The more we talk about being “missional” in our community, the more I realize that this is calling for a completely different view of the world and view of our existence in the world. For me, its been a call for me to forsake my self and realize my and our community’s call to “be for the world what Jesus was for the world” (N.T. Wright)
being missional is not an individual exercise. Its inherently communal. I think this is so important for us to understand and we are working hard at church to get us all to understand that our calling is greater than ourselves. Our calling is wrapped up in the present/future reign of God and seeing that realized in our neighborhoods. When one really begins to grasp this, I think it radically changes the way they view the world (it did for me). The struggle is communicating this vision in a way that is clear, understandable and exciting for the typical, individualistic American (which almost all of us – including me – have grown up being).
I am reading “Treasures in Clay Jars – Patterns in Missional Faithfulness” edited by Lois Y Barrett and put out by the GOCN. It is a great look at some “missional” churches and their stories. I have noticed that in most of these, there was a period of time where the community learned to reorient itself toward a missional vocation and trajectory. This was at times a very trying period.
Anyways, here are a few thoughts I like so far:
“Being missional is all about a sense of identity, shared pervasively in a congregation that knows it is caught up into God’s intent for the world. There is a sense that they [the churches used as examples] are here for some reason. And that reason is bound up with the call of God. They are in service to something bigger than themselves. The reign of God has captured them in Jesus Christ, and increasingly it defines them….” (P. 36)
I think our community is still being shaped toward this. I believe with my whole heart that the reign of God is capturing our hearts and helping us find our calling. As with most cases, there are bumps, spiritual warfare and other crap along the way. But, I see God directing and calling our community in a very special way.