The Missional Church

Summary:  The church needs to view itself as Jesus did, as an agent of God's mission, 
not as the goal of mission.  The church does not send, but is sent to carry out God's mission.  
This call can take many different shapes and forms.  In most instances, it will involve what 
can happen outside the church building.  The possibilities are endless.  To be missional, 
a church must be available, flexible and faithful.  

Know:  Mission by nature is incarnational, which means it may take various forms depending 
on the situation.  God sent Jesus, who sent the Spirit, who sends us incarnationally into the 

Feel:  The desire to engage the world with Christ

Do:  Reflect on the missionary nature of God and how incarnational ministry looked in the 
ministry of Jesus.  Highlight ways your ministry can be incarnational.  Consider the challenges 
to missions and brainstorm on ways the church can be more missional.  

Text:  John 1:1-14

Scripture Reading:  Heb 1:3

1.  Ever heard of a chicken cannon?  Used to test air plane canopies
	a.  When stationed at Keesler, Harrier came for repairs due to a bird strike
	b.  Engineers bought a bird canon to test on a high speed train winshield
		- Shattered it, they couldn't understand
		- Asked FAA if everything okay
		- After reviewing test, they said - "use thawed chicken next time"
	c.  They used a "chicken" but did not get that it shouldn't be frozen
	d.  When you misunderstand instructions or a word, can be disasterous
2.  A new word is "missional."  What is "missional?"
	a.  We all know the word "missionary"
		- Cross-culture, goes to different culture with the Gospel
		- Learns the customs, communicates the Gospel
		- Helps to plan indigenous churches (not Western Churches)
		- Think of a stateside church sponsoring and sending a missionary
	b.  The word "missional" came about to get us to rethink this concept
	c.  Missional is an adjective - it describes God, the nature of the church 
	      and her ministries
3.   Why should we be missional?  God is a Missional God
	a.  Will look at the concept of servant throughout scripture
		-  Servant exists to serve the master's purpose
	b.  There is a progression in who God identifies as his servant
		1.  God's "Servant" in the Old Testament - Isaiah
			a.  (Isa 41:8-9) - God chose Israel his servant for a purpose
			b.  (Isa 43:6-7, 10) - To be God's witness
			c.  (Isa 49:3,6-7) - To be a light to the nations
			d.  Other Isaiah passages -44:1-2,8, 21; 45:4-7; 48:20; 52:13
				- God's Servant is Israel
				- God's servant appointed to be a witness
				- They were to be a light to the nations
		2.  God's "Servant" in the New Testament
			a.  (Mt 12:18) - Identifies Jesus as the Servant
			b.  (Acts 8:32-33) - From Isa 53:7
			c.  Phillip connects Isa 53:7 to Jesus
				- Jesus is sent as God's servant
				- Jesus is sent God's witness
				- Jesus is sent as a light to the Gentiles
		3.  God's "Servant" now
			a.  (Acts 1:5-8) - God's Servant is to be his witness
				- There were to be a light to the nations
				- Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit
			b.  (Acts 2: 18) - God's Servants receive the Spirit
			c.  (Acts 4:29-31) - Spirit empowers the servants of God to 
			      speak with confidence
			d.  God's Servant is us, the church
				- We are sent as witnesses
				- We are sent to be a light to the nations
		4.  God is a missional God
			a.  God sent Jesus, who sent the Spirit, who empowers us to 
			      be a light to the nations.
			b.  The theologians who claim that missions is at the heart of   
			      good theology are correct
			c.  This means that the church is to be inherently missional
				- The church is not a place, but a people
				- Church does not merely send, but is sent by God
				- The church is not the goal of God's mission, but is 
				   an agent of God's mission
	c.  ILL:  God's mission should be at the center of our being
		1.  Like a flashlight - It's purpose is to shine
			a.  Can have classes on the correct way to use it
			b.  Can dress up the flashlight in various ways
			c.  Can learn maintenance on the flash light
			d.  Can even start a school for flashlight use and repair
		2.  All of that is useless unless the flashlight shines
		3.  The purpose is to shine - It is part of the design
		4.  The same is true of the church
	d.  God's calling is inherently missional as he is missional
		-  Unless we are missional in all we do, it is window dressing
4.  Let's look at what God's missional calling does

