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Mission & Community

May 17, 2017 at 13:55

 

Dear Friends

Recently a friend contacted me very excited to have found true "ekklesia" according to 1 Corinthians 14:26 and asking me to watch a video..   So I watched the video.  It was an interesting study in cultural blindness- folks under a religious leader dressed in special clothes doing a participatory  meeting while sitting in a circle of chairs in an old religious building believing they were following the Corinthians while seemingly unaware that the Corinthians context was a shared meal in a home with no professional leader.  

This was one of several  recent and ongoing discussions about how to do "church".  Yes, participatory is better than rows of consumers staring at a talking head but discussions of the merits of various models of doing church miss the whole point.

The command and example of Jesus was to make disciples by training them to do all that He commanded.  To that end, we are told three times that He sent away the crowds to invest in the 12.  Training is a small group, relational, on the job process.  How disciples made through that process express community will vary from culture to  culture.  

A very telling reality is that disciples of Jesus are multiplying the most rapidly in areas of the world that are the most hostile to Christianity.  These areas cannot import a model of expressing community or to be more precise, they cannot import the building based, professional leader,  congregational model.  They must create an expression of community that serves the mission of making disciples in their  cultural context.  That is why Jesus placed mission and discipleship in the context of the home of the person of peace.

First is obedience to Jesus in making disciples.  Mission is first.  

Then comes training to do all that Jesus commanded.  Learning Jesus is second.

Then Jesus Heads His body.  Community is third and looks different in every context.

If we would do what Jesus commanded and make disciples, then Jesus could do what He promised and build His church!

Religious culture and tradition place doing church first.  Rather than letting community arise our of mission and relationship with Jesus.  Where community is first,  groups tend to be so focused on themselves that they seldom get to mission.

The problem for all of us raised in any particular expression of church life is that we know how to do meetings.  We do not know how to do mission and discipleship.  We do what we know are are comfortable with even if we may acknowledge that it is not working.  Mission is not inviting people to our meeting- that is marketing.  

Mission is going.

So yes, I have issues with discussions about how to do church!  

Your brother

Steve

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