The team is ready to go! Return the adventure to the venture!
"I have come from your future to tell you are on the same decline as we [in Australia] are...that is why we formed Forge."
David Bosch the mission of God is "to alert all people to the universal reign of God through Christ."
God could not reign anymore if he wanted to! It is already total, complete, unfettered and utter. "Our God reigns!" Isaiah declared during captivity. Still true no matter the evidence to the contrary.
Gods people are to be a trailer [movie preview] of the age to come. What would people see at your church of what the reign of God looks like? Would they want to see the movie?
How can others know what the reign of God looks like?
1. Practice relational proximity to those who are not set free. Be "incarnational" Follow Jesus' example. Physical and relational proximity to people. Sent as The Father sent Jesus John 20:21
When the Holy Spirit speaks in Scripture he always says "get up and go!" we only speak of doves, gifts, and personal growth
When it comes to sentness you cannot be sent to the church. You are the church. Your sentness must always be measured by your proximity to those who do not know.
2. Practice the presence of God in front of those with whom you are near.
"Re-Jesus" under the noses of those who have not trusted him yet. be intriguing, fascinating, kind and true.
Convert symbols of separation to symbols of hospitality and fellowship.
Stories of the miracle at Canna and Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch.
3. Prevenience as in "prevenient grace" God is working before us. God is at work in people's lives before we convene. Stories from life
How many people in your neighborhood has God spoken to or is at work in their lives and you are not there to tell them who God is? Unleash people to be near and present so when God breaks out they can alert them to the reign of God.
4. Powerlessness of Christian service. Not without the power of God. Humility. Serve without great wealth and organization.
Confound our neighbors by going forth as humble empty-handed people and demonstrate the reign of God.
Story of Jarius and his daughter from the Gospels. Jesus, "the naked empty-handed one" served the wealthy and powerful yet humbled and the poor and unclean. Both now brother and sister.
We are full of power thru Jesus but we present it naked and empty-handed. We embody the power of God in our broken bodies.
5. Proclamation "unexplained actions do not constitute the mission of God."
Told of creation of "street pastors" in his town. Hundreds of people rom 11:00 pm to 4:00 am to listen, help and care. Alcohol related street crime has dropped 1/3 and get to share the gospel as they listen, help, and care
Back from lunch break
1. To whom have I been sent? Which parish? Geographic, the neighborhood you happen to have. Affinity group, subculture group, ethnic or cultural.
2. Who will go with me? With whom will I go? Solo missional activity ought to be rare. Collectives of Christian people sent to groups/needs is best. Not the individualized Western ideal. You can't do it on your own. Focus for traction.
Think of missional effort as a marriage. Submit to the collective and it's focus, not you "following your dream" God speaks to us not to me.
3. Where do we go? Physically, where will we focus our efforts. You can't phone mission into an area. Move in. Live there. Follows the answer to the first question.
Where you will have multiple contacts with those to whom have you been sent. Cheap or free, bumping into the same people so a conversation can build over time.
4. What does the reign of God look like in this place? Your context. Look for the reign of God beyond church life.
What evidence in real terms does the RoG look like? N T Wright: evangelism, justice, beauty
M Frost: reconciliation, supernatural power
5. What does a church look like in this neighborhood or group of people? All forms work! You have moved into the neighborhood. I bend my knee to the reign of Jesus.
Be missionaries where you live. No prefab churches. No models. But would love to come see what god leads you to create. What form does the community take? Introduce them to Jesus and let them figure out what it looks like.
Some closing thoughts:
Let Jesus be your reference. Re-Jesus, rediscover Jesus
Foster a radical spirituality of engagement. See feeding the poor as time with God.
Be inspired by Prevenient grace. Look for where God is at work in people's lives or community. "a religious experience" for all people
Follow the missio Dei into strange places. Cycling, Burmese refugee center, Cooking, "Say yes to every invitation you get in your neighborhood."
Inspire others to do the same. Children friends family.
This was a great day of encouragement and sharing. Hope you will benefit from these notes.