The Missional Value of Being Constant

It is one thing to have a mission and quite another to have a missional lens, where all activity is viewed through the lens of that mission, where all decision-making is filtered through the lens of the mission. It is one thing to have a mission hanging on the wall and another to work hard to align activity to that mission.

At the beginning of each calendar year, I remind our team of our mission and values, our identity that is beneath all the activity. I know the reminders are redundant, but redundancy is important in communication of mission and values. I recently met with all the managers and directors of the Resources Division at LifeWay, the division I am responsible to lead. We have nearly 650 employees in the division, and they all report to the leaders who were in that room. For five years we have lived with the same mission and values and have seen the impact on the culture of being crystal clear about our identity. As I shared recently, we have been intentional about driving mission and values into our culture. I asked our team about the impact of living with the same mission and values for a sustained season, and we identified many wins, including:

1. Attracting the right players

If mission and values are not part of the hiring process, you don’t really have a mission and values. You merely have a statement on a website or a brochure. When you really have a mission, it becomes central in recruiting. And because it is central, the wrong players are more likely to be filtered out and the right players, those already aligned, are more likely to surface.

2. Mutual accountability

When mission and values are really in a culture, the leaders are not the only ones holding people accountable. The whole team views the work through the lens of the mission and the values, and the culture holds people accountable. People remind each other of the values, and violations are called out because people want to protect the culture they love.

3. Increased enthusiasm

When tasks are viewed through the lens of mission, the enthusiasm that drives the execution increases. On the contrary, when people don’t see how tasks they are fulfilling are connected to a grand mission, the tasks feel more mundane and less meaningful.

4. Unity around mission

There is strength in a diverse team, particularly when the people are united around a mission that transcends the differences. People can only unite around a mission and values when they are continually made clear.

It is challenging to live with the same mission and values over a sustained period of time as we can so easily drift from rooting our activity in our identity. But doing so is well worth it.


Learn more about the importance of viewing everything through your mission lens. Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Eric.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Does Church Planting Relate to God’s Mission?

Every church involved in a new church, and every church planter starting one, needs to answer the question: what is church planting?

For some, the word planting comes across as insider language. In the sub-culture of the church planting world there is an entire language mostly unknown to the outside. We’ve all heard of planters talk about “doing a parachute drop church plant,” or “starting with a launch team.” What do these words even mean? More importantly, what is church planting about?

That’s an essential question, really.

Church Planting or Church Starting?

When we talk about church planting it can be a little different than church starting. What’s the difference? Well, I think church starting happens a lot of ways. The most popular church starting strategy involves a group of people getting mad, leaving their home church, and starting another church. In most cases I wouldn’t advise this strategy.

Church planting, on the other hand, involves an individual, mother church, and/or a group of people going out to start a church for the purpose of engaging a community through gospel proclamation and demonstration.

Church plating, unlike church starting, should/must be mission driven.

Church planting grows in the soil of lostness (hence “planting”) where men and women far from God are challenged with the claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ by a group of intentional believers.

Church Planting and Gospel Movements

Church planting is about planting the gospel. And growth in church planting comes from making disciples.

As such, any movement of churches that’s going to be serious about reaching the lost world is going to be involved in church planting. In fact, most of us who write in the field of mission believe that any movement or denomination desiring to grow through conversion should aim for at least a three percent rate of church planting every year. (Take a look– most growing groups and denominations have over that percent and most declining ones have under that percent.)

Think of it this way, if a movement has a hundred churches one year they need to plant three the next year– at the very least.

Church planting is essential to the growth of the Kingdom and the work of Christ through His church. The networks, movements, and denominations that are thriving are thriving because they’re planting new churches. The key thing to remember here is that church planting is reaching lost people through the making of disciples that then gather into congregations.

Planting and the Mission of God

How does church planting relate to the mission of God? The mission of God is bigger than church planting, but it certainly includes church planting. Why? You can’t love Jesus and despise His wife. The church is the bride of Christ, and if you love the work of Christ you love the church.

Now, you and I both know that the church is a mess sometimes. While the church is the stunning bride of Christ, she sometimes looks more like Shrek than she does beautiful. But again, you can’t love Jesus and hate His wife.

Ultimately if you’re going to love the mission of God, you have to love the church of God which is sent out for the mission of God. Ephesians 3:10 tells us God has chosen the church to make known His manifold wisdom. Therefore the church is the tool or instrument of His Kingdom agenda.

If you want to change the world, and if you want to see God at work in the world, plant change agent churches. I think anyone who loves Jesus and His church would, by extension, love and be about the mission of God proclaiming the gospel of Christ– and that is done effectively through church planting.

