Category Archives: Missional

Missional – Social Justice or Salvation

There has been some discussion lately, actually it’s an old discussion about the meaning of “missional.”  Is the focus of being missional about social justice?  Or is it about salvation?  The answer is YES.  God is interested in both.  I believe salvation is primary.  Without salvation of individuals you will not ever really succeed on the social justice side.  It can’t happen without Jesus and Jesus works primarily through his people.  Remember,  true justice is established as the Kingdom of God is established in the Earth and Jesus told us the Kingdom does not come with observation but is within you.   Without individual hearts being changed or converted, there is no justice.

So does that mean we forget about justice.  Absolutely not.  When people are dying because they have no food or water, I believe Jesus weeps.  When women and children are forced into slavery or the sex trade, I believe Jesus weeps.  But it also is of little value to help their temporary situations on Earth if they are not given the opportunity to know about Jesus and lose their soul.  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

The question is not which should we be involved in.  I believe that God wants to save.  I also believe God wants to see the oppressed and the hurting comforted and helped.  But it’s not up to us to choose what actions to take.  I believe we have been ineffective in reaching the lost and helping set captives free because we have been involved in trying to figure it out ourselves.

I believe that Jesus set the example.  He did what he saw the Father doing and he said what he heard the Father saying.  Jesus didn’t do anything on his own.  I don’t believe we should be doing things because it’s a good idea or we think that’s what God wants.  We need to really seek him and ask him.  God is faithful to let us know what he wants us to do.   It is not about us standing in our own righteousness, but standing in his,  which is through obedience to his will.

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Skype – the Internet – The Church

A friend of mine, Willie Butler, was once part of a worship team called FACE DOWN.  Frankly up until a week ago, I didn’t know about this part of his past.

Well, the group had broken up several years ago as all of the team members went on to their various ministries that God had called them to.

The group decided to get together for a night of worship at the Church they had all attended as kids and young men, First Baptist Church in Flower Mound, Texas.  All but one were in the area and it seemed a good time to get together.

One member is now a church planting missionary in Poland.   He obviously couldn’t make it -0r did he.  They set up a camera in the sanctuary so he could see what was going on and they set up a skype connection.  It was so immediate.  He got to say hi to his mom and dad who were attending and they had the opportunity to tell him how proud they were of him.  He talked about what they were doing and their prayer requests.  He also took questions from people.

It was really awesome.  I’m wondering what this could mean for the future of the Church when you can use an internet technology like Skype.  Could it mean that technology like this could be used for pastor’s conferences in third world nations?  Would that be a good thing?  Or would it lead to even more relationship problems.

I was amazed at the technology.  What could it be used for?  What are the possibilities?  What are the risks?

In places that are remote and we want to build schools but maybe we don’t have teachers there, can we use technology like this to bring teachers into the classroom?  I don’t know.    But it’s worth thinking about and questioning.

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The Refuge – a Church doing Cool Stuff

Saturday night I visited the Refuge, a simple church that my friend Bill Benninghoff is part of.  The group started off with a meal, went to announcements then did something that really surprised me.  Instead of worship and teaching, they had a member share his story, his giftings, and his struggles.  Then the whole group ministered to him.  There were words of knowledge, some prophetic words.  There was a prophetic song, and scriptures shared and the Brother was encouraged and built up.

Kevin, one of the leaders explained that they believed they should really get to know one another.  So for the moment, each week one or two people are sharing their lives with the group.  I think this is an extraordinary idea.    Kevin explained that they are still struggling to navigate away from traditional ways of doing church into a more organic or simple model.

What I really appreciate is taht this group is really trying to get to know one another and love one another.  I am convinced that this can only result in a stronger community of faith.

The Refuge is also being very missional.  One lady, Anita, has been ministering to a family in the apartment complex, with others coming along side to help.   Two other gentlement are ministering to the homeless.  Some are ministering at a local nursing home and others are helping people by cutting lawns.  They are serving people in ways that will allow them to connect with the people they are serving.  Hopefully, it will open up the opportunity for people to share the gospel.

I was really encouraged to see this group of Christ followers dedicated to following Jesus and reaching out to people.

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Filed under community, Disciple making, Love Your Neighbor, Missional, Relationship

Missional Mom Storying the Bible for Refugees

B  and her husband T are friends of mine who are passionate about Jesus and his mission in the world.   They are passionate about reaching lost people and seeing them discipled into mature believers in Christ.  I just recieved this email from a friend in our simple church network.  I removed  the person’s name since they may be moving towards international missions some time in the future.
Wow,
Tonight Maite came over with Juan Miguel, and shared that the other night she prayed and gave her life to Christ,
and asked about I’s baptism.  She wanted to know how long she had to wait or what she had to do to get baptized. 
We have never formally talked about this- although I have been storying with her since January, we were at the
Jesus getting baptized story a couple of weeks ago, and due to some different things, I hadn’t storied with her in
the past two weeks.  It is so awesome to see the power of the Holy Spirit, drawing people to himself, and to see
the seed that was planted bear fruit.

