Missional Priorities

I am not going to have much time to write this week, so I thought that I would post a few of my favorite quotes from Ain’t Too Proud to Beg. The first quote is from a section of the book discussing various approaches to life and mission.

Truly rare is the church or denomination that forgoes traditional priorities and makes mission its cultural, political, or even financial ordering principle.”

This reminds me of statements by others that church is very rarely formed around missional purposes. I wrote about this previously in When Is A Church A Missional Community?

The thought is similar, although perhaps not quite as radical, to this quote from Shane Claiborne’s book, Jesus for President.

Church father Ignatius said that if our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, and the hungry, then we are guilty of heresy- and a new reformation is long overdue. Some of us who were pretty discontent with how the church was embezzling money belonging to the poor to build buildings and pay staff began to dream again what it would look like to reimagine tithes and offerings, which God intended to be instruments of a redistributive economy… and we came up with the something beautiful and small- the relational tithe.

(ht Out of Ur)

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5 thoughts on “Missional Priorities

  1. There is a dynamic tension afoot in the spiritual ‘pull’ away from the Christendom ‘attractional church’ model and the postconservative ‘missional church’ model. In the simplest of terms, here’s how I see it:

    For those who are ‘staying’, many are bound to a model that in their construct has served in meeting the spiritual needs of their families and communities for generations. They have invested themselves deeply in the only way they understood the church to function. For those ‘walking away’, many are beginning to sense that there have been deep and profound cultural shifts and the conservative church no longer has any Kingdom impact on that culture and they are thirsting for ‘new wine’. If I present a proper interpretation of Jesus’ words in Luke 5:38 “new wine must be poured into new wineskins”, then they are right to walk away and begin a new model that will contain and distribute the new wine. However, verse 29 says “no one after drinking the old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’” Who in this life doesn’t choose what they determine to be better? For them it is still a cultural value.

    I don’t think the conservative attractional church is going to go away any time soon, and I am convinced that the Spirit is calling out a people to begin a new wine missional church movement. The question is, is there a way to disarm the growing animosity between the two? Is ‘divorce’ the only solution? Or would God have us seek to find a way to transition in a much more amiable way?

  2. Grace,

    Wow…just last night I heard the term “relational tithe” for the first time. Very interesting concept.

    Ken,

    I believe that there is a way to disarm animosity, but the power of love is in self-sacrifice. The one who turns away from love turns away from the heart of God. The one who turns toward love for the other is embracing love for God.

    We have the elder brother and younger brother standoff again — where the Father asks the elder brother to rejoice in the return of the younger brother … but the elder brother is only thinking of himself. He has lost the heartbeat of the Father’s love.

    I have heard many conversations out there that shows me that God is calling some to love within the “old” as well as those being called to branch out and embrace the “new.”

    It must be both/and here, or we break the heart of Jesus, who prayed that we would be one, even as he and the Father are one.

    Unity in the midst of diversity. Easy to say. Only possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Be blessed.

  3. Ken,

    Barna – in the “Revolution” video (I watched the movie instead of reading the book) – has a couple of pastors making presentations. They are advocating “embracing” the “revolutionaries” (from the traditional church’s perspective).

    Their attitude is like the Home Depot marketing line “You can do it, we can help”. (Traditional church speaking to the “revolutionary”)

    If the traditional church embraces the “revolutionaries” like that – and the “revolutionaries” focus on influencing the structure (rather than overthrowing it) the reciprocation is a lot easier. I don’t know of any institution that wouldn’t love to be missional – they just don’t know how to be.

    Still, some of the revolutionaries very core beliefs are that the church “governmental system” is probably the #1 hindrance to Christ possessing His beloved Bride. And the institution’s very core beliefs are that the church “governmental system” is a mandate from God.

    So mostly – the “revolutionaries” become “rebels” and the “governmental leaders” become “tyrants” – and the two sides are irreconcilable.

    Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies – it abideth ALONE.

    It takes some dying to come together with anyone (just ask your wife). Most people prefer to abide ALONE over the hassle of embracing someone else.

    It is not good for man to be alone – but we religiously prefer to BE RIGHT rather than have relationships – hence the 30,000+ denominations of Christ.

    It will be interesting indeed to see John 17 fulfilled – and Ezekiel 37’s dry bones come together and form a might army. Only God could do that.

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