Conclusion

So is it the mission more than planting?

Yes, it certainly is more than that. Is every church that’s planted necessarily a good thing? No, there are always exceptions, but as a whole, I think church planting is integral to the advance of the Kingdom. And more church plants doing more of what God wants us to do is a good thing.

For this reason I think church planting and multiplication is so essential to the mission of God.

None of our churches should be a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission highway.

Instead, as we plant churches that plant churches that plant churches, the Kingdom advances. The gospel is preached, men and women become believers, churches are formed, and those churches become agents of gospel transformation.

So, want to be missional? Great– just don’t forget church planting.

Read more from Ed here.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Joel Sprenger — 07/14/13 12:40 am

My thoughts for what they are worth. - The problem with all church plants in a de-christianizing society like ours is that they compete with already existing churches. Actions speak louder than words and the action of planting a church speaks loudly to the pagans that we believe that God cares about our denomination and the teachings and practices that are unique there-to. There are very few Bible verses that say in effect 'believe thusly', not zero but very few. Compare that to the number of verses that say 'act thusly'. This should give us some idea of what is important to God. Something that I think would help the The Church immensely is if all believers would memorize John 17:20-23 right after they memorize John 3:16,

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Ways to Measure Missional Advance and Impact in Your Neighborhood

Over the past month, many people have heard about my “Jericho Road Moment.” That story is part of a bigger story this year where I’m praying and pursuing God’s kingdom work in my neighborhood and city with renewed initiative and intentionality. Over the past couple months, I’ve been working to gain greater clarity on how to make that happen.

Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into the world and make disciples. I believe, first and foremost, Jesus is speaking of cross-cultural engagement of unreached people groups. The thrust has an expansive, horizontal dimension no doubt. But, I also believe that the making of disciples has a depth dimension as well. Even in “reached” areas of our cities, there are many unreached and unengaged people. Let’s be honest: What percentage of our city is unengaged with the gospel? What percentage of people have any proximity to the kingdom of Christ?

A Helpful Diagnostic to Consider

In my city, we have 165,000 people. The best research I could find is that less than 10,000 belong to any church. That means 155,000+ people need the gospel of Jesus Christ. We dwell in the same city, but for all intents and purposes, they are strangers to me and every other Christian and church. When we are not on mission, the way a church “grows” is by shuffling some of the 10,000 when things don’t work out (transfer growth). It may give the appearance that we are reaching our city with the gospel when in reality we are simply receiving Christians who are either new to the area, or done with their previous church. We are skimming the surface with no missional depth to genuinely engage the city, evangelize the lost, and establish new disciples in the faith.

Here’s a helpful diagnostic to consider. How many non-Christians do you know on a first-name basis? How many of them would consider you a friend? What percentage of your relationship investments is with those who do not know Jesus Christ? How accessible are you to those in your world who do not know God? If the members of our church cannot, off the top of their heads, list 3-5 unbelievers they know, then we have missional atrophy. If the overwhelming percentage of relationship investments of church members are with other Christians, then it has become ingrown. If there are not pathways for pursuing those far from God in our lives, then we have put the Great Commission on the shelf to collect dust.

 

The Big Picture

What I’ve done to help me make sense is to answer the questions: What will it take for me to go deep into the unengaged sections of my city to make disciples of Jesus? How can I measure missional advance and impact? To help answer those questions, I have developed this city and neighborhood strategy:

» Strangers need to become Neighbors through missional intentionality.

» Neighbors need to become Acquaintances through incarnational integrity.

» Acquaintances need to become Friends through relational investment.

» Friends need to become Family through evangelical invitation.

» Family needs to become Missionaries through practical instruction.

When I begin, everyone outside of my church family are strangers to me. But when movement takes place, some will become neighbors. Over a period of time, and as deeper engagement takes place, more and more neighbors will become acquaintances, then friends, and then fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are trained to repeat the process. All of this, in my opinion, is discipleship.

Moving Downward for Gospel Advance

If we are going to make disciples of Jesus Christ, we have to go after “strangers.” Strangers, those far from God, will not be attracted to our Churches attractional efforts or events. We must go to where they are by pursuing them. This begins by having an intentional approach to ordinary living. If we are threads for kingdom fabric, we are to be woven into the heart of the city with everyday rhythms and networking strategies that introduce you to strangers and invite them to become neighbors. These rhythms include where you eat, when you play, how you shop, etc. The networking strategies have to do with purposeful attempts to connect with people on a repeated basis. (I will tease this out more in a follow up post).

