It is hard to truly understand what it means for people to change. Change has to do with purposely embracing disequilibrium…it is actually walking around with “dis-ease”, feeling like your world is falling apart as you enter a new world. If there is one thing I’ve learned about studying the story of Moses and the people of the Exodus is that God had to take the children of Israel through the crucible of the wilderness to prepare them for a new life. Deconstruction was what it took to transform a slavery oriented people into a free, responsive people…people who listened not with fear to their taskmasters but who responded in love and obedience to Yahweh.
As followers of Jesus enter a “new frontier” of missional ministry, there will naturally be fears that have to be confronted. Moving into a new paradigm is not easy…to move from primarily being “inreach oriented with occasional outreach programs” to being a community that is “outreach oriented with occasional inreach programs” is a HUGE step. When we no longer depend on an Attractional methodology for our ministry but move into an incarnational model where followers of Jesus are imbedded in relationships for the purpose of transformation and redemption…things are bound to get a bit confusing.
Hugh and Matt state this complexity in this manner:
“There’s no way to avoid it…it’s right in step with God’s usual way of engaging his mission…He just packs light. He loves to trim off anything that would slow us down, hinder us, or make the journey more difficult. Sometimes that includes people, just like when he thinned out Gideon’s army. Sometimes that includes assets, possessions, and material concerns…sometimes that includes…those things that have brought us internal security, acceptance, and pride. Bottom line: The incarnational way doesn’t come easy, at any level…we have to remember that the ancient faith communties that set the course to change the history of the world did so without church programs, without paid staff, without web sites, and without brochures, blogs, or buildings. Then were lean!”
“As soon as you suggest that this new journey will include some genuinely “lost” people from the world in your church; or that they may have to open their homes once a week to create small communities; or that you may change the service time to accommodate searching souls; or change a little music; or let “nonbelievers” be involved in church activities; or give up their seating spot; or dive deeply into the life and activities of the culture around them, you’ll see the claws begin to come out.”
Change can be brutal…but that’s what God wants…look at the scriptural witness and you’ll see the same as I have seen – God calls for, longs for, and inspires NEW life. So, if God looks for us to “trim our lives” to be able to be ready for mission, what is it in YOU that you may need to trim? What are the essentials that you need to be ready for the leading of Jesus in a new way?
More to come tomorrow…