The Future Church

The Misseo Dei and Next Generation of Worship – A Brief Introduction

Guest speaker: Geoff Rinehart

God’s sense of humor! I adore sacred spaces. Anchors of the faith for me are traditional…

So excited about where we are! Chi Rho, after 4 years…

The church…exciting time to be a missiologist and futurist – the future has never been so close at hand as it is right now

CA Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Summarize some of the thinking and processing that took place there.

Diana McCarten in Minneapolis. Paint a picture. But here is the key: BEING v. DOING. You may think Diana is DOING (and she is) – BUT REALLY, she is doing in response to her BEING. Given cultural changes, we are tempted to ask, “What should the church do?” It’s the wrong question. The proper question is, “What should the church BE?” This is the heart of missional theology. Listen, the mission has a church! The church doesn’t a mission.

What is “Missional”?

MISSIONAL means participating with god in what god is doing in the world

It’s not mutually exclusive: it’s radically inclusive

Orthodoxy and orthopraxy

(See Stetzer blogs – bottom line – participating in the SENTNESS of God. As God sent the Son, so the Son sends us. John 20:21: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so am I sending you.” Don’t get caught up in the co-opting of buzz words – “missional” is one of them. It’s not a “liberal” word or a “conservative” word. If you are a Christian, you are missional! If you are a Christian, you are ON mission – it’s not confined to those who go overseas. Diana McCarten is on mission. 1st Pres is ON MISSION – Love First is a missional statement. Join us for discussion for the next 3 weeks!

[Linus Morris – 1960’s in S. Cal (UCLA) – CA will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year – its’ been doing “missional” long before the word became another over-used and under realized 2

ideal. Before the word got co-opted and used incorrectly to identify certain kinds of Christians – LISTEN – IF you call yourself a follower of Jesus than you are by definition MISSIONAL.

Big picture –how we’ve tended to view things:

Defining and interpreting Scripture has been mostly relegated to the PERSONAL realm for last 200 years. As important, if not more so than PERSONALLY is interpreting Scripture RELATIONALLY, REDEMPTIVELY, and MISSIONALLY. Stuck in the micro-story of “me and Jesus” or “how I feel” being most important. But the MACRO story is one we must relate to as well – this Macro story is that God is a SENDING God – it’s everywhere in the Scriptures – God sends (prophets, messengers, signs, theophany – then He sends His people on MISSION (the OT says that the Israelites were to be a light to the nations – even in their second era of captivity in Babylon, they were instructed to dwell in this new place!) Then, of course, God sends the Messiah, Jesus. What does Jesus do? HE SENDS US – John 20:21. We are a SENT people – commanded by Jesus – we are to continue to be sent people – this is not just meant for the early church in Acts. Be careful about focusing only on the Micro story – the “me” – or minute details (where I like to hang out – I can digest a single word for months…)]

So – the church WAS at the center of culture for about 1500 years – then came the enlightenment era and a new cultural epistemology became dominant, with empiricism replacing authoritarianism. Not bad, but it began the end of Christendom. We now live in mostly a post-Christian, post-modern, secular world. And here is what is so fascinating – for the last 75 years, the church in America has been operating in denial of these cultural realities. Centrepal vs. centrifugal – gathered vs. being sent. The attractional model – all indications are that while it’s still working to move Christians around, it’s dying as far as reaching the world (and the neighborhood).

What is happening in Europe – a new way of being.

BELIEVE, BEHAVE, BELONG – upside down – BELONG (embed and love), BEHAVE, BELIEVE

What does this look like? 3 things:

Whole-Life Community

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning…if then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard these things, they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 11:15-18 (ESV) 3

Acts 11 – Peter reports to the church in Jerusalem the events surrounding the conversion of Cornelius and his household – the early church was ALL ABOUT RACIAL AND ETHNIC integration. SURPRISE

We are called to welcome the ‘stranger’ and what it looks like to do ‘whole-life’ community (i.e. becoming family) with people who are coming from backgrounds totally outside of the church. The fullness of 24/7 day-in day-out community life…where real community is happening all the time and doesn’t revolve around a Sunday morning church service……and includes all the messiness and neediness of real-life together…(from Nicky: “for example as I write on an ordinary Saturday morning….there are five kids (between age 12 & 16) in my house….that doesn’t include the three who live here 24/7….some are doing homework…..two stayed over last night…some are working on a project for our April camp…and some are just hanging out….and that’s just everyday life here….nothing to do with our youth group which starts at 1pm where a dozen more kids will show up…almost all of these kids are from Arab/Muslim families….and none of them have Christian families….all are from deprived and marginalized backgrounds…”)

The curse of acquaintance – we are allowing mere acquaintance to pass for authentic community. Mostly because we fear messiness. Whole-life community requires an attitude of interruption. People in whole-life community say to each other, “I know you’re busy, but…”

Life-Changing Communion

John 17:11b: Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me that they may be one, even as we are one.

