Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Origins + Labs: Creating a Missional Culture in a Consumer World

It’s been exactly four weeks since I attended this seminar, but I still need to get some things down for my own sake – at least as a reminder of what transpired. The second seminar I went to was Dan Kimball’s “Creating a Missional Culture in a Consumer World.” There weren’t any other sessions I was interested in, to be honest. I had just finished (or was close to finishing) They Like Jesus, But Not the Church and I was expecting a lot of repetition. I was wrong. I don’t go to many conferences so it may be how many of them go, but I don’t remember the entirety of the presentation. Instead a few things drilled me. I’ll hit a couple highlights and be sure to note the most prominent challenges I faced.

Since we’re a bunch of leaders trying to be missional, we have to check our hearts. His haunting question is this: “Are our hearts so bleeding, do we so care for people, for those who don’t know Jesus that it breaks our heart?” Challenging question. Kimball notes, and I agree (for myself, not necessarily others) that we can package things so much that we lose the heart. We need to have a heart for those who don’t know Christ. This mission should drive us with a passion.

Mission has a huge excitement that comes with it. Look at the short term trips we go on overseas. Why not have that excitement here. The problem is that we aren’t as intentional here as we are there. We lose all of our non-Christian friends the longer we are Christians. We need to be praying for those who have not met Jesus. Another challenging question for some of us who have been Christians for a while: “Who are you praying for? Who’s the last non-Christian you went to a movie with?”

We need to be missional. That means being the church in the world. And Kimball is sure to note that being missional means people are coming to know Jesus personally. To do there needs to be some transition in thinking. Mission should be the organizing principle. You don’t go to church. We are the church in the world. The church isn’t a place you go. It is a people and, if there’s a building, it is a training and support center for sending out. We also need to recalibrate evangelism. We need to care for people like Jesus did. Instead of seeking every opportunity to wedge our beliefs into a conversation, we need to listen and learn. Earn a right to share Jesus.

The most challenging question I remember is this: “What would your ‘missionary letter’ say about your life here?”

That’s jaw-dropping. I intend to have a report of what I’ve done for those who sent me to Kenya, but I don’t think about it here. But when we live on mission, those conversations with baristas and neighbors and fellow parents take on new meaning for the gospel. This mentality needs to start with leadership and be modeled by leadership. In fact, I think I’m going to start writing my own missionary letters. It’s a bit scary, but it might be an interesting insight into how on mission I am (or am not) living.

Kimball unveiled a powerpoint slide to explain what a missional church looks like – or what he’s aiming for. Here it is with some explanation.

1 comment:

Wacky Weavers said...

A-freakn'- Men! Sure got my fire going this morning! THanks... I'll be checking out those books