At The Well, I am helping lead a group we are calling H3. This group basically exists to give those who are interested a chance to get a good survey of four main topics: 1) Theology 2) Missional Ecclesiology 3) Servant Leadership and 4) Spiritual Formation. These four topics are being covered by inviting in some “experts” in each field.
For the first month, we had John Franke of Biblical Theological Seminary come and in share with us regarding the Task of Theology and the Local Church. This was a fantastic time with John, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite theologians (even if he is a hockey fan).
Last week we had Scott Collins-Jones of Woodland Presbyterian Church come in and lead a discussion on Missional Ecclesiology. Scott is just about done with his PHD from Princeton Theological Seminary (I think he only has his dissertation left) and studied under Darrell Guder, the Godfather of American Missional Theology. If you would like to listen to the MP3 of our time together, you can download it here. (Its not the greatest recording, but i think its good enough to listen to and follow along with – oh and the recording is 1 hour and 59 minutes long).
Here are some highlights from our discussion last Saturday:
- Some key biblical texts for the church should be: John 20:21-22, Acts 1:8
- The thing that we miss the most in our ecclesiology is that the church is birthed from the Holy Spirit. The Church is a creation of word and Spirit. Often, when we are thinking about doing church we get all our stuff together and then ask the Spirit to come and bless it. It should be the other way around. The church comes from a work of the Spirit and therefore the Spirit should be the one shaping the church, not our own preferences and preconceived notions.
- A great quote from Tim Dearborne, “The church of God doesn’t have a mission in the world. The God of mission has a church in the world.”
- The Gospel is the answer to the question found in Acts 2:12, “what does this mean?” This question is asked because the Spirit is working and being evidenced in the church. The question “what’s going on here” should be asked of the church. I fear that this question is not asked near enough because we do not let the Spirit lead us. Instead, we ask the Spirit to bless the stuff we thought of.
- “The Church is primarily called to be a sign, witness and foretaste of the coming kingdom as an instrument of the Spirit”
- “The church needs to be a community of people with a distinctive way of life.” This is a hard challange to our community. I think that sometime we like to be the “church that is cool” rather than the church that has a distinctive way of life. A church that has a Christ-centered distinctive way of life will likely have the question asked “what’s going on here?” about them. I personally think this needs to start with the basic disciplines of the faith (scripture, prayer and service).
The challange that I took most from this discussion with SCJ is this question that I formed out of our time together:
How can our local churches (The Well specifically) be a community that is:
- Normed by the Scriptures
- Shaped and led by prayer
- Embodied through regular acts of service
The implication is that these three things hare happening together. Not as a loosly connected group of individuals who happen to meet together on Sunday mornings and might get together for a meal every once and a while. How are we being shaped together…