I.  Re-Orients all of life to God's missional purpose
	A.  God calls us for a particular purpose
	B.  The Gospels and Acts remind us of the purpose
		1.  There is mission in every Gospel
			a.  Mt 28:19-20 - Make Disciples, teach them
			b.  Mark 16:15 - Preach the Gospel to every creature
				- Gospel of the Kingdom brings freedom 
			c.  Luke 24:47 - Repentance for forgiveness of sins 
			     preached to the nations
				-  Acts 1 - My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, 
				   Samaria, ends of the earth
				-  Acts 28:28 - Salvation has been sent to the Gentiles
				-  We are to take the Gospel out to the nations
			d.  John 21:20 - As the Father sent me, I also send you
				- Jesus sends us incarnationally
				- Jesus came in the flesh and related on our level
				- He identified with our pain and participated in our life
				- He calls for us to do the same
		2.  Each Gospel ends with a mission for us to take up
		3.  This mission is what defines our life
			a.  Not our comfort, not personal ambition
			b.  2 Cor 5:9 - Our ambition is to be pleasing to him
		4.  Primary focus is to carry out God's mission
	C.  Chen Si of Nanjing China, seller of Billbaords- The "sent" person
		1.  Suicide leading cause of death of 18-34 year olds
			a.  Many jump of the Nanjing Bridge
			b.  Chen Si decided to do something about it
		2.  Spend time on bridge looking for people who might jump
			a.  Says he will not "cheat someone into living another day"
				- Doesn't merely save them and send them away
				- Helps change life circumstances
				- Deals with hurts and pains
			b.  Saved over 42 people in a years time
			c.  Helps people to find hope
		3.  He does this at great expense to himself
			a.  Financially and emotionally
			b.  It has come to define his life, it is his passion
			c.  People heard about him, and people call him all the time
			d.  Gradually, some are starting to help him
		4.  I don't know if he is a Christian or not, but he is an example
	D.  Bringing people hope from God - That is our mission
		1.  Like Chen Si, it should define our life
		2.  Some of us may have yet to hear our calling
			a.  It is not about me
			b.  It is about carrying out God's mission
		3.  Where to start?  Praying
			a.  Pray, and then be silent
			b.  A believe a posture of silence is the most powerful way to 
			     pray - It allows God to be the one to take charge
			c.  If you are willing, God will show you the way
			d.  He will reorient your life
		4.  *If life is reoriented, then….