> Strangers become neighbors when they know who you are and you know who they are. But the knowledge at this point is very superficial. A neighbor becomes an acquaintance when you begin to have a shared life through the integrity of your incarnational efforts. By that, I mean the sincerity of your words and consistency of your actions create a plausibility to neighbors that gives permission to share life through regular greetings, short conversations, etc.

> Acquaintances become friends when you make an intentional investment so that the rhythms of life with other people sync up so that a shared life is more than a casual conversation. You are in their homes, and they are in your home. You connect on a regular basis. They open up to you in ways that you understand the story of their lives, and as a good listener, learn how the story of the gospel can find redemptive bridges to cross into their world.

> Friends become family when you naturally share with your friends who you are and what is most important to you. You tell them your story and how God has made you new. And through the relationship investment, your friend feels safe asking questions and bringing up objections knowing they are not a project to fix or a sale to make. By seeing the impact of the gospel in your life and sharing the good news in everyday evangelistic conversations, friends are invited to brothers and sisters through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

> Family members become missionaries when they walk with you through life-on-life practical instruction on what it means to follow Jesus. They become fluent in the gospel and shaped by the reign of Christ when seeking first the kingdom of God. And they wrestle with the struggles and share in the successes together with you while joining you as a missionary in their neighborhood and city.

The Significance of This Strategy

There are two main aspects of this strategy that I want to highlight. First, you notice that most everything happens outside the main structures and/or events of the church. I am all about church gathered and recognize the need to do attractional church well, but very little Great Commission advance, in my opinion, is achieve by the “come and see” approach. Second, some may argue, “Why don’t you just preach to strangers and see them trust Christ then and there?” In other words, why don’t you go straight from stranger to family? From my experience, this kind of leap truncates discipleship and make converts, not disciples the goal. I have seen little lasting fruit from evangelism divorced from relationship, presence, and service to the community.

As I plan out my missional engagement to make disciples of Jesus, I want to evaluate the percentage of my relationship investment for gospel advance. How many strangers have become neighbors? How many neighbors can now be considered acquaintances? How many are moving toward becoming friends? Friends to family? Family to missionaries? Where there is no movement to go deep in the community, we will relegate the Great Commission to the swapping of sheep instead of making new disciples of Jesus. We are to be a pioneering people, not a privileged people. Let us go as those who are sent and preach as those who have a saving message, and love as those who have been adopted by our heavenly Father.

Read more from Timmy here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timmy Brister

In the “real world,” I am the founder and president of Gospel Systems, Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on creating and sustaining delivery systems for the advancement of the gospel around the world. In 2010, I started a delivery system called PLNTD – a network for church planting and revitalization focusing on resourcing, relational community, residencies in local churches, and regional networks. In 2012, I started an international delivery system call The Haiti Collective which focuses on equipping indigenous churches through church partnerships in order to care for orphans, make disciples, train leaders, and plant churches in Haiti. In addition to serving as the executive director of these organizations, I have served for 12 years in pastoral ministry with churches in Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida. My passion is to see healthy, growing churches take ownership of the Great Commission to the end that disciples are making disciples, leaders are developed and deployed, and churches are planting churches here and around the world. This is the driving passion of my life and prayer that God would be so glorified in making His name great in our generation.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Rev. Frank Beard — 10/02/13 12:28 pm

Great job, good insight!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Ways That Missional Feet are Made Beautiful

I’ve written extensively about the missional nature of the church and the theological background that undergirds that nature. God is, by His nature, a sender. There are rich theological implications to that reality.

But, sometimes I want it simple.

I just want missional feet.

In the Bible we read about “beautiful feet” (Romans 10:15). My feet are not beautiful, I assure you, in their human form. However, they are made more beautiful when they move—they go on mission—and are missional feet.

Here are four ways missional feet are made beautiful.

1. Missional feet go to proclaim the gospel.

That’s the point of the verse above. The beautiful feet in Romans are beautiful because they belong to those who preach the gospel to a lost world. These are feet that carry the messengers to their destinations on mission with God. Missional can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but if it does not include Jesus mission (who came, he said, “to seek and save the lost,”) we are not missional as Jesus was (Luke 19:10).

2. Missional feet go to serve the hurting.

When Jesus announced his public ministry, he did so by speaking on the hurting and the marginalized (see Luke 4:18-19). Then, later, he says, “As the father has sent me, so send I you” (John 20:21). The Bible is filled with admonitions toward serving the hurting and missional feet are feet in motion to the hurting.

3. Missional feet go to love the “other.”

The Bible is filled with themes about welcoming the outsider and stranger (Leviticus 19:33-34). Not only does God desire for us to welcome the stranger, we are also called to go to and love them– to love others. This requires intentional movement towards those that we would not regularly cross paths with (John 4:3-42). This also means that we intentionally love others when we receive no immediate return (James 1:17).