Praise Jesus,
She is going to get baptized at her apartment complex pool on June 17th…you all are invited…

B

B learned bible storying several months ago and started by storying the bible with Cuban refugee women.  Maite is the first fruit of that effort.  B and her husband T are also now storying the bible with Bhutanese refugees that live nearby.

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Christians Reaching Out to Help the Elderly in Lancaster Texas.

Join us in Lancaster

Join us in Lancaster

Saturday, May 30,  Christians from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will show up in Lancaster Texas to help the elderly with their yard work.

I talk alot about missional living.  I believe that every Christian is supposed to live in a missional context whether it is on the job,  in the neigborhood or in the store.

Most people however,  aren’t engaged.  This is a a great opportunity for those in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to get involved in reaching out to help others in the name of Jesus Christ.

This is the first outreach scheduled in Lancaster.  Another one is scheduled for June, which will be an outreach to help the poor with food, clothing and toys for children.

A follow up outreach is planned for sometime in October as well.

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Missional Idol – The “Missional” Tall Tale

Alan Knox who is heavily involved in the missional conversation as an actual practioner has written an excellent Post entiteld Missional Idol.   It follows a brand new reality TV show, as contestants try to win the title  “Missional Idol.”   It’s a funny piece – and it is also very sobering as it serves to demonstrate what is happening in the “missional” conversation today.  I believe all believers are called to be missional and that it should be the heartbeat of every church.  Unfortunately, it is on the verge of being talked to death with very little real transformation and action. 

Check out the story  MISSIONAL IDOL here.

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Our Commission is to Make Disciples – Not to Plant Churches

“Make Disciples.”   That was what Jesus essentially told his Disciples to do.  In Matthew 28,  Jesus last command to his followers was  “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in  the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”  So there it is.  Jesus did not tell his followers to go plant churches.   He told them to go “make disciples.” 

In many ways we are putting the cart before the horse.  There is not one new testament command to plant churches.  But Jesus himself gave the command to make disciples.  I bring this up because I had heard many years ago that the most effective means of reaching the lost was planting new churches.  Indeed, it may be true, but do those new churches actually make disciples or do they make converts?  There is a difference and it is a critical difference.  We count as converts those who pray a prayer and “accept Jesus into their hearts.”  Disciples are ones who actually become followers of Jesus Christ.  If we follow Christs Command to make disciples,  often new churches will form out of that.  The church forms out of the harvest of disciples. 

I started one church and have been involved lately in working to start another church.  We have had to force ourselves to re-oritent back towards making disiciples because we got so caught up in the whole “church planting” idea.  So we’ve scaled back on the “church gathering” side and have put more effort into the discipleship side of the process. 

I know there are lots of people who believe that getting someone into “church”  the Sunday morning thing with the preacher is key to discipleship.  I will argue that has very little to do with discipleship.  Jesus did preach,  but more importantly he demonstrated the Kingdom of God by living it out among those that he was making disciples.  A Sunday morning preacher can’t do.  At best the Sunday morning message supplements a vibrant discipleship learning relationship, but cannot replace it. 

Teaching as Jesus said here is by his example.  He did preach or teach through the word, but he lived it out in front of them.  He brought validity to the message he preached by the life he lived.  New beleivers need those kinds of connections and relationships.  They don’t have to be perfect, as a matter of fact they won’t be perfect.  Peter wasn’t perfect,  John wasn’t perfect,  and much to the disappointment of many,  Paul wasn’t perfect.  Jesus was and only he was.  But if you are a Christ follower you shoud be learning from others more mature in Christ than you and you should be pouring out what you have learned into other disciples less mature in Christ than yourself.

Another point I would make,  the  ‘church” as in the institution we call the church does a lousy job making disciples and I am convinced that real discipleship costs something.  I believe it costs the time and the effort to develop real relationships with people.  It’s possible it can happen without those relationships, but not likely.   In our western context the message of the church is “we’ll help you be a good christian,  just follow the rules we tell you, come to Sunday morning service,  listen to the message, and join a small group and everything will be fine.”   I’ve seen far too many who follow that path that are still biblically illiterate years on.  In addition, they aren’t putting the Word of God in practice in their own lives and even more devestating is that they didn’t learn to hear God themselves.”

We must begin to spend the time and effort to really disciple young believers and not-yet believers so that they can truly have Christ formed in them.   I am convinced if we are faithful in this,  we will have followers of Christ who will be fruitful and true laborers in the harvest.  And if we do our jobs right,  new church expressions will flow out of this process.

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Filed under community, Disciple making, Disciplines, Missional, The Church