gentry13

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2005 at 1:59 pm

always ecclesiology

a few months ago i was chatting with a good friend who works at a mega-church (and constantly fails to return my calls, the e.o.e.er). toward the end of our conversation he openly questioned whether he could pursue the missio dei in his current environment. in his question i heard frustration with consumer christianity, which i most certainly share. however, somewhere below his frustration i might have also heard a misunderstanding of what “being missional” is all about (or at least, what i think it’s about).

i think “being missional” means that we consistently practice Christ’s compassion and hope in whatever place we happen to find ourselves. thus – and i intend no offense to my friend here…i love and respect him more than words can express – the question is never “can i be missional in this place,” but rather “how/why/to what degree/etc. am i practicing Christ’s compassion and hope in this particular place.”

my hunch is that getting this question right is quite important, for if we emergers are only able or willing to practice Christ’s compassion and hope in contexts that we choose (read: home churches, neo-monastic communities, and other non-institutional groups – basically anywhere but the traditional congregational structures and the much bemoaned ‘burbs where most americans live), our lives and ministries will impede the Kingdom of God we love, labor and long for most dearly.

if memory serves, when miah first introduced me to the concept of home churches and so provoked me to take the first step down this path, i told him that the home church concept was nothing but a lark, since congregational structures had been normative in america since the advent of our nation and they would likely maintain their pride of place until this sovereign union is nothing but a footnote of history. although my summary dismissal of home churches was foolish, i think that there is still a grain of truth in my assumption. i do not think that home churches or any of the other innovative forms of christian practice and ministry will ever surpass the importance of congregational churches in the american context. for this reason, i think we should both prepare ourselves to take our innovative, missional practice of the faith into congregational structures and focus a good deal of our energy on supporting and serving those who are laboring to practice the compassion and hope of christ in this particular context.

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