4. Missional feet go to others– together.

Mission is intricately tied to community. Actually, much of what I’ve already mentioned is made possible as we go with others. The writer of Hebrews explains that we are to “provoke one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). The language says a lot, we need some provocation to missional activation. And, that takes others.

At the end of the day, missional means we join Jesus on mission.

We go to them– the lost, the hurting, and the others– and we do it in Christian community. In doing this we not only love the world, but encourage one another.

In the Gospel of John we see the most moving passage concerning a theology of feet (13:1-17). In the loving act of washing his disciples’ feet Jesus proves his love for them, signifying the washing away of sins through his death. Moreover, Jesus sets an example of humility and servanthood. Don’t miss the sheer power of this image. In a culture where people walked long distances on dusty roads in sandals, the washing of people’s feet was considered to be a task reserved for slaves. It wasn’t the most appetizing of tasks.

As I said earlier, I do not have naturally beautiful feet. However, in Christ they are made beautiful. And the beauty of cleansed feet are put on display as we go on mission with God together. There are people all around us who are weary and broken, people who have endured hard paths in life. Following our Savior, let us serve them and point to the only one who can give them pure cleansing and true rest.

So while we are here, wandering in our temporary dwelling, let us use our feet to bring glory to Jesus. We know that one day we will fall at His feet in awe-inspiring worship. In light of our destination, let’s bring others with us as we journey that way.

Let’s have missional feet.

Read more from Ed here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Can Mega Be Missional, Part 4

When many hear the word megachurch, they think of polished productions, big personalities, an expansive building, stellar programs (lots and lots of programs), and crowded parking lots with orange-vested attendants. Maybe a great worship service that leaves you laughing, crying, or both. Or perhaps a creative children’s ministry– kind of a Jesus-meets-ChuckECheese type of place.

But there are megachurches in America that are undermining the stereotypical view of themselves– for the glory of God. I have already written of three realms where mega churches are making a missional impact. Today as I continue my series I will give you the final two of five realms.

Holistic Disciple Making

Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles to megachurches being missional is the ease with which individuals can simply blend into the large crowds, remaining faithful as attendees but disengaged from other members and uninvolved in service and outreach. However, some megachurches are reversing this trend by reorienting their members to the centrality of Jesus’ message: discipling people toward living their lives in outward ways, like missionaries.

For megachurches, a praxis style of discipleship is catching on, whereby seasoned servant/disciples are taking others hand in hand to the real places of ministry, quite often beyond the church campus itself. Teaching church members to live their lives from a missionary stance is 16,000-member Phoenix First Assembly in Arizona, which sends enthusiastic, well-organized teams to conduct more than a dozen outreaches, transform neighborhoods, and break the cycle of poverty and violence.

Through one ministry called Sponsor-a-Bus, Phoenix First Assembly picks up people for church– and nine bus routes operate throughout the week to serve the disabled, elderly, and nursing home residents often forgotten by society. Its independent fleet of 34 buses is recognized nationwide for serving the Phoenix metro area.

From my observations, some megachurches are training members to live with a 24/7 missional focus. That is encouraging to me.

Church Multiplication

A few years ago, the title “fastest-shrinking megachurch” may go to New Hope Christian Fellowship O’ahu in Honolulu, Hawaii, led by Wayne Cordeiro. Attendance was dropping like a rock. But Cordeiro seems pretty happy about it. On the surface, going from 12,000 weekend attendees to 9,200 may seem like decline. But by planting 83 new churches, New Hope continues to reseed itself by multiplying churches rather than adding to its own numbers. Cordeiro plans to plant New Hope’s 100th church by 2010.

In recent years, church planting has gained tremendous traction. And many megachurches are now embracing a missional vision for church multiplication. Notice I did not say church planting– these churches are not interested in simply planting one church at a time, but are leveraging their resources to multiply or plant several churches on an annual basis.

A prime example of a megachurch that engages in church multiplication is New York-based Redeemer Presbyterian led by Tim Keller. With an average weekly attendance in the thousands, it has participated in more than 100 church plants and sets aside millions for the Redeemer Church Planting Center. Redeemer is a model of local church leaders assuming significant responsibility for planting churches, not leaving the leadership to their denominations.

By making church planting a priority, some megachurches are discovering that growth is experienced on both sides– not only do daughter churches see new growth, but involved mother churches are also seeing their members strengthened to reach more unchurched members of their community.

In my next blog in the series I will wrap up the discussion for now.

Read the previous posts from this series: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.

