Thursday, May 12, 2005


I am finally, after over a month, inspired to post again. My friend Alan Creech is posting on his blog about what it means to be a missional church (very good stuff -- check it out).

I have been pondering this idea again. In the process I read a quote from Geoff Maddock of Communality -- a missional church in Lexington, KY. In an article about the emerging church Geoff said this, "...mission comes before the church. It is when we go into mission together to love and serve the world that the church is born."

"Mission comes before the church." I think this is spot on. Think of the book of Acts. St. Paul did not set out to plant churches in the sense we think of. He did not go out to form communities. He went to do kingdom work -- preach the gospel, make disciples, serve the poor, be a witness for justice, etc. What emerged from this work was communities of faith. The communities existed to sustain the mission of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom is bigger than the church. The kingdom is what God is doing in the world. The church -- the people of God -- exist to be a sign and witness to what God is doing, i.e., to the Kingdom fo God. That is what it means to be missional.

I/we at Saint Patrick's are trying to figure out what this looks like. Here are some examples:

-Example One: A guy in our community discovers a neighbor who plays banjo. The St. Pat's guy is guitarist and fiddler. He goes next door to jam. The St. Pat's guy begins a friendship -- treats the neighbor like a, well, a neighbor. He brings the presence of Christ and begins to discern what God is already doing in that home. He is a sign and witness of the Kingdom of God. That is mission.

-Example Two: A group from St. Pat's discover a need in the neighborhood. A man who is confined to a wheelchair needs a spring cleaning done on his apartment and needs a ramp built so he can get into his apartment. A group plans to do this work on a weekend morning. Some will clean, some will build, some will watch kids, some will bring food for a common meal after the work. Mission and community coming together. That is mission.

The church moves into the world to do mission. As people join the mission the church expands. This is what it means to be missional. It is not a fresh way of doing what has been done for centuries in North America. It is re-framing of the whole concept of how the church relates to the Kingdom. Of course, I would argue it is what is envisioned in the New Testament.


P.S. -- I will get my comments deal back up.

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