Missio might become a prototype for a group learning experience that is reproducible within local congregations and other expressions of Christ-centered community.

Our first endeavor is to do a series of weekly learning/conversation gathering where we will cover the following topics:

  • What does it mean to be “missional” and why it matters?
  • How might we “live prophetically” in our context?
  • What does it take to make friends with those who’ve yet to know Christ?
  • What does incarnational living look like in practice?
  • What does evangelism look like and what is the message we live and speak?
  • Why Christianize everything when there’s already great waves to catch?
  • What is “time-banking” and how does it foster community?
  • How does spiritual formation relate to missional church?
  • What does it look like to be creatively missional?
  • How do we form and link local communities for maximum missional impact?
  • What have we learned and how can we pass it on (i.e. missionally-form others)?

I’ve got to tell you that this is an answer to a long time prayer and I’m so excited about being involved and seeing where God takes us. I’m truly pumped!

I’d love to see a reproducible “Missional Order” come out this gathering. By Missional Order, I mean a group of Jesus followers who covenant to live humbly, deeply and missionally as a community of local friends, provide the missional community with Apostolic leadership (as envisioned by Alan Hirsch) and who work to impart missional DNA into the lives of fellow Jesus followers and local faith communities. (This is my dream, not necessarily that of Dan and Ann or other members of the group). Having been involved in so many “movements” over the past 35 or so years, I’m firmly convinced that if the missional movement is to be a lasting reformation of thought and praxis, we must have some type of organic itinerant Apostolic leadership Order. Not sure yet what it would look like, how it would function or form, but Missio seems like a good place to start.

Rob at Pilgrimguide is also in this Missio group and you can read his post on the subject here.