Missional Monday

On Mondays I plan to pursue an ongoing study of all things missional and in particular, missional orders. I have many posts and articles squirreled away in my clippings folder that I want to take a closer look at and discuss.

This is an idea that I am studying, so I invite you to learn along with me and to share with me your understanding of the issues we consider.

The first item I am going to post about is this video of David Fitch by Allelon on Church Planting Via Missional Orders.

It is 15 minutes long if you want to watch the whole thing. (I recommend the whole thing, but if you only have a couple of minutes, start at 7:00.)

For those of us just trying to figure out and envision what a missional order is or could be, I feel like this is a good introduction to the idea.

What the video is a-boot…
(BTW, in the US, we say a-bowt. Does that sound funny to Canadians?)

Church planting in past decades in christendom has been the consumer model of rock stars, marketing, attractional methods, and organizational success.

Reimagining church planting as missional orders will be necessary to plant churches in post-christendom.

1. Funding versus sustainability
A missional order is about survival…

  • being able to make a living
  • while you plant the seeds
  • banding together
  • allowing sufficient time for the ethos of your community to develop

2. Attractional versus incarnational
A missional order says…

  • we will gather together 10 people
  • we will commit to being a body
  • we will embed ourselves in this location
  • we will incarnate Christ in this location

We will build relationships…

  • we will look for those who are hurting
  • we will look for the poor
  • we will look for those who are struggling
  • we will look for ways of connecting

3. Programs versus Formation
A missional order says…

  • we will gather for formation
  • we will gather to edify and strengthen
  • we will gather as a rhythm –
  • The gathering and the sent out rhythm
    -the gathering to be formed and shaped into mission
    -the sending out of God’s people into mission

  • we will take on disciplines of resistance to consumeristic forces
  • we will adopt an alternative definition of success

4. Power versus Submission
Missional orders…

  • give power away
  • are governed by mutual submission

5. Organization versus Way of Life
A missional order…

  • A way of life together that is gospel in the world.
  • We are not looking to organize a system or way of being church.
  • We are looking at living a way of life together.
  • Encodes a way of life that we are all committed to.

A few of my thoughts…

What really struck me about this is that the traditional understanding of success and church growth is completely removed from expectation and intention. That alone significantly changes the focus and purpose of gathering.

The idea of rhythm addresses the balance between inward and outward focus, hopefully preventing the stagnation of a small, narrow group.

The ethos and essence of the group is something that would require both time and commitment to develop and a willingness to continue learning together.

What thoughts and ideas does this inspire in you?


14 thoughts on “Missional Monday

  1. Grace,
    My favorite part of this video was when David said (at the 8:30 mark): “We will have to take on disciplines of resistance because there will be so many forces that will tell us that what we are doing is crazy.” I feel that describes the last decade of my life! He talks mainly about the financial part, but I find that concept has to be applied across the board to nearly all aspects of my life if I’m really following Jesus. The main “forces” are the traditional churches that think life the way we’re living it is really just being a heretic. :-)

    The other that struck me was when David talks about mutual submission. I’ve been reading a lot lately on true versus false authority, and found this quote by David Fitzpatrick that really struck me so I put it on my blog over the weekend. I won’t quote it here as it’s too long for a comment! http://tinyurl.com/27ou2q. Very relevant to this topic.

    Great post, thanks!

  2. The thing I find inspiring is the idea of living out the values in a missional order that you hope to see embodied in a church. Personally, I don’t know what I’d give right now to have one other person in close geographical range who “gets it,” let alone 10!

  3. First of all, I am Canadian and I was even impressed by the “a-boots” Pernell was throwing out there. I say “aboot” somewhat, but that was… classic! Now on to the real topic…

    Great intro to missional orders. It really embodies how we have tried to form our ministry here. As we talk about partnering to grow a new church community in our inner city neighbourhood, this is really a must.

    We hope to see a small group choose to root their lives together (including geographically, meaning living in the same community), moving towards formation and missional service. We will see where it leads us.