II.  Re-Characterizes everything as resources for mission
	A.  All you have become resources for God's mission
	B.  The word that the Bible uses for this is "steward"
		1.  I am not sure how well we understand this concept
		2.  We are used to a certain amount of control and ownership
			a.  We work hard for things and "earn" them
			b.  They belong to me
			c.  I have the "right" to protect what is mine at all cost
				a.  If someone doesn't deserve it, I'm not giving it
				b.  If someone tries to take it, I will retaliate
			d.  Hey, if I "own" it, then of course I want to "protect it"
		3.  We see a different spirit in the Bible
			a.  We are stewards, which means we own nothing
			b.  Someone wants our t-shirt, we give them our Reboks too
			c.  We do good to our enemies - They can take nothing
	C.  Here is a scenario - Joe Doe wants to become a Christian
		1.  Okay, Joe, I have paid for you with my blood, it all belongs to 
		     me, understand?  Yes, I understand.
		2.  Okay, let's get started, what do you have?
			a.  Let's see, I have $950 in the bank - Okay, I'll take it.
				- All of it?  Yes.  Okay, what else?
				- That's it, you have it all!
				- Don't you have any retirement accounts?  Why, yes
				- Okay, I'll take them too.  What else?
				- That's it, there is no more!
			b.  How about a house, don't you have a house?
				- Yes, I do.  Why?  Okay, I'll take the house
				- No house, I guess I will have to live in the boat.
				- You have a boat, okay.  I'll take the boat
				- Where shall we live then?  We can't all fit in the car!
				- You have a car too?  Yes, two of them.
				- Great, I'll take them.
			c.  Oh, you said you had a family too?  I'll take them as well.
				- What else do you have?
				- Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.
				- Oh, wait a minute, I will take you.  You belong to me.
		3. Now, here is what I am going to do…
			a. I am going to put all of these things back into your 
			b. I want you to understand that they belong to me okay?
			c.  You are not free to do whatever you want with them
			d.  Whenever I require, you will use them for my purposes.
		4.  You are not the owner, but the steward.  Understand?
	D.  This means that all we have are resources for mission
		1.  Our resources are not limited to the church budget or what goes 
		     into the collection plate
		2.  Someone's car broke down, you can loan yours
			a.  Can pitch in money to fix their car
			b.  Can fix their car if you know how
		3.  Someone lost their home, you take them into your house
			a.  Your house becomes a resource for mission
			b.  If you know how, you can help rebuild their house
			c.  Inconvenient?  Uncomfortable?
			d.  That is what Jesus would do
		4.  God has blessed us all with some sort of resource
			a.  In Acts 2 - they pooled all their resources
				- Nothing was "mine"
				- No one had need
				- They made an impact by their example
			b.  You have a resource, maybe material things
			c.  Maybe your resource is a talent, or ability
			d.  It belongs to God - Without hesitation, a steward uses it 
			     for the owner's purposes

III.  Refines methods to meet a missional purpose
	A.  God did not micro-manage how we carry out his mission
		1.  He left us a person - Jesus Christ - as a model
		2.  We have examples of helping people, loving them, teaching 
		     them, getting involved with them
		3.  Jesus came from Heave TO us - What a journey!
	B.  The method of Jesus was revolutionary!
		1.  God came to earth in the flesh - John 1:14
			a.  Came as a Jew to Jews, spoke in their language
		2.  Make some things clear about God
			a.  God is not Jewish, he doesn't wear a tunic or yamika
			b.  Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, is not his native language
			c.  God doesn't understand things better in parables
			d.  God is not even male in the strict human sense of it
				- God doesn't literally have an ear when he inclines it
				- Doesn't literally have right arm when he saves with it
		3.  All of these are ways to become intelligible
			a.  He demonstrated in Jesus his willingness to come to our 
			b.  Church did not have to be Jewish, Greek, Asian, African
			c.  Church was not inherently middle eastern
			d.  Style of music, worship, preaching, teaching, etc. have 
			     changed over the last 2000 years
		4.  Do you see the implications in this?
			a.  A non-western church is no less the Lord's Church
			b.  As our culture changes, and styles of ministry, worship, 
			    preaching, etc. change, it is no less the Lord's Church
	C.  Couple of Examples:
		1.  Preacher in England
			a.  Many people never set foot in the church, not welcomed
				- These were people that spent time in tavern
				- They were uneducated, poor, coarse
				- They were England's rednecks
			b.  Preacher went to them 
				- Preached in the fields, and at coal mines, under a 
				  tree, on a stump
				- Preacher composed sacred music for them using 
				  the tunes from the taverns!
				- Organized small groups, or classes for the purpose 
				  of spiritual growth
				- Spent very little time in church buildings after this
			c.  Institutional church was aghast
				- You don't preach in the open air, but in a holy place
				- The music was ghastly to the established church
				- But this sparked a revival - people hungry for God
			d.  It was not like it was before, but it was missional
		2.  Recent example - Mission Arlington - The "sent" church - 1986
			a.  Core Value 1 - Take the church to the people
				-  264 locations around the city in multiple languages
				- Meet in homes, apartment club houses, mobile 
				  home parks, and in any other locations that will work
				- They have a "main office" - but their faith is not 
				   attached to a building
				- Now have over 4,000 people
			b.  Core Value 2 - Each person is important
				- Instead of beginning with a big picture with long 
				  range goals, strategies, etc.
				- Conviction that each person matters to God
				- Connect personally and get involved, help people
				- Come along side an help people find a close 
				   relationship with Christ
			c.  What is amazing is the varied ministries this church is 
			     involved in.  Here is a partial list
				- After school programs, camps, dental clinic, small 
				  groups, job assistance, medical clinic, transportation, 
				  backyard bible clubs, Gospel Meetings, Summer 
				  mission training, School Supplies…
			d.  These are believers who use their resources missionally
				- Don't need a big church program
				- If you are a doctor who is a Christian, it is a resource
				- If you can carry furniture, it is a resource
		3.  A growing number of churches do coffee houses
			a.  Some have a coffee shop in their building
			b.  Others have moved into a coffee house  
				- They don't hide that they are a church
				- The planted themselves at an intersection of life and 
				  connect with people there
	D.  The point - These look somewhat unconventional, but missional
		1.  Mission is what refines our practice
		2.  If something is not effective, we find another method
			a.  That is what God has done
			b.  That is what Jesus calls us to do when he says, "As the 
			      Father has sent me, so also I send you."
		3.  Like our God, we engage missionally by being incarnational