Read more from Ed here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Popular Perspectives on Church in the Last 50 Years (and How the Term “Missional” Fits In)

A pastor friend sent me an e-mail yesterday asking for some guidance with a missional book  reading list by Sentralized. As I typed a response, I sent him a chapter that puts “missional” in perspective of how we think about church. I wanted to make that chapter available to you for free.

Here is a chart that the chapter is based on (from page 29 of Church Unique). As I addressed church vision and model-making in 2007, I felt that church leaders needed a thoughtful and simple critique of the Church Growth Movement. Most importantly, I thought they needed a baseline understanding of “missional” and what it means for culture-shaping and vision-casting today. In fact, one of the final possible titles for the book was “Missional Vision.” But we decided to introduce “missional” in the subtitle instead.

You should read this chapter if you:

  • Want a simple definition and explanation of what “missional” means
  • Cut your teeth on ministry within the Church Growth Movement
  • Get confused by all of the category complexity in labeling church stuff
  • Think the idea of “ministry vision” is tainted today
  • Enjoy tension in talking about church models
  • Wonder whether or not your church should be growing
  • Just love the topic of the missional church

FREE CHAPTER – This is Chapter 3 of Church Unique, entitled “The Iniquity of Church Growth”-  Chapter 3: ChurchGrowth vs. Missional

If you find the chapter helpful, please let the folks at Sentralized know. Maybe they will add it to their list.

QUESTION: Let me know the single most helpful book you read in understanding the missional church. I’ll tell you mine in a follow-up post.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Can Mega Be Missional?, Part 1

Today, I begin a new blog series to continue an ongoing dialogue. And make no mistake this dialogue is important. What I hope we gain together are sound principles of what makes a church missional— anytime, anywhere, any size. Even greater, I hope you see where your church is un- or under-engaged in the mission of God– and make clear plans to take concrete steps forward.

This summer, while not at my church, I’ve preached at a few megachurches– James River Assembly of God (Springfield, MO), Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis), and will be at Christ Fellowship (Miami) this Sunday. At every place the question was discussion, “How can we live on mission more effectively?” They wanted to live on mission while being a megachurch. Megachurches want to be missional.

Another outcome I’d love to see the end of “class envy” and “class superiority” in all sized churches. Some small churches or anti-megas believe large churches are blight on America. In turn, some mega churches sneer at small churches with a spirit of superiority because any church in America smaller than them “just doesn’t get it.”

We need each other! The enemy is not another church– the enemy is the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-17). And if it takes all kinds of churches to reach all types of people then we all have a unique place in God’s mission. Paul gave a principle that supports our need for each other to the Romans:

For I want very much to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Now I want you to know, brothers, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as among the rest of the Gentiles. (Romans 1:11-13 HCSB)

With that being said, let me get to the start of the argument: I think it is harder (in some ways) to be missional when you’re a megachurch because you have a tendency to maintain the monument you’ve created. There’s this self-sustaining structure that has to be continued.

Megachurches face unique challenges in being truly missional— yet they also have the opportunity to rally people for substantive impact. Recent research shows that megachurch attendees are more involved and engaged in many ways, which I will address, but there are issues that distract megachurches from mission as well.

Of course, smaller churches in inner cities and in rural communities do as well. I’ve written on that frequently.

However, I am going to focus on megachurches for a bit. Why? Because a bias against megachurches has emerged that does not always represent reality. At times, some look to people in megachurches as mindless, consumer-encoded automatons who are unable to think for themselves or to live on mission. Lined up like robots sitting in rows each Sunday, they just love the show. And they love the goods and services offered by their Super Wal-Mart that has driven the local “mom and pop” churches to the verge of extinction.

There may be megachurches that have some of those traits. However, I know many megachurch pastors, and it’s not their passion or direction to drive other churches out of business. They are deeply burdened to lead their churches on mission into their community and the world.

Now, to be fair, I also know some megachurches pastors who feel like it is their passion and desire to be the unquestioned leader. I also know some are highly competitive, driven leaders. And so there’s some dysfunction in megachurch world. I get that. But, my point is that there are a lot of megachurches that are asking the right questions and focused on the right issues.

So, let me add that I do think there’s certain arrogance among some anti-megachurchers. Too many of them just refuse to think anything good can come from the megachurch– they’ve already made up their mind, perhaps because they have been burned along the way.

So, full disclosure: I have a great appreciation for what God is doing through many megachurches. To be fair, that is usually my posture– I am not that perpetual contrarian looking for somewhere to point my finger. But, I think that many are just too knee-jerk on their reactions. Megachurches are like all churches– imperfect and flawed– but I want to look at how some are seeking to be more missional.

