Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Introducing the Missional Church

Having put down Francis Chan's Crazy Love, I've picked up Introducing the Missional Church by Alan Roxburgh and Scott Boren. Having read the introduction and the first chapter, my head is pounding with thoughts and ideas and memories about why I care so much about the local church.

I care because I honestly believe that there is so much more to being the church than we have discovered or than we practice at this present time. Too often the church is reduced to something machine-like that we maintain and fix. My preferred picture is of a garden we nurture and that surprises us as it grows and flourishes. When something unusual happens with a machine it usually means trouble. Something is breaking down, normality is being interrupted and we must fix it. When something unusual happens in the garden it's often eventful, interesting, and new. It may not need fixing at all. I wonder, for example, if it were just by chance that someone discovered that some plants produce different coloured flowers if they are planted in different types of soil.

When I was at college in my final year of a theology degree, I wrote a paper about reconnecting the church to its mission. As my tutor pointed out, I wrote a lot, but neither of us was sure I'd answered the question I was actually asking. I do remember though how much it meant to me then to try and rediscover the heart of what it means to be the church. I am still asking the questions twenty years on.

What I do know is that I can never settle for anything less than a wholehearted search for God's heart for the church he loves. If all our assumptions must be shattered and all our boundaries broken, then so be it if it releases the church from an internal focus on filling building towards an external focus on releasing the kingdom into communities.

Maybe one day I'll have some answers worth writing down. Perhaps there might even be a PhD in it! Who knows, who cares as long as we get a ste closer to being the church Jesus wants us to be.


Wiggy said...

Hi Richard. You may find it helpful to watch some videos Tim Chester has posted on his website at: http://timchester.wordpress.com/page/5/

It is interesting to see how they approach church and community - he leads a network of 'missional communities' which look very different to traditional church.

There's a numebr of videos, the ones you may be interested are one posted by Tim on 27th October called 'Commnunity as Lifestyle' and then back up the page to one posted on 1st Nov called 'Mission as Lifestyle'.

Will be reading your blog to see if you have any useful thoughts on the videos!

Cheers, Wiggy (Leeds) - also searching for a new expression of how we build community.....

Richard Pool said...

Thanks for those video links, I'll try and have a look at them in the next few days. I recently read Total Church and have been following his blog too.