Tag: missional community

VERGE: Pre-conference Reflections

This is the unofficial launch of jonathandodson.org, heretofore known as Creation Project. We are still working out the kinks, but I hope you’ll: Bookmark it. Blog it. Tweet it. Comment on it. Link to it. Not because I am great but because the gospel is great. You can read more about the origin and meaning of Creation project here. Concisely, the aim of Creation Project is to equip and converse on all things Gospel, Culture, Church, and Mission.

Today I spent the whole day with other missional leaders in the VERGE pre-conference. We thought hard about how the gospel should work through the church in our culture on mission. Alan Hirsch & Leadership Network facilitated our time together by leading us through best practices conversations. Mega and Micro churches were represented. Here are a few take-aways:

  • We need a Missional Imagination to break through our inherited forms of church and really see the gospel take root in our communities and cultures. Falling back on top down, heavy-handed methods have moved us away from the DNA of gospel movements.
  • Church as Family must permeate everything, from the way we run staff meetings (less telling people what to do and more listening to people) to how we spend our time (more missional less administrative “staff”).
  • Invite people into my life, not just my Missional Community. Mission must be everyday life, not an occasional event, a monthly practice, a new Christian language. I am excited about upping this in my own life, about inviting our City Group leaders into my life more. More dinners and mission together, less formal meetings and trainings.

You are Cool if you are Missional

You are cool because you are “missional”.†It’s true. Face it. Forget the “mega”churches, the “seeker-sensitive” people, and those darn “prosperity” guys. They are all wrong.First of all, they are not at all “organic” and cannot hang with our beards, pipes, and brews. They obviously†didn’t read†“Total Church” or “Tangible Kingdom”, know nothing of church plants or gospel rhythms, and they most certainly are not “in the city for the city“. Nope. We are.
In celebration of our collective coolness I propose we play a game called: “Put your hand in the air,†and if any of the statements below are true of you, put it down.
  1. You have used the word “missional” and you have no idea what it means, none whatsoever. Hand down.
  2. You have a“heart for the nations” but have never left your homestate for anything other than a trip to Disneyland. Hand down.

What Does a Gospel-centered Church of Missional Communities Really Look Like?

One of the dangerous things about publishing and writing online is that you can get an exaggerated presence. People begin to inflate your ideas, your church, your leadership well beyond their actual capacity. I think this is a real danger among church planters. We’re all “trying to make a mark for God” by employing the latest missional thinking. We comb the web for innovative ideas, best practices, and training in order to make the “best mark for the glory of God.”

I want to deflate any exaggeration that might be out there about Austin City Life or my own leadership. Not just to deflate, but to bring balance and realism into the picture. A lot of young church planters are captivated by methodologies and best practices. These methods and practices are often downloaded without any effort to rethink them for their own vision and context. That, too, is dangerous.

At the risk of promoting more uncritical downloads, and with the hope of bringing realistic balance to what I write, I thought I would point to some actual stories of Gospel, Community, and Mission told by our own people on a Sunday morning. We often bring people up to share about how God is working in their life during a SUnday gathering. We do this, not to be cool, but to a) As the psalmist says “tell of the works of the Lord b) to reinforce that church is a family not an event c) to encourage others.

This past Sunday was a vision/story-telling Sunday. I brought three people up from our community, who are not leaders, to share how they experienced God’s goodness in 2010 in the areas of Gospel, Community, and Mission. The stories are earthy, inspiring, real. They are not canned. And because of that, I hope you’ll find them helpful. They are little windows into an imperfect church, clinging to a perfect Christ, that is trying to live by the gospel, in community, on mission.