Every five years or so someone new announces that the era of the megachurch is over. And yet every five years there are more of them. So, my question is, can we engage the mega movement without selling our missional souls?

If you have a group of people who gather together to listen to Bible teaching and that’s the only thing that they do, you’ve created a room full of consumers– whether it has 20 seats or 20,000 seats. But if instead you take that opportunity to help them move from being customers to co-laborers, and you have intentional strategies and processes to do that, I think the end result is that you can have a church that intentionally leads people to be on mission for the gospel. That’s true in a small church or a megachurch.

So can mega be missional? I think that’s like asking can small be missional, or can middle be missional? The right question is “What does the missional church look like?” And “what are your unique obstacles to being missional in your context?” I think all of us live imperfectly in light of the mission of God, but I think megachurches must exhort people to live on that mission, and there are some that are.

Stay tuned.

Read Part 2 of this series here.

For information on what I (and many others) mean by “missional,” click here.

Read more from Ed here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Can Mega Be Missional, Part 3

Yes, there are problems to the megachurch (and problems to the small, medium, etc.). Any institution or organization that grows large will battle mission and values drift. But today as I continue my series I want to give you some opportunities that megachurches provide for missional ministry. I introduced the first missional realm (community involvement and transformation) where mega churches can engage in last week’s post. Today we will look at two more of those realms.

Now, I should add that this is in addition to how christians, in small groups or individually, live out God’s mission. That “missional life” must trump all designs of missional church (mega or mini). However, my question here is, “Can Mega be Missional?”

Here are two more ways that I think churches can engage in missional ministry. They are drawn from some past research and writing combined with some new information.

Global Ministry

True missional engagement isn’t about being trendy (i.e. the pastor with the goatee and cool glasses). It involves joining God in His mission both locally and globally. Going forward, many megachurches seem to be taking Jesus’ words from Acts 1:8 to heart– that we are to witness of His glory in both local (Jerusalem) and global (uttermost parts of the earth) settings– and utilizing their strength and influence toward that end.

That’s what can happen when a megachurch focuses on not only increasing its own size and numbers but on investing its God-given resources for the purpose of extending His Kingdom around the world. I pray this kind of global leadership initiative will largely characterize the megachurches of the future.

But significant global awareness and influence is also happening at the local level. As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diversified, I see many megachurches claiming their role as Gospel ambassadors and cultural anthropologists.

In Pensacola, Florida, the 10,000-member Olive Baptist Church is focused on reaching diverse ethnicities within its community. As Pastor Ted Traylor encourages the church to be missional, he models that concept with a multicultural staff of Hispanic, Russian, and Chinese pastors. The church identified key people groups to intentionally reach, and then they hired staff that spoke each language and understood each culture to show the church’s commitment to taking the Gospel to all ethnicities. Whether through beginning a global initiative or diversifying ethnic presence within the congregation, megachurches are on the forefront of pushing churches to heed Christ’s call to go therefore into the world and make disciples of all nations.

I just finished an article, out soon in Outreach magazine, that talks about how megachurches are adopting unreached people groups– not just to send a one-time mission team, but to create a long term partnership plan where the church adopts and then acts as a missionary to reach that unreached people.

Apostolic Networking

More and more megachurches understand they are not called to be kings of the mountain. Rather, the Lord has blessed them so that they can bless their communities and incrementally reproduce their talents through other churches. Many megas are doing this by networking outside their church–a methodology called “apostolic networking”–or acting as a key leader of a network that partners in new missional endeavors.

This kind of megachurch collaboration is an increasingly prevalent theme that will carry into the future. Convening best practices and a wealth of diverse experience around a common table produces rich and strategic alignments, in turn providing new leadership and new means of collaboration.

As I’ve studied this changing paradigm, I’ve noticed many megachurches partnering with other smaller churches by freely sharing their vast supply of resources and experience–developing training venues, church-planting networks, outwardly focused seminars and conferences, and online training for other churches. They’re making their staff members and resources available to other leaders and churches all over the world. I predict these strategic partnerships will only increase, replacing the competitive mindsets of the past.

Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois, is a prime example of leveraging influence not for its own means or renown but to extend the Kingdom of God. As an outflow of this megachurch’s exponential growth and the increasing number of pastors nationwide who wanted to learn from its success, the Naperville-based NewThing network emerged to coach other pastors in church planting and multi-site strategies. Founding pastors Dave and Jon Ferguson lead their venture with this mission: “To be a catalyst for a movement of reproducing churches relentlessly dedicated to helping people find their way back to God.”

