Monday, March 30, 2009

Response to Mark Sayers

I posted Mark Sayers blog yesterday on the Missional movement and where we are at with the whole emerging missional church.

My Journey to the emerging missional church movement

I have personally been on the journey into the missional church since 2005. I went through a period of time looking at the way I was living and realising that it was not what I thought it was. I realised I was basically a hyprocrite putting up visades and living a double life. I realised that during this time I wasn't following the basic creeds of Christ, but living in a system that was focused on keeping myself safe and happy without needing to change and grow.

During this time I basically dismantled what I knew about God, the Church, and living the christian life. This was done at the same time as doing study of Jesus and Paul at university.

The first person I was introduced within the emerging missional church was the controversial figure of Mr Brian McClaren - reading through his book generous orthodoxy - this book introduced me to ideas that were seen as dangerous in communities that saw black and white as the ideal.

I spent a lot of the next year thinking about what it meant to be a christian, trying to figure it out on my own accord - and with some help from others. I became quite disconnected from what I communities I once found safety and found a home (this wasn't the fault of the communities - but a result of me stepping back and questioning much of what I had once thought was the only way to do things.)

During this time I was introduced to Neo-calvinist Mark Driscoll. I have always had a love-hate relationship with Driscoll. I respect his stand and that he wont budge but disagree with him on a number of issues. I respect Mark Driscoll because he puts his money (and his churches money) where his mouth is and is developing churches. I don't think his model is the only way to do church - but see that the Acts 29 movement is going to have a big impact on the Church. I

I have also spent a lot of time being influence by the Neo-Monastics - I love the Neo-Monastics - again they sincerely put thier money where thier mouth is and are doing a lot of good around the world. One thing I find though with Neo-Monastics is that they are highly idealistic - because they are prophetic in nature they can be quite hard to deal with if you are a middle class christian. They often get ridden of as not understanding the complexities of life and are seen as needing to grow up and get a real job.

But I think Neo-Monastics have real guts. Living in community as they do is hard going and challenging. I have good freinds within monastic communities and think they are a healthy aspect of the church. Plus I was quite close to wanting to get involved in Urban vision for a while.

I was introduced to the Neo-Missiologists by a freind of mine Mike Brantley in the states. The whole story of my journey has been about distilling the Christian faith back to the essentials - that is that we are to be spurred into mission by love, living by faith and being a force of hope in a broken and desperate world. This has shaped my view that structure doesn't matter - all that matters is the message of the Gospel - and that is simple - God is missional - he loves and wants to restore relationship with his creation. He showed his love by sending his son to earth, to show a new way of living, a whole way of living, then his son went against evil, was sent to death on a roman cross, the rose again in victory over sin and death. Through because of this we can live healed lives.

Neo-Missiologists way is simple - boiling it down to bear essentials - its about living in proximaty with broken people, being a presence of hope and love like Jesus was and proclaiming that love by our words and deeds. I would probrably say that I'm closest to this school of thought.

I have a lot of time for the blenders - these guys are attually pretty amazing. They have alot of patience with a whole lot of people who have differing opinions. Erwin McManus has an awesome ability to view future trends and develop healthy community, and this has been shown by Mosaic LA. Dan Kimball is a traditional evangelical but has such a heart for reaching the lost in ways that people can understand - and is able to communicate these ways.

How is the emerging missional church shaping up in New Zealand

The emerging missional church is still small and only taking shape in New Zealand and because of this isn't as fractured as in the states. My main concern is to see the Church as an agent of hope in New Zealand, showing people that God cares for them.

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