1.  So God is a missionary God who sent Jesus to send the Spirit to send us
2.  He calls the church to mission, which means he calls you and I (invitation)
	a.  It reorients all of your life to his mission
	b.  It recharacterizes all you have as resources for his mission
	c.  It refines your methods to be effective missionally
3.  Have you accepted his call?


Small Group Questions:  The Missional Church

Summary:  The church needs to view itself as Jesus did, as an agent of God's mission, not 
as the goal of mission.  The church does not send, but is sent to carry out God's mission.  
This call can take many different shapes and forms.  In most instances, it will involve what 
can happen outside the church building.  The possibilities are endless.  To be missional, 
a church must be available, flexible and faithful.  

- What was the biggest change you have ever had to make in your life?

Discussion Questions:

1.  Col 1:24-28.  How did this stewardship transform Paul's life?  How did it change his 
job/trade?  How did it affect his view of his time, possessions, safety, and personal rights?

2.  Since our lives are defined by a God-given purpose (Matt 29:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; 
Acts 1:8; 28:28; John 20:21), what are some ways your tangible and intangible things can 
become resources for God's mission?  What challenges would you face in utilizing or giving those 
things up for the sake of God's purposes?

3.  If the church is not merely the goal of mission but the agent of it, how does that transform how 
you see the church carrying out God's mission in the community and in the world?  What difference 
is there between a mission of getting people into the church vs. Getting people to come to know 
Christ?  How might the latter perspective affect a new Christian's spiritual and ministry growth?

4.  John 1:14 - Since Jesus came as a Hebrew, yet Christianity is not a culturally Hebrew religion, 
and since Jesus likely spoke Aramaic (as the quotations in Mark suggest), and since Jesus taught 
in an unusual way (parables), and since Jesus came from Heaven to earth as a working class 
person to meet people where they were in ways they could relate to, what does that suggest about 
the manner in which he sends us in John 20:21?

5.  What challenges would there be in trying to relate to, minister to, get involved with people in our 
neighborhoods in the way Christ did (at their level/place in life)?  What challenges would there be 
from outsiders?  What challenges might there be from within us?  What are some possible ways 
to deal with these challenges in a way that honors God's mission?

6.  In a way, Jesus' coming in the flesh is an "outside of the box" sort of ministry.  Brainstorm some 
possible ways to engage our community faithfully outside of the box with the resources that we have.  
What part can you personally play in this?