Category Archives: Missional

The church is called to mission, namely the Mission of God to the world. We are privileged to join him in what he’s doing

Why Plant New Churches?

church_plantingThe answer to this question is actually quite simple yet the discussion within our context makes it complex. I take my lead from Dr. Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York who has written a brilliant article on this very question. Following are excerpts from his article, Why Plant Churches? (2002).

There are numerous responses to the question worth considering.

  1. “We already have plenty of churches that have lots and lots of room for all the new people who have come to the area. Let’s get them filled before we start new ones.”
  2. “Every church in this community used to be more full than it is now. A new church will just take people from churches already hurting and will weaken everyone.”
  3. “Help the churches that are struggling first. A new church doesn’t help the existing ones that are just keeping their noses above water. We need better churches not more churches.”

These statements seem like common sense to many people, but they rest on several wrong assumptions. The error of this thinking will become clear if we ask, “Why is church planting so crucially important?”

Continue reading Why Plant New Churches?

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The Dual Life and the Mission of God

As a pastor in a long established church (109 years), I find a tension that makes me weary and drives me to question at times, why I’m here. Don’t get me wrong, my congregation are wonderful loving, warm, salt-of-the-earth people who sincerely desire to worship and serve God. We have gotten more involved in our community through a non-profit organization that works with the poor and homeless, we host a SERVE project and take on some big projects to help those in need. We are a church trying to partner in the mission of God.

I like that. That’s how I believe scripture teaches the Gospel is to be lived and realized, through devoted followers of Christ who represent Jesus in their communities and wherever they find themselves. But here’s the great tension of which I speak; The Dual Life.

Continue reading The Dual Life and the Mission of God

Irresistible Influence

I recently had a conversation with someone in our church who felt somewhat frustrated with where the church seemed to be heading. A year and a half ago as we  discussed our vision and identity as a church, conversations and round-table discussions made it clear that the majority of the church believes we must become far more active in our community and abroad.

This particular member thought it a waste of time and money to send myself and another church member to Zambia on a scouting trip to assess ministry needs in an area where we support a local pastor. They saw no value in such effort believing that the financial support we’ve sent for the past nine-plus years to be quite adequate. I assured her that there will be greater value in further developing our relationship with our friends in Zambia, with hands-on, side-by-side ministry that you can’t put a price on. And our brothers and sisters in Zambia are longing for that kind of relationship. People’s lives are changed in such ministry environments in incredibly profound ways not to mention the intimate relationships developed with our dear friends. I rattled off other various benefits to such an endeavor. She just looked at me, cold and said, “I guess I’m just old-fashioned and I don’t think it’s that important.” I cringe at that mindset, but understand where it comes from.

Continue reading Irresistible Influence

Why I Want to Go to VERGE 2012

So there I am checking my Twitter feed on Tweet Deck and see a friend tweeted about this VERGE Conference 

2012 contest.  It sounded great to me, but I had to write a blog post and retweet stuff.  So here I am giving you the shpeel as to why I want to attend VERGE 2012.

Since Verge began I’ve wanted to someday make it to a conference.  Their focus has been on developing missional communities, churches that act like Christian churches — being the presence of Christ in their communities through outstretched arms of grace, without being judgmental, but just pointing to Jesus.

Having grown up in a very traditional conservative denominational community (praise the Lord that is beginning to change), mission has always been something you do “over there”, but certainly support it financially and prayerfully.  While that is vital for any ministry to succeed, I had always felt while growing up that God wants me and the church to be missionaries in our own backyard with everyone we meet.   Continue reading Why I Want to Go to VERGE 2012

Building Bridges

Back in May 2010 our church adopted a new mission and vision statement, one that has, I believe, the potential to inspire and motivate our church family to greater things for the kingdom of God.  The mission is simple and yet extremely challenging, much like the great commission and great commandment Jesus set forth for his followers (Matt 22, 28).  But it is empowered by the Holy Spirit and Jesus did say, “I will be with you until the end of the age. ”

That’s a good thing because we’re toast without his divine presence and intervention.  But the task still remains for us to be his presence and his ambassadors to a hurting world who desperately need the healing touch of Jesus.

I begin thinking about the bridges that need to be made into our community.  We do have some good bridges since some of our folks are involved with the Women’s Resource Center and we have SERVE and CCSP (Christian Community Service Projects) all summer which bless the lives of so many people. More recently we have begun special community missions during months with five Sundays through our Faith In Action ministry. We’ve been cooking and serving with La Puente homeless shelter for over a year now.  We offer a Vacation Bible School every year as well. I think these are extremely valuable and viable inlets into the community and I’m excited to see more and more people becoming involved and challenged. But what I find interesting is that there are a significant number who still don’t participate.  It’s easy to stay at arms length from mission.   Most of us feel connected financially and vicariously.  But “vicariousness” by it’s very nature suggests a measure of disconnect from the event or action itself.  So then, how involved are you?

In order to achieve our mission and the vision we believe God by his Holy Spirit has laid on our hearts, we must move from vicarious participation to active participation in building bridges into our community.  And since we are some ten miles from town, we will need to really become creative in order to span the distance.

We know that a number of the people we are trying to reach and connect with may not have the means to make the trek to our location.  We will need to assess the needs in our community in order to consider how we might be able to build a bridge.  Literacy and healthy parenting  are just a couple of huge issues and often among those in poverty.  In order to bridge this gap we may have to set up a space or rent an office in town to teach classes?  Maybe one of our bridging endeavors would be to some how close the distance that separates our church from the town of Alamosa.  Let’s face it, people don’t want to drive any further than they have to these days.

We need to dream big because we have a big God who wants to flex his muscles.  He’s just waiting for his people to live as if they have a big God.

Not all bridges need to be long.  Some are very short and are between you and your neighbor, coworker, the check out clerk at the grocery store.  We all have natural connections that require some intentionality and cultivation so that relationships can grow.  Who knows, it could turn out to be a relationship in eternity.

Bridges are key to our mission and vision.  So what are some expanses that need to be spanned?  And, how’s your engineering?

“A Spiritual bridge always involves a physical reality.

People need to see to believe.”

Robert Lewis

’til next time,

akd