Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Right Here Right Now

Right Here Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People

By Alan Hirsch & Lance Ford

Apostolic Mission (e.g. Church Planting) + Mission of the People of God (MPOG, Agents in Every Sphere = Transformational Jesus Movement. 32

Church is not simply a building or a formal community meeting, it is who we are—a people who have been formed out of a direct encounter with God in Jesus Christ. If this is true, then general practice in church planting, which simply amounts to “service planting,” actually activates only once side of the movement equation—namely, apostolic mission—but it leaves the MPOG (Mission of the People of God) undervalued and almost totally passive and unengaged. This is a fatal error. 33

Embodiment (the capacity to actually integrate and live out the teachings and message of Jesus) is critical to transmission (the capacity to transfer the message through relationships). 34

In order to take missionality seriously, you have to take culture seriously…You simply have to assume that, in Western contexts, all communication of the gospel, let alone church planting and mission, is now cross-cultural. 39

One of the most basic assumptions of the incarnational missionary is to assume God is already involved in every person’s life and is calling them to himself through his Son. Out mindset should not be the prevalent one of taking God with us wherever we go. It must be, instead, that we join God in his mission. 42

We live as if there is an insurmountable difference between the “sacred” and the “secular.” But if Jesus is Lord of all life, there is no such distinction. 47

Just like a local gang, we should have a “turf”…You should live where you want to serve. You should be able to bump into the tribe in the local shops and supermarket. This allows for what I call three practices of incarnational engagement: proximