We had another very productive meeting with our discernment team last night, but we discovered that we still have some work to do on our “vision statement.” To be clear (because this terminology has created a lot of confusion) we are not trying to create a one or two sentence phrase that we will put on websites, letterhead, etc. That may well happen in the future, but at this point we are trying to articulate more fully “who” we are called to reach and “why” we are called to those people.
I love our team! They want to get it right and say it well! So we are still at it. However, we do know the answers to the “who?” and “why?” questions so we are simultaneously moving forward while getting the statement polished up. With that in mind, here is the short, unofficial version:
We are called to reach the following groups in the Stanwood/Camano Island area: (1) young families (2) those who cannot/will not attend a Sunday morning worship service (3) those who have a negative view of church or are “anti church.” The shortest answer to “why?” is because these are the groups our heart really breaks for and we sense God calling us to do something about it. There’s obviously more to say, and I’ll get it on this site as soon. In the meantime, take a look at this video about the Soma missional communities in Tacoma to see how one church has reached some of these groups:
Talk about a really appropriate video for where we are at in the process!
I heard David Platt speak at a recent conference. He reminds me a lot of another preacher that I know who speaks very controversially in order to get people to really consider what is being said. Without hearing the rest of the message (I don’t like how the video cuts off at what seems to be a crucial point) I don’t know what to think about all that he is saying. However, I do find it interesting that we often take things for granted without really thinking through them. For example, what does it really mean to “make disciples?” I wonder if we have substituted a prayer for what used to be marked by baptism? And yet, we find throughout the New Testament the call to “believe” or “repent” and be baptized (cf. Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 16:21, John 3:36). It seems only natural to give people the opportunity to respond in prayer and express that belief to God. The point, perhaps, is that if we think we have made a “Christian” or a “disciple of Jesus” by having them say that prayer then we are kidding ourselves. Disciple-making is more of a long-term commitment, isn’t it? It can’t be done from a pulpit on Sunday morning and it requires a lot of leadership to carry out faithfully in a community.
Parable of the Fishless Fishermen
Video: 3 Examples of Missional Communities – Shared via the “Verge Network.” Some good examples of how members of the Austin Stone Community Church are seeking to live faithfully in small neighborhood groups that reach out to those who are not yet followers of Jesus.
If you want a simple, clear, short explanation of what we are trying to get at when we talk about the “missional church” check out this flannelgraph-style video:
Here is a video from the Presbygrow website. This video has an interesting compilation of responses to five questions. These are the same five questions that we work through at the beginning of the discernment process. Click on the picture to watch the video.
In this video Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski explain the differences between a Missional Community and other groups like Bible Studies, Small Groups, Support Groups, or Social Activist Groups. It is pretty long, but if you are interested in knowing more about what a “missional community” looks like, there is some great instruction here:
via What’s the difference? | Verge Network.
This is one of the more powerful videos that I have seen that illustrates what the church should be and shallow nature of what we often call “fellowship.” For me, watching it gave voice to the longing that I have often felt as a young man growing up in various churches.