[Deut. 6:4-7: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.]

Communion with one another and with Christ is the fruit of ‘whole-life community’. Real community life produces life-changing communion with one another and with Christ. The Whole-life/full-on 24/7 kind of community is impossible without being completely rooted in the love of Christ. Without abiding in Christ and living in and through him, the only fruit of whole-life community is burn out, disillusionment, unhealthy conflict, brokenness…… But when we are one in Christ…when we see and experience the brokenness of the world through Him….we can help ourselves and the people in our communities to experience the natural tensions and conflicts and messiness that always comes through all human relationships as the very beautiful and messy place where we encounter love, grace, reconciliation, the presence of Christ and experience life-changing transformation, growth and communion…with each other and with Christ. CHI RHO – this has been our mission – this has been our task – how can we get along? Because the love of Christ guides us MORE than our differing opinions on politics and preferences. 4

Life-Giving Mission

John 20:21: Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

John 8:12: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The purpose of the Church being about bringing change and Life to this broken world…….bringing people from Death to Life….from darkness to Light….the Kingdom is among us! Our purpose is about so much more than getting people to attend a Sunday service or join our church or agree with a certain doctrine or idea. In our contexts we should be paying attention to the particular ways that our societies are stuck in darkness and death….and then offer a Life-giving solution. So for example this could be helping marginalized children with education, helping oppressed women make friends and acquire the confidence to learn some skills, helping refugees with their immigration status & learning languages, providing food/clothing/furniture for needy people etc etc…..

Working for, working with, being for, and BEING WITH. Being WITH must guide us. (Samuel Wells) Greatest gift of Christ? HIS WITHNESS – “and lo I am WITH YOU ALWAYS, until the very end of the age.” Matt. 28. And of course as you mentioned in your email….mission is ‘with’ not ‘to’ or ‘for’. My friend Nicole leads a missional community…”at Parfums de Vie we have muslims and non-believers who serve and minister (and live!) with us. True mission is something that everyone can potentially believe in and get behind – because it’s about bringing Life! Which is something that we can all fundamentally believe in and understand….no matter where we’re coming from….because we were created for abundant Life. In many unchurched contexts (like here in France) it’s being involved in ‘mission’ (not just on the ‘receiving’ end but also on the ‘serving’ end) that in many cases is leading people into community….and then drawing them into communion…..and relationship with Christ.

So for example Radhia who lives with us…and works with us….although she is Muslim…..she is also experiencing communion with Christ and with us (and others)….she was initially being blessed through our ‘mission’ and very quickly began volunteering with us….because she loved what we’re doing (helping marginalized kids) and so very soon she and her family were then drawn into community and communion…..

Whole-life community

Life-changing communion

Life-giving mission

Carter. Acts 11 5

What is happening at FPC? Big Moves Next Gen team. This Thursday with Matt! Come!

[Trends:

1) Complex to simple – Dee Hock, VISA. Seems antithetical in our context given the vast amounts of data we generate in an hour (more data generated in an hour today than in the first 10,000 years of human civilization). Integration is the key – we demand integrated lives and integrated systems – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places – no more 4th places! IN fact, trends would suggest that people are desiring only a 1st place)/CHURCH – authentic in the place of highly produced, entertainment driven

2) Professional to vocational – schooling, ladder climbing – they are becoming archaic. We no longer are as willing to give up most of our lives to own a 2 week vacation or 1.5 day “weekend.” Greater merger of passion and vocation. An ethos of life vs. an ethos of death.

3) Institutional to casual/organic – moving away from a strict authoritarian epistemology – it’s no longer about the dictates of the institution or organization – people are acting out of causation, not mandate.

Technical to adaptive change – Southwest Airlines boarding process. “Disruptive” is cliché – the next generation of everything will be Adaptive – including the church. Adaptive is NOT predictable (thus more casual than institutional) and NOT controllable.]

Gathered is critically important! Group is where deepest personal growth will happen. But when we are SENT, that is where the greatest COMMUNAL growth happens – that is bringing the light of the world to the MACRO story.

As the father has sent me, so am I sending you.

Where will you be sent today? This week? This month? This year? In your lifetime?

We are the church. The spirit is within us. Where you are so is the church.

[CA? You’re already doing it – as a church. Pray. Serve. BE. Give.]

Pray.

GO, therefore, and BE THE CHURCH where ever you find yourself. Craig is beautifully modeling this for us.

 

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