Missional Journal Vol. 2 No. 2 – A New Imagination for the Church

What stories can you share about Christian congregations who are modeling incarnational ministry within their community?

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4 Responses to Missional Journal Vol. 2 No. 2 – A New Imagination for the Church

  1. Dave Johnson says:

    “As the church confronts wide-spread cynicism about the Christian message, the gospel displayed will give credence to the gospel declared.”

    I think this is the crux of the changes within the Church. The world is, in many respects, HUNGRY for the Gospel–the REAL Gospel, lived out in all it’s fullness. The “attractional” model just doesnt’ do it any more–at least not exclusively! (I say this as a Pastor of a “Seeker-targeted” church which has promoted “attractional events” as the MAIN way to reach seekers.

    I think it should not surprise us that the Church, BEING the Church (ie. living it out for real), will have a powerful impact (ala Acts) on our world.

    Great article!

    Dave

  2. Marty Schoffstall says:

    missional/incarnational is not quick

    As we talked about face to face on Tuesday, I feel that after 10 years of shoveling the snow
    of the two widow ladies I finally have the ability to enter a serious conversation. In fact they
    are probably my personal diplomats to many others in the neighborhood. What is wonderful
    as we move them into monthly hospitality where they feel they belong, I can now explain
    this to my children, (who have also helped with the snow), that we “earned the right” to be
    listened to.

  3. Craig Hammond says:

    I am new to your blog. I appreciate Dave’s astute insights into key issues facing the church as the gospel continues to evolve through the mess of the “corrupt flesh” that is evident in our severely disjointed world. In regard to the topic at hand — A New Imagination for the Church — I was particularly struck by Dave’s comment in regard to one way to imagine the church. You state, “It involves embracing the marginality of the Western church as a reality that offers new possibilities for the church to relearn its true mode of being in the world.”

    I speak from firsthand experience in being part of an extremely zealous and committed group whose imagination was more in line with a combination of “reclaiming the center” and “circling the wagons.” Unfortunately, these two imaginations leave no room to accept the marginality of the Western church as a reality. The nature of these two alternative imaginations do not allow for failure and pain, which are two vital aspects of following Christ that the average American (Christian) would not agreeably partake in, much less even think of.

    Recognizing and accepting the reality of a marginalized church, in my view, is absolutely necessary for understanding and living out the gospel. The glory of accepting the marginality of the church is that it provides a space or an arena for suffering. This thought makes absolute sense to me in terms of the gospel message. Marginality accepts that things aren’t right in a world under the influence and power of corrupted flesh, and allows one to join in the suffering of the world about us with love and a pervading sense of peace. After all, if one is to oppose the systemic evil of a world gone awry, and refuse to go with the flow of the Kingdom of this world (versus God’s Kingdom), there is suffering to be faced. Suffering is not a popular topic, and one that is so easy to rationalize away. In fact, I would consider suffering as the foundation of God’s love. Viewing the church as a marginalized part of the world (as part of a framing story of the gospel) provides a basis for the gospel message to take root and flourish.

    Let me conclude by stating that there is a very fine line between accepting marginality and “circling the wagons.” Circling the wagons is certainly one way of being marginalized. However, the key difference is again, as Dave states, that in circling the wagons, Christians have relinquished attempts to penetrate the world. In other words, they are not loving the world with posture of Jesus in suffering (there is that dreadful word again! : – ) At the risk of repeating myself, the key difference is that penetration of the world will require followers of Jesus to embrace true and right suffering. There is a certain suffering that comes with circling the wagons, but great care must be taken in suffering for what is right. This is a topic for another day, but raises some very interesting questions and challenges for Christian’s in a prosperous, success-based country such as America.

  4. Jim Greeley says:

    Dave,

    I seem to believe what you write about missional. The word seems to mean different things to different people. The recent article in CT, last month?, gives me that impression.

    Thanks for your visit a few weeks ago. It was a good time of catching up

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