Next week I will unpack the two final missional realms. But for now, which realm relates the most to you church? What further steps can you take into that realm?

See Part 2 of this series here.

Read more from Ed here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Apostolic Road Map

Why I do the things I do.

Many people ask me whether there is some reason and logic of my various writings or whether they are random reflections on various subjects related to the missional church. Given that with the publication of The Permanent Revolution in February, I have completed my “library” of missional books, I thought that it is well worth explaining the rationale for my authorship to this stage. So for those who are interested, this is how it goes….

The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church is really a foundational book and is considered seminal in setting the incarnational-mission conversation in the West. It really is scaffolding with which we can go about reconstructing our way of being along missional lines. It covers areas of incarnational mission, messianic spirituality, and innovative leadership, but redesigns these clearly along missional lines. I believe that the ideas therein are as valid as ever, and Baker is drafting a second, fully updated, edition as I write, so look for it. However, it is worth saying that it was written to help church planters to think like missionaries in the West as the assumptions behind the more formulaic church growth type approaches were no longer valid in our context. This has proved more and more true as we have advanced into the 21st Century. I have to admit that we (Mike and I) never expected the established church would take it seriously. The intended pioneering audience, along with the keen sense of urgency with which we wrote the book, can explain the overly revolutionary tone of the book…an element I correct somewhat in my later work On The Verge.

The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church to be my centerpiece book…in many ways my magnum opus. The heart of this book is what can be called a “phenomenology of apostolic movement.” In other words, what factors come together to generate high impact, exponentially explosive, spiritually vibrant, Jesus movements in any time and context. Because of its systematic and somewhat comprehensive nature (it identifies a system of six elements called mDNA arranged in a dynamic system) it acts as the organizing ideas that guide the rest of my writings. As I have become more and more convinced of the validity of the core ideas laid down in this book I committed myself to elaborate on these in the six books that follow. Readers of my other works should always have this as the guiding reference work.

The book ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church (with Mike Frost) is all about the central and definitive role that Jesus plays in all movements that claim his name. It is a serious elaboration of the element (called an mDNA) in The Forgotten Ways which I tagged as ‘Jesus is Lord!’ In this serious book we explain why we believe that it is primarily Christology that must define the core nature, purpose, and mission of the church. We are a messianic movement after all. Therefore all renewal must in the deepest possible sense involve a recovery of the role and significance of Jesus for discipleship, spirituality, theology, community, and mission.

My book Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship (with my beloved wife Deb) takes a somewhat different approach to the standard spiritual disciplines or teaching the ‘heads of doctrine’ approach to discipleship and formation. While not denying the validity of these, we suggest that certain things, ideas, and relationships intrude themselves into the God-relationship and block our capacity to be all that Jesus intended us to be. We believe that by identifying these hindrances, and moving beyond them, opens us up to becoming impactful followers of Jesus. Essentially it is an anatomy of modern idolatry and an exploration of what we call Shema spirituality—understanding the nature of dynamic monotheism, loving God with all that we are, and our neighbors as self. This book elaborates on the mDNA of discipleship and disciple-making. It is designed to be very accessible to Christians wanting to grow in their love of God.

Right Here Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People (with Lance Ford) is pretty much as the title suggests. As an elaboration of the mDNA of incarnational mission, it is a very practical book about how to get (and stay) engaged in everyday mission and make a Kingdom difference in the various arenas of life. Anyone should be able to read and engage the ideas in this book. In many ways it aims at activating the whole people of God (and not just leadership) into the missional equation. This is a huge missing piece in terms of movement dynamics.

My latest offering, The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church is the book that focuses on the nature of ministry and leadership within (and for) apostolic movements. Coming out in February 2012, the book focuses on apostolic leadership in particular, but it does so within the broader context of fivefold gifting complex set out by Paul in his foundational work on ecclesiology…Ephesians. It’s a big book in every way; weighty in content, unavoidable in its logic, and provides a strongly dissenting alternative to the prevailing forms of leadership in the church. It is likely to be a pretty controversial but will hopefully recalibrate the way we think about, and do, ministry and leadership in the 21st Century. It correlates to the mDNA of apostolic environment in The Forgotten Ways.

My book On the Verge: The Future of the Church as Apostolic Movement, written with mega-church, multi-site, church planting movement leader Dave Ferguson, is all about organizational dynamics and change particularly as it relates to established, and relatively successful, forms of contemporary church (although it is by no means limited to them.) The book is thoroughgoing exploration of the nature of paradigms and paradigmatic change, change management and process, innovation of new forms and ideas, and of creating movement dynamics in large and complex systems. This is at least in part an elaboration on the mDNA of Organic Systems.

The Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage (once again with Mike Frost) started as a project to simply elaborate the mDNA of Communitas—that form of togetherness/communality that happens in the context of an ordeal, danger, risk, and challenge. But we soon realized that it meant that we had to look more deeply at the nature of adventure, risk, and courage and how it changes the equation of church, discipleship, spirituality, leadership, and yes…even our most basic theology. Its an exciting book with huge implications for how we ought to think of ourselves and how we should act in the world.

And lastly, but by no means least, there’s The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches. Written with the help of my old friend and collaborator Darryn Altclass, this book is meant to be as thoroughly practical as the primary text The Forgotten Ways is theoretical. It is a literal cornucopia of suggestions, ideas, practices, and possibilities that can embed missional ideas and a movemental ethos in local churches and organizations. Designed for group work and discussion, it is a great compliment to both the primary text and On The Verge.

I think that with the above output, I have produced the necessary material that God has commissioned me to do at this stage of my life. I wholeheartedly believe that the form of the church that will advance the cause of Jesus in the 21st (and reverse the decline of the church at the same time) is that of the apostolic movement with all its spiritual dynamism and missional energy. But our imaginations have become so captive to a more static and more regulated form of the church. All these books, read individually, but especially when taken together, present a comprehensive, alternative, primal, vision of the church as a dynamic, high-impact, spiritually authentic, and sustainable, people movement in the Way of Jesus our Founder.

Read more from Alan here.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Hirsch

Alan Hirsch

ALAN HIRSCH is the founding director of Forge Mission Training Network. Currently he co-leads Future Travelers, an innovative learning program helping megachurches become missional movements. Known for his innovative approach to mission, Alan is considered to be a thought-leader and key mission strategist for churches across the Western world. Hirsch is the author of The Forgotten Ways and The Forgotten Ways Handbook; co-author of The Shaping of Things to Come, ReJesus and The Faith of Leap. (with Michael Frost); Untamed (with Debra Hirsch); Right Here, Right Now (with Lance Ford): On the Verge (with Dave Ferguson); The Permanent Revolution (with Tim Catchim) His experience includes leading a local church movement among the marginalized, developing training systems for innovative missional leadership, and heading up the mission and revitalization work of his denomination. Alan is co-founder and adjunct faculty for the M.A. in Missional Church Movements at Wheaton College (Illinois). He is also adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary, George Fox Seminary, among others, and he lectures frequently throughout Australia, Europe, and the United States. He is series editor for Baker Books’ Shapevine series , IVP’s Forge line, and a contributing editor of Leadership Journal.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Are You Missional?

In the book Live Sent: You Are a LetterJason Dukes lays out 10 questions to help Christians discern whether or not they are operating with a missional mindset. I’ve adapted and explained them below. Challenging words!

1. When you speak of church, what prepositions do you use?

Do you focus on church as a place or event more than a people who are sent?

2. When you think of missions, do you think of a mission trip to a distant city and a service project in your own community or do you think about daily life among your family, neighbors, and coworkers?

The answer should be both. Living sent means you are a missionary in your everyday encounters.

3. What is your common declaration about lost people around you? “Can you believe the way those people act?” OR “When can you come over for dinner?”

Hospitality is a key to living sent.

4. Is my tendency to disengage from culture and retreat into safer, more Christian environments? Or is it to engage culture even amidst discomfort and danger?

We must be among lost people in order to be an effective witness.

5. When you hear “make disciples,” do you think of a classroom or your relationships?

We should be equipped to disciple people in the daily routine of life, not just the classroom.

6. Do you spend a lot of time wondering whether you should quit your job to surrender to ministry? Or do you simply live to minister to anyone and everyone where you are currently?

Pastoral ministry is vitally important, but too many Christians are unaware that they too are involved in ministry to the people around them.

7. When you think of a friend who needs help, do you think, “I need to get him to see the pastor” OR “I wonder what I can do to help”?

Pastors are to equip God’s people to do the work of the ministry, not be the only ones who minister and witness to the lost.

8. When you think of heaven, do you think “kingdom come” or “kingdom is here”?

As people who believe the kingdom is both now and not yet, we ought to live as people who are the “presence of the future.”

9. Do you think godliness is measured with a mirror or within community?

Introspection (the mirror) is not the only way we become holy before the world. Jesus said people would see our fruit through our love for and life with other believers. “An intimate, shared life with God is most clearly demonstrated in intimate, shared life with one another.”

10. Do you have a lost friend who would actually introduce you as his or her friend?

If we are to live sent the way the sent One intended, then we must have genuine friendship with the lost too.

 

 


Download PDF

Tags:

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.