Michael Frost on “Missional”

Mike Frost invite

My friends over at Forge Canada are hosting Michael Frost in the greater Vancouver area this afternoon and I am happy to be attending two of the sessions.

He is one of the more influential missional thinkers and practitioners out there.  Below is a video snagged from youtube wherein he describes and defines “missional.”  It is important to have a healthy understanding of a word that has hit buzz word status.  His voice is, and will continue to be important for this missional conversation and subsequent praxis.

Does your church use missional language?  What is a helpful definition of ‘missional church’ for you?

Missional Spirituality on Loving Neighbour

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…when we think our neighbourhoods, we must also think of our networks, places where we do life together in natural relationships: at work, at the kids’ soccer and baseball games, in the schools, at pancake breakfasts, in community events, at Starbucks.  The kingdom of God is a people and a place of community – with local opportunities to belong and meet others.

To love our neighbour as ourselves and to be a neighbour to others means we will not just pass by that hurting person we see along our pathway and in our network.  We must be ready to offer mercy with a good cup of coffee, or a room to stay in or a free meal to enjoy or payment for a medication or next month’s rent.

The challenges to missional living in suburbia are legion.  Simon Carey Holt reminds us that suburbia has a utopian vision of life: A community of like minded citizens escaping one place to reside in another.  He points to the billboards along the highway, which offer a dream.  The words “community,” “security” and “home” are plastered over images of children riding their bikes, fathers rolling in the grass, airbrushed sunsets and candle lit dinners.  We all long for community, but the community that marketing technicians offer is no “place.”  It’s an empty abstraction.

And yet, Jesus became a man and moved into the neighbourhood.  How do we make a difference?  How do we as the physical church body of Jesus become visible people?  How do we become “placed” and invite people to come?

Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson “Missional Spirituality: Embodying God’s Love from the Inside Out.” 180. (IVP)

The questions at the end of this excerpt are seemingly simple until we adventure into the practicality of becoming a ‘visible’ people.

How do we make a difference?  How do we as the physical church body of Jesus become a visible people?  How do we become “placed” and invite people to come?

Will You Let Me Be Your Servant?

 

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A few years ago I had the opportunity to be part of a house blessing in Pass Christian Mississippi, which is located 45 minutes down the coast from New Orleans. 

It was for a woman whose house was destroyed by hurricane Katrina.  She shares the story with seemingly thousands of others.  The hurricane hit, her house flooded, she was left stranded on her roof for a few days with limited water.

She was one of those people we saw on the news sitting on her roof waiting for help.

In partnership with Mennonite Disaster Service, and empowered by our church, we took the youth group I was pastoring to Pass Christian Mississippi to help build houses.  During our week we had the opportunity to put the finishing touches on this lady’s house.

During the ceremony where we handed over the keys we sang this song.  It was the first time I paid attention to the words of this particular hymn.

Will You Let Me Be Your Servant?

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey, we are trav’lers on the road.
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you. I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to god in heaven, we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

At this moment, singing this song with my youth group from Manitoba and people from Pass Christian I realized something that strikes at the very essence of faith in Jesus…

We are on this journey together.  United in our common humanity, we weep, we laugh, we share in joy and sorrow till we see this journey through no matter the colour of our skin or gender or age.  No one man or woman greater than the other.  It is hard to be a servant to someone you feel is ‘lesser’ than you. To assume this place of common equality turns the question on its head. 

Imagine the people you serve at soup kitchens, drop in centres, food banks, homeless shelters asking you… “Will you let me be your servant?” 

What is it like to see yourself as a servant as opposed to a hero?  How do you feel when you are served by others?

Linking Our Sunday’s with our Monday–Saturday

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I have been reading JR Woodward’s new book “Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World” and will be dropping a collaborative review with Len Hjalmarson soon.  Here are some helpful words on what a thriving church looks like.  Interestingly it is a church that connects our Sunday’s with our Monday – Saturday.

A thriving environment helps the congregation to live our her calling in the world for the sake of the world.  People begin to link Sunday with Monday, and their work transforms from a job to a sacred vocation.  They learn to bring God’s power to bear on human need.  The banker or person in finance looks for a way to live out jubilee; judges help the court system move toward conflict resolution instead of ever increasing litigation.  Realtors try to house people according to their need instead of their greed.  Engineers and architects look to bring a sense of order and beauty to cities.  Artists seek to disturb, awaken and enlighten us in hopes that we might be more present to ourselves, our world and to the One who is behind all of creation.  People learn to live out their calling in their vocation in a way that blesses others and brings glory to God. – page 53/54

How do our churches and communities empower and equip us to walk as disciples beyond Sunday?  How do you want to be encouraged to “live out faith” every day of the week?