Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Introducing the missional church - pt. 2

These are some of the highlights (the things I underlined) I found from reading Alan Roxburgh & Scott Boren's book Introducing the Missional Church. My review of the book as a whole is HERE. My highlights from chapters 1-3 are HERE. These are the things that stuck out to me in part 2 of the book (chapters 4-7):
  • p. 65 - "They had discovered that missional wasn't about a new program or project inside a church but about entering their community to sit alongside others and engage in gospel conversations. It was changing the ways they were being the church."
  • p. 67 - "How does one communicate the mystery of the ways God is moving in mission when so many have lost the memory of what the church is meant to be?"
  • p. 67 - "Our reading of Scripture keeps telling us that God's future almost always breaks out among those in real-life attic situations, moving through imperfect people and structures. God is always going to surprise us by calling forth a new imagination in all the places we want to write off."
  • p. 68-70 - "We have found that there are three basic topics to help people understand what it means to be missional: (1) Reconsidering our context - the West is Now a Mission Field; (2) Rethinking the Gospel - the Missio Dei; (3) Reimagining Church - Sign, Witness, and Foretaste of God's Dream for the World..."
  • Four questions on p. 69: (1) What is the gospel when people expect Jesus to meet their private spiritual needs but nothing else? (2) How can we reach people in our neighborhoods who just aren't going to come to church? (3) How do I find out what God is already up to in the neighborhood? (4) What kind of church might the Spirit want to shape in this neighborhood?
  • p. 69 - "One of the ways the basic story of the gospel has been compromised is that it has become all about us and how God is supposed to meet out needs, and we have created attractional churches that are about how God does just that. This deforms God's story. It makes us - Western, middle-class people who are the richest, most blessed human beings who have ever lived - the subject and object of the gospel. This is not liberating good news; it is a terrible, malformed captivity to ourselves. The gospel story is about God, not us; it is about what God is doing for the sake of the world, not about meeting the needs of self-actualizing, middle-class, Western people."
  • p. 70 - "We are shaped by a version of the gospel that focuses on individuals. There is an unstated, pervasive assumption that God's salvation is for individuals, and if individuals will heed this message, they will have a better life. It can be a shattering experience to realize that while God came to save persons, God's grace does not revolve around me and my needs. It is God's story, and we are participants in his story and mission."
  • p. 71 - "A local church is to be an embodiment of what God is calling all creation to be through the Spirit." ***
  • p. 77 - "Churches have chosen to give people what they say they want: a place of danger-free solace, escape, and comfort. But the church is called to be what they really need: a foretaste of God's new creation, a movement of people who change the world, not escape it." ***
  • p. 77 - "What we have lost in modernity though is this sense of the importance of place. When the Benedictine Order was formed, one of the vows a monk took was not to move on to some other place. Behind this imagination was the conviction that God is only known in the particularity of place and time."
  • p. 78 - Place spirituality vs. space spirituality...
  • p. 80 - "A missional church is no longer satisfied with being a provider of spiritual products; our national and global crises are just too big. We have to become missionaries in our own contexts and be God's catalyst for a new future."
  • p. 85 - "the task of the local church in our present situation is to reenter our neighborhoods, to dwell with and to listen to the narratives and stories of the people. We are to do this not as a strategy for getting people to church but because that is how God comes to us in Jesus, loving us without putting strings on the relationship. It will be in these kinds of relationships that we will hear all the clues about what the Spirit is calling us to do as the church in that place. But this is not a strategy we take to a context; it is a way of life we cultivate in a place where we belong."
  • p. 87 - "Local churches that engage their context learn to listen and see where God is at work in the midst of all the confusion, anxiety, pluralism, and technological transformation. This is far more than bringing answers and receiving nothing, leaving the context changed but the Christian unchanged. Instead both are changed through dialogue, and our attention is on what God is doing in the neighborhood rather than in the church."
  • p. 92 - "Theology is 'talk about God,' and being a part of God's missional people means that we are speaking about who God is and what God is doing in this world within a specific context. This is theology, at least as we see it. Therefore we must reclaim theology for everyday people so that we can talk about God in ways that fit where we live in the world." ***
  • p. 92 - "...missional community is all about what God is up to in the world... Shaping missional life means seeing ourselves as theologians who are learning to talk about God n our local contexts."
  • p. 93 - "Being a theologian in this missional journey is not about going to people with answers, plans, or strategies; it is about entering into the local context and having conversations..."
  • p. 95 - Clemens Sedmak writes, "Theology has been on loan from the people of God to professional theologians for a long time," and he wants to return theology to the ordinary people in local churches. He describes what's involved in doing theology as a process of waking up: "Waking up means learning how to listen, learning how to see, learning how to discover, learning how to speak... being attentive to the particular circumstances." And this means learning to ask, "How do I awaken to what God is up to in our local context, in our particular time and place?"
  • p. 96 - "This is where theology begins because it starts with God and the question of what God is doing in the world. If we begin with questions like, "What is a missional church?" or "How do we become externally focused?" or "What kind of church-planting strategy should we develop?" or "How do we form a multisite church?" then we are not asking questions about what God is doing in the world; we are asking questions about the church and about tactics. This is why theology is so important - it keeps point us to the questions of God in the local. It asks these questions as if the people in our neighborhoods matter and are more than just the objects of our strategies to get more people inside our churches."
  • p. 97 - "We think the New Testament has a whole lot to do with how people were trying to work out the meaning of God's big story in the midst of all the local issues, tastes, and sounds of their neighborhoods and communities rather than principles and absolute propositions for all times and places."
  • p. 100 - "What kind of table does God want us to set in the name of Jesus in the midst of these particular sounds, smells and sights?"
  • p. 101-102 - "God's dream for the world is about the redemption of all creation, not just individuals getting into heaven; it is about the restoration of life as God intended it to be; it is about realigning life around God and God's ways."
  • p. 103 - contrast society...
  • p. 103 - "...salvation as being a process of becoming God's people who practice the way of life that he intended in the midst of the mess of the world."
  • p. 105 - "...instead of providing a specific map for us regarding what it means to be God's missional people, the Bible invites us on a journey where we figure out what it means as we walk."
  • p. 108 - "Instead of viewing community itself as a discipline for individuals, it is rather a context in which we practice faith." ***
  • p. 108 - "The first set of practices that demonstrates how the church is called to be a sign, witness, and foretaste is the practice of presence..."
  • p. 108 - "...being God's missional people begins with God and how we relate to him through his Son in the power of the Spirit."
  • p. 109 - "The life of the missional church cannot be done by a conglomeration of individualists who see each other only at formal meetings. Being missional means that we do life together in a way that marks us as distinct from the surrounding culture." *****
Sorry these are so long. It was hard to know where to cut them off. One more and that should do it.

Peace out; and in.

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