The Principle of Movement

The Principle of Movement

In our journey here, we have (for the most part ) stopped counting things.  Our denomination still sends us a report form that asks incredibly irrelevant questions of numbers in worship, Sunday School attendance, and dollars given to the denomination for them to waste on asking questions like these.  But we have mostly stopped counting things.  That, however, doesn’t mean that we don’t notice things or that numbers are completely irrelevant.

The overarching project of discipleship for us is to make disciples who makes disciples, and to have as many of those disciples as possible be sent out to initiate Kingdom activity in the tribes and nations that they came out of.  We have come to understand that there are certain changes – “movements” – that happen in people with enough regularity that we have become very interested in making sure that we are intentional in inspiring, nurturing, and facilitating those missions and activities where these movements regularly take place.  We DO NOT force these to happen.  We simply look for them and encourage them, and celebrate them when they occur. We mark them. We have come to understand that even though these movements will appear linear when we try to describe them, they really are more quantum than they are linear.  Folks jump around in them like wells in the desert.  We call that jumping around, “Simple Missional Church” (SMC).  I know that others have used that term, too…but we use it this way.

There are five movements that we look for and celebrate:

  • Subject and Object of Mission
  • Mission to Friendship
  • Friendship to Discipleship
  • Discipleship to Leadership
  • Leadership to Apostleship

I will try to explain them over the next several blog posts.

The Movement from Object to Subject:  This is the most life-changing, paradigm-shattering movement that a soul in the mission can make.  And the movement happens in both directions.  Everyone who is served is invited intentionally to come back and help us serve in an impactful way.  And everyone who serves is encouraged and invited to be served.  Of those whom we invite, SOME will come back and help us serve.  SOME.  Get used to that term.  That’s about as specific as we can get.

It is just as crucial a movement to become the object of mission as to become the subject of it.  We invite privileged people to come into the mission and help us change lives…to make a difference.  And of those who come with us to do that, SOME will find themselves changed by their encounter with the people they thought they would change.  For SOME, there is a humbling…a leveling…a making straight the way of the Lord.  So the first observable movement is Object to Subject and Subject to Object.  This back and forth movement in the mission is what we call “Participation in the Kingdom”.  This is the most important movement. As such, THIS is where we invite people to join us.  This movement is the place of our initial invitation.  Of those who do mission with us, SOME will be changed by it and will move from Object to Subject and back again.  SOME.

The Movement from Mission to Friendship:  Mission creates a different kind of friendship.  Shared hardship creates different criteria for affinity than simply “I like this person”.  When you come to rely on one another to accomplish something that is bigger and more important than either one of you, it creates a unique kind of bond.  When you operate in a dangerous environment and you rely on another person to have your back, that creates a unique kind of friendship.  The focus is the mission, not the friendship.  You work together to accomplish the mission, and the friendship falls into place in the wake of that activity and effort.  We don’t work on the friendship as the object of our efforts.  “I rely on you” is a really different gig than “I like you and we like the same kind of people together”. Disciples manage their relationships according to the needs of the mission.  They don’t manage the mission according to needs of maintaining their friendships.  These friendships are nurturing, but they are also accountable; accountability is what makes these friendships incredibly resilient.

Of those with whom we do mission, SOME will become our friends.  We will live life together with them.  Not just mission life.  All of life.  We break bread together.  Our kids play together.  We burden one another’s hearts.  And we pray together.  We nurture each other and we hold each other accountable.  SOME will become our friends.

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