Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Breaking the Missional Code: Responding to the Commissions of Jesus (ch. 3)

It’s been a while, but I’m still working through Breaking the Missional Code. I’ve read several chapters ahead, but now I’m taking some time to review them and blog them as food for thought and maybe even some feedback.

This next chapter looks at Jesus’ commissions and what we can learn about being missional from them. This isn’t deep exegesis, but Stetzer pulls a facet from each of them that we need to live out. Let’s get to them…

“We are Sent”

John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
The disciples were behind closed door, but Jesus called them out and sent them. We are called to be on mission in the community where God has placed us – whether we like it our not. Our mission is to bring people to God, not cling to our preferences. This is hard. We like our preferences, that’s why they’re our preferences, but our goal is to minister to others by breaking the cultural code – whether we like it or not. This means we have to move outside our evangelical subculture and embrace the mandate to break our cultural code in mission.

“To All Kinds of People”

Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Stetzer continues along the same lines: “After announcing his authority … he did not say, ‘Make sure all of your needs are met’ or ‘Make sure all of your preferences are satisfied.’ What he said was, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations’” (p. 34). All kinds of people in Matthew means we are called to go to all the people groups of the world. That’s why missions is important. We are disobedient if we ignore it … and God is worth it. He is the God of all creation. But for us missions-minded folk, we need to remember that he loves the people groups in our neighborhoods and we need to love them. If we want to break the code in our community, we need to look at people groups beyond ethnic groups and look at the following kinds of subgroups that might need reaching.
People groups. Ethno-linguistic people groups (sharing ethnicity, language, and culture).
Population segments. Subgroups within a distinct people groups (cowboy church, children of immigrants who have more in common with Anglo neighbors than they do with their parents).
Cultural environments. Those defined by geographical environments (prison, college campuses, etc…)

“With a Message”

Luke 24:46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
The message is the forgiveness of sins. There are far-reaching implications of the gospel. It is a broad and deep message. It may be more than just the forgiveness of sins, but it is certainly not less.

“Empowered by the Spirit”

Acts 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
We’re not called to dwell upon eschatology, but instead to live empowered by the Spirit to reach our community.

The Breaking the Code Challenge
Each chapter has questions to help us think through living missionally as individuals and as the church. Here they are:
1. In order to be sent what are some personal preferences you must overcome?
2. How can you help those you lead to see the divots in your community?
3. What does it mean for your church to be the missionary in your community?

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