  4. well isn’t this ironic: I’m doing a “missional monday” series too! I’m moving through Lk 5:1-11 the next 5 mondays to see how mission is the heart of the Church, not simply a bi-product.

    look forward to your thoughts!

  5. Pernell is originally from “the Rock” – Newfoundland, to the rest of the world. (My mother is a Newfoundlander.)

    But really, are we going to talk about accents with AMERICANS. I mean, have you ever been south of the Mason Dixon line. :-}

    On more important topics, I thought David’s talk was excellent (both at the event and watching the video). And I love how David lives out what he talks about.

  6. This is helpful. I especially like the part about rhythm of gathering and sending, and gathering for formation. I’m in the same boat as Maria – finding others in my locality (both within a large urban context, and now in a smaller city) who share these values can be a huge challenge.

  7. About three or four years ago I felt the Spirit leading me in ‘a new direction’. I didn’t have any terms to describe what was going on inside of me, I only knew that I was ‘restless’. Although I worship in the ‘mainline’, I never considered myself to be mainline. The (organized) church seemed too much to have everything spiritual all tidy and wrapped up – so tightly wrapped that it felt ‘exclusive’ even though they worshipped an inclusive God. My providential journey has put me in touch with a lot of others who were ‘restless’, and they had been thinking and talking a lot more about it than I have. So, I was able to glean some terms for my adventure – terms I had never thought of before. I now call this leg of my spiritual journey “Moving from Christendom to Kingdom’. The difficulties of opposition come much more from within than from without. Christendom is a very comfortable and familiar camp from which one can forage – and it took many years of study and practice to gain a place of standing in Christendom – little as it might be. But I have come to the startling realization that Christendom is not the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is in no wise static – it is very dynamic and organic. It adapts to every obstacle and moves forward even as the wind blows. Christendom as my generation knew it has become a wonderful museum of old memories and treasures – but it is no longer very functional in meeting the spiritual needs of a coming era. The Kingdom is never irrelevant – and His church must ever adapt to the way of the King.

    I am not sure that David Fitch has the missional order down pat – but I do believe he speaks with the prophetic voice of a pioneer venturing back out into the Kingdom.

  8. bruced,

    I am curious, from your perspective, why is Christianity so complicated?
    In your opinion, what could be done to make it less complicated?

  9. Elle,
    Walking in a way that is different than what is popular or commonly accepted does require a strong internal confidence in the direction we have chosen.

    False authority and leadership is a topic of interest to me. Thank you for the link.

    Maria and Sarah,
    I don’t know yet what it will look like locally, but it is somewhat reassuring that it could start with a fairly small group. We seem to be hearing more and more of people who are looking for “something different” with no ability to explain or define what they are looking for.

    Thanks for sharing. It is always great hearing what others are doing and what they envision. I am particularly interested in the balance of formation and missional service.

    When I was reading your post, I was thinking that it might have some good info for my “missional monday.”
    I laughed when I got to your closing paragraph that was worded almost identically to my opening paragraph.

    I am pretty sure that I’m an american without an accent. ;)
    I appreciate all of the information that Allelon is producing and sharing. Thank you!

    Great thoughts about realizing and recognizing the kingdom. I believe at this point we only have pioneers, not experts. Because of that, it is important that the pioneers share what they see and learn. Although we are likely to make mistakes along the way, it will be helpful if we can learn from each other.

    bruce :)

    Great summary. I think you pulled out some of the most important points.

  10. Okay, I am a non-traditional lay pastor in a mainline denomination. I seem to fight every attempt to be put in a box and follow the main stream of flow. I am a restless sort and like many of you am not able to put into words what I feel.
    I just stepped over the edge with a newsletter letter with some real questions for a couple of congregations in a very rural setting.
    I also have a group of persons I regularly discuss religion with in a very not traditional way and they come from all kinds of backgrounds.
    Where can one go from here to lead some tradition into a new place??????????
    I am posting the letter at my blog. http://newpreachin.blogspot.com/

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