Archive for October, 2013

Please Make Missional Simple. What do we DO?

Please Make Missional Simple.  What do we DO?

In practice, Missional Church must be kept super-simple,  or at least as simple as possible.  One of its goals is always multiplication of mission –  disciples becoming disciples who make disciples who make disciples.  Complex things don’t multiply.  There is no one right way to do this, but what I am posting below has worked for us time and time again.  Importantly, it has also transformed our “mother-ship” church to a large degree.  It will never be perfect, but there has been tremendous movement both in the mission field and in the church.  There is a whole bucket-load of theology behind the steps below, but people don’t ask me for the theology as much as for the way to get moving.  So here’s an algorithm, a set of steps to take and make your own.  My sincere suggestion is that you try to learn the steps first, then innovate.  But then, that’s up to you.  So here you go.  12 simple steps.  If you want to know the theological “why?”, I would be happy to have that conversation on here.  So feel free to comment away.  Have fun!

1)      Pray. Fast. Pray. Get a couple of Christ-followers with the spiritual gift of prayer, and walk through your mission field and pray for houses and families and people and alleys and street corners. Then pray some more.

2)      Get at least one Christ-follower from your church to go with you in the mission. If you don’t go to church, get a Christ-follower from whatever Christ-following group you hang out with.

3)      Find the “Person-on-the-Ground” who will tell you what is needed in that mission field, where to find the people in need, and when to find them. That person is out there.  The Holy Spirit put them out there to help you get started. Get them to agree to help you launch the mission.  Ask them where to meet her/him and when.  Don’t be disappointed if he/she no-shows.  They have already done what the Holy Spirit put them there to do.

4)      Get at least two people who are not Christ-followers and who do not go to church to agree to go with you into the mission.  Tell them, “I need your help to do some good for these people.”  Do not mention Jesus at this point.  Just invite them to help you do some good. Then let them help you do what you do better.  Let them have genuine impact.

5)      Go to your church and see what resources they are willing to invest in your mission.  Invite anyone in the church to help you.  Get your non-believers to go back to their tribes and nations to do the same.

6)      Gather your people at the mission site.  Tell a Bible story that relates to your mission.  Don’t READ a Bible story, tell it from memory.  Ask the people to look for that story as they serve in the mission.  Have a prayer for protection and for those who serve and are served. Set them loose to be subject and object.

7)      Launch.  Hand out the food or clothing or blankets.  Learn the names of those you serve and call them by name.  Have a conversation with anyone who will have a conversation with you.  A NORMAL conversation.  Ask them if there’s anything they need prayer for in their life.  If they say, “No”, ask them to include you in their prayers when they pray (be specific in your request if you can).  If they say, “Yes”, then offer to pray for them right then.  Tell everyone to invite their friends in need next time.

8)      Anyone that you pray with, ask to stay and help you.  If they can’t, ask them to come and help the next time.  Some of them will. Let them make genuine impact on what you do and how you do it.  Let them make your mission better. Invite them to pray with people.  Many of them will.

9)      At the end, re-gather your team and those who stayed to help.  Ask them to say something about how their experience impacted them.  What did they see that changed the way they think about something? Whose names did they learn? What touched their heart?  How do they feel?  Then connect their responses back to the story you told at the beginning.

10)   Ask all your helpers to come back the next time and to bring a friend with them.  Ask them to bring whatever resources they can get their hands on.

11)   Your team is now part of your congregation AND part of the mission.  So minister to them.  And become friends with them.  ALL of them. Live your life with them.  Invite them into your life.  Do this for no other reason than that you need friends. Kingdom conversations will begin to happen on their own, but feel free to smuggle the Kingdom into everything.

12)   Begin to look for adjacent mission fields (Other needs near your mission site, or other needs of the people you are serving).  Begin to apprentice your replacement at the mission site right away.  As soon as possible, give that mission away to your apprentice and take two of those people and start something new in one of the adjacent mission fields.

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Something to Celebrate!

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Something to Celebrate

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 ~ Jesus of Nazareth, a 1st Century Mediterranean Peasant, … and the risen Son of God

We do a lot of baptisms, and we make our share of disciples.  Our emphasis in discipling is that disciples make disciples or they are not disciples at all.  Our disciples are discipled to seek and live the Kingdom, and to invite others to seek and live it with them.  In a couple of weeks, something encouraging is going to happen.  It isn’t our victory except as it is a Kingdom victory and we are seeking to be citizens of that Kingdom.  We are going to baptize our first fourth generation disciple. We have seen other fourth and fifth generation disciples made, but this is the first who has decided to go public with his faith in our mothership community. A disciple that I discipled, discipled someone else to disciple someone else.  That someone else is this someone.  And this someone is now discipling others to disciple others.  He and the guy who discipled him have started mission and started Bible studies among people from their tribe.  All of these people were transformed in the mission, transformed by the mission.  Their eyes were opened to the Kingdom that was present in the mission.

This young man has faced persecution in his home.  His parents are militant atheists who have persecuted him for reading his Bible and for taking it seriously.  His faith has caused tremendous tension in his nuclear family. He has lost many of his rocker friends over his faith and the change that it has made in his life.  So, for him, this has not been an easy journey.  I will be posting his faith statement after his baptism, but I just can’t stop rejoicing today. I just had to shout, “Alleluia!!”.  The change in this young man is a true miracle, and we have had the unbelievable opportunity to witness it, and to know who to thank.

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What changed? Nothing…and Everything

What changed? Nothing…and Everything

Some folks gathered on July 4, 1776 and signed their names to a document that we call the “Declaration of Independence”. So, what changed on July 5, 1776? Well…nothing…and everything. (Thank you, Dr. Richard Crane). The world didn’t change, but people put on a new set of glasses through which they understood themselves, their predicament, their allegiances, their priorities, and their place in the universe. People who claimed those words as being for them began to live in a new way. And that brought conflict because it threatened the authority of the king of England. In a way, we are still experiencing the dawn of the words of that document…moving closer and closer to what it represents. With each step closer those words bring conflict…and freedom. Jesus stood up in the Temple and said these words: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…. Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So, what changed on that day? Nothing…and EVERYTHING. When we claim these words as being words for us, we put on a new set of glasses through which we view everything…and we live in a new way, as if we are born again. And that, too, brings conflict…and REAL freedom.