Saturday, September 6, 2014

Missional 5: Gospel

There are two traps that await the overwhelming majority of Christians:
  1. A church full of the already-convinced, preaching a message designed for seekers who aren't there. (Joe Aldrich once called this "having a message but no audience" in Lifestyle Evangelism.)
  2. An "outside the four walls" ministry in our communities that does a lot of great serving, but for whatever reason, is unable to bridge that into sharing their faith. (What Aldrich called "having an audience but no message".)

If our desire is to be fully, functionally missional, neither of those options is open to us. We will have an audience, and we will have a message. If we are going have any integrity in our intent to be "on mission" with Jesus in the neighbourhood, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is part of the package.



Once again, I really appreciate the input of Pastor Mike from the Main & Plain on this:
  1. It's not about forcing "God-talk" on people in each and every conversation.
  2. It's living as "salt and light" (Matthew 5:13-16) as we build relationships and (as another New Yorker, George Mercado, used to say): "earn the right to be heard".
  3. To use another trendy term, it's being "intentional" as we live out the Kingdom by serving others. We are "on mission" with Jesus, and His mission was the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Some have suggested that having a desire to share the Gospel somehow taints our motives for being missional. Just serve and bless people without an evangelistic agenda, they say. I'd like to call Bull Cookies on that one. (Or see handy list of alternative euphemisms at right.)

Can you imagine suggesting that the miracles of Jesus were somehow devalued because of His teaching? "Y'know, Jesus, when You fed the five thousand, that was way cool. But then You started preaching, and that really cheapened the miracle."

His advisors would have face-palmed themselves into unconsciousness if they had visited Him in John 6, where Jesus got all theological with the crowd and the fruit of that decision was "many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him".

Would anyone like to seriously suggest that Peter's preaching after the events on the Day of Pentecost somehow cheapened the whole "tongues of fire" thing, or that the disciples shouldn't have shared the Message after any of the miracles that we read about throughout the book of Acts? They, like Jesus, were "on mission". So are we. Demonstration and proclamation of the Kingdom.
Missional becomes fully functional only when all five elements are in play: Lifestyle, Purpose, Engaging, Serving, and Gospel.

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