Thursday, September 13, 2007

Becoming a Missional Christian

I wrote this post at the beginning of the year. Please forgive some of the repitition. It was written when I was processing through some stuff, this is actually not really that finished, but I want to share it with you because I was actually quite suprised to see how far this has played out in the way God is shaping me, it sums up how I'm attempting to live my life now as a christian sent out to the lost, sent to be a light, an example of something different, something fresh, something new! I will write further on contextualised faith, missional christianity, missional church and the missional God that we follow when I have some more time, but let this settle with you. Sorry about the intensity of this blog, again, it was written at a time of deep proccessing for me.

I have come to believe that a very important aspect of Christianity is that we are to be missional. A fact of Christianity is that it is a missional faith, we are called by our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ to show people who God is, to show Jesus who Jesus is, and share with them the Truth of the Gospel. The last words spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew commanded Christians to spread the gospel throughout the world. Jesus said “Go to people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. (Matt 28:19-20) Mission is to be a focus of Christians in the way they live and act, we are to fulfil Jesus’ commission. We are to tell people the Gospel through our words and deeds, just like Jesus did. We are here to bring about Gods redemptive plan on this earth. Not here to twiddle our fingers or debate how good our navels look. Jesus said that he was here on the earth to “tell the good news to the poor … …. to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers.” (Luke 4:18 paraphrase) Throughout Jesus’ time on earth he did this and showed people that the way to salvation was not through trusting in our own actions, because frankly our good actions are like s%$%*y nappies when compared to Gods Holiness.(Isaiah 64:6) Salvation cannot be earned, it is given in act on unmerited favour to those who have faith in Christ (read Romans 3) as a result of the saving act of Jesus Christ on the cross.

So as Christians we are called to preach this truth, that God came to earth as the man Jesus Christ, lived a human life, died on a cross and then rose again and ascended into heaven, that the life that no man had ever lived and ever will live. Showing us that salvation is only through God, through having faith in God and his saving grace. But how do we do this practically through our lives. How do we centre our lives around these truths and preaching them in word and deed.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and it scares me a lot, When I look at New Zealand I do not see a quarter acre, pavalova paradise, I see men and women crying out for something more, they live caught in addictions, making the wrong choices, getting drunk, living in unhealthy relationships, all of these are images of a broken nation, a nation which is not Gods Own.

So how are we to reach out and change New Zealand for the better, how are we going to change the world for the better?

I have come recently to discover that the way we need to do mission goes like this

First we need to figure out who Jesus really is, we need to figure out how he did mission, how it permeated his whole life. Read Mark, you do not find a guy who sits at his computer all day or reading books all day, he is out there, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, saving people from hell all the time, taking on the religious hypocrites of the age and kicking their butts. Read Luke, find out about how Jesus relates to people – he met them at their need. Man, he even used a drunken jewish wedding to show who he was to the people around him.
What I’m saying is that we need to know who Jesus really was, this is not based on our view of Jesus, in your preconceptions Jesus may be a hippy in a dress, but was he really that? Read, wrestle with what you find in the Gospels. I am coming to realise that Jesus is not a comfortable teacher that I follow. He was a radical, no-nonsense man, his words divided families and continues to divide families, it isn’t all roses. He wants us to be righteously-angry radicals willing to challenge the systems of injustice in our world. He doesn’t want us to act all high and mighty, he wants us to put all our trust in God, he wants us to do his will throughout the world and change this world for God.

Good Christology (In Laymans terms – how we view Christ’s and his saving actions) will lead to good missiology. As Christians we a called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. This means that we follow the example of our teacher. Our way of living should be incarnational. This will be a change from being evangelistic (I’m stealing these terms from Michael Frosts book Exiles) We are called to be in relationship with non-Christians on a equal footing. We are called to be Christ to our non-Christian friends. An example of truth and life to those who are non-christians. This means eating with non-christians, going out to pubs with non Christians, spending good quality time with non-christians, feeding them with the truth through our actions. It means we will have to stand up for what is truth when we are with them as well.

We are called to be different from the world, but what does this really mean. In contemporary Christian culture it has meant putting up walls, closing us up. We have not been allowed to form relationship with non-christians, and become separatist in our actions toward non-christians. This is not what Jesus has called us to do. He has called us to be ambassadors of the kingdom, going out into the cultures, subcultures etc and bringing the truth of the Gospel. We are not to be closed in, but reaching out with this truth, by living out the gospel.

So how are we to be examples of Christ in the world?

What does a culturally Relevant Church look like in Wellington?

What Churches in Wellington are doing mission well? What can we learn from them about doing mission in Wellington?

What is the culture of Wellington telling us about the concerns of the citizens of Wellington?

What are the Cultural Idols of Wellington? What are the Cultural Idols of New

We need men and women, godly, Christ centred men and women who will cry out “Give me New Zealand, or i’ll die”

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