Quotes from an article written by Alan Roxburgh on Missional Church, along with my own reflections.
“More than anything else, [missional church] is about a people who are continually asking questions about what God is up to in the world about them and experimenting in all kinds of ways with joining God in the mission of the kingdom.”
Roxburgh offers a few themes that characterize Missional Church:
- Western society as mission field
- Many people in our N.American society don’t live under a “christian” narrative. They don’t know the basics of the gospel. We can’t assume they know what we mean by good news.
“We must fundamentally rethink the frameworks and paradigms that have shaped the come-and-see church over the last half-century. The basic stance of denominations and local churches must be transformed to that of missionaries in their own culture. This requires more than adjustment; it calls for a new kind of church.”
It’s more important that the church be immersed in daily and public life rather than put so much of its emphasis on the Sunday morning program.
- Mission Is about the Missio Dei
- God is a missionary and has a certain mission in and for this world
- there are other “missions” in this world that have certain values and practices that are antithetical to redemption, justice, flourishing.
- It’s not about God just meeting our personal, individualistic needs.
“The biblical narratives revolve around God’s mission in, through, and for the sake of the world. The focus of attention is toward God not the other way around. The missio dei is about a God-centered rather than a meeting-personal-need centered understanding of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.”
The focus towards God’s mission in this world instead of my personal needs is ironic because of the fact that God desires to renew and redeem the world, which includes personal flourishing. But the emphasis is for all, not just me. My personal christian formation and morality will include others’ flourishing when I see that God desires to redeem and renew all of Creation.
- Missional Church Is about the Church Being a Contrast Society
- we live in a pluralistic world that is undergoing rapid change
- the church is no longer the center of morality, ethics, authority
“…the message of Jesus is the breaking-in of God’s reign into the world. Therefore, the church is the called-out community of God in midst of the specificity of a culture…The church is an ecclesia, which means an assembly that has been called out in a public way as a sign, witness, and foretaste of where God is inviting all creation in Jesus Christ.”
We had an escapist mentality. God has breaking into this world mentality. I can’t say what Roxburgh says in better or clearer ways. This is why I believe in a public gathering. We can’t do away with meeting. But the gathering is reframed in the context of God’s mission and breaking into our specific culture (and world).