Yep, you knew it would happen sooner or later. After a few weeks of craziness, I thought we would kick the posts off again. There are times that I miss it and other times where I'm simply glad that I don't have blog posts on my "to do" list. Besides the point, after a much needed time away at a location in the world where cell phone and internet access is DENIED, here's some things to encourage you today:
I like Mike Breen…I don't know him personally but I have been encouraged by 3dm ministries, his books and his "tribe" (those who are involved in the 3dm world). I have been blessed by his wisdom and the experiences that God has enabled him to reflect on for the exhortation of the broader Body of Jesus. Faith communities everywhere can find some truths to be challenged by through Mike's ministry. Here's some stuff that Mike wrote recently on faith communities that are "mission-driven"…key aspects that are "musts" in that lifestyle (I'll post some comments along the way in RED):
- Size of an extended family. A missional family is best understood in the range of 20-50 people, as it is small enough to care but large enough to dare. From much experience, I’d say it can be difficult to sustain long-term missional activity for a group smaller than this. In our faith community here in Monroe, we are attempting to live this type of life as an ENTIRE community rather than atempting to build into our mission some type of "small group" or other "extended family" type of gathering. In smaller faith communities it appears to me that it is necessary to see the DNA of being mission-driven affect and effect every relationship within the community in order to make disciple-making a key value. To be an "extended family" that is challenged repeatedly through visioning, teaching, encouragement, modeling and coaching is what our faith community is attempting to actualize.
- UP/IN/OUT. Intentionally lives out the three dimensions of Jesus’ life. UPward dimension of life with the Father, INward dimension of life with the Body of Christ together, OUTward dimension of fully stepping into a broken world. At Peace, this is the methodology that we adopted as a community. We didn't start out by simply saying, "let's just borrow somebody else's articulation of ministry values/lifestyle commitments." We spent over a year reading, praying, conversing and sharing some of how we perceived the Spirit's activity was alive and well in our midst. Then, after kicking around a number of different words, we actually arrived at the same verbal destination as Mike articulates above…IN, OUT, UP…Growing in Jesus, Growing with each other, and Growing in mission/ministry…not only a snapshot of how a faith community is called to live but also how each disciple can "look" in actualizing the promise of God that "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6)."
- Clear mission vision. Who is this Missional Community trying to bring the Kingdom of God to? The most successful MC’s have a very clear answer that could only be true of their group. Peace does…our vision is only driven by our purpose – to make disciples…disciples discipling others…that's what we have embraced as our mission.
- Lighweight/Low maintenance. If the Missional Community can’t be led by people with normal 9-5 jobs who aren’t paid to do it, it’s not lightweight and low maintenance enough. It’s got to be simple and reproducible. Every person HAS TO BE A "PLAYER" in how God's "economy" works…as a friend of mine says, "it is the POWER and NECESSITY of the WE." Unless the mission is driven by every gifted and called and chosen disciple in the community, the church will continue to be personality driven and a place to "come to" exclusively at the expense of the call to "go and make disciples." No person is exempted…all are called, gifted and chosen!
- Accountable leaders. The person(s) leading the Missional Community need to be accountable to others so there exists a dynamic of low control and high accountability. It’s one thing to say you hold people accountable, it’s another thing to do this well. This too is important…leaders need to be visible, able to coach and mentor those in the community in faithful and mission-driven living and challenged to take their roles seriously in not only shaping but embedding the necessary DNA.
So there you go…post one after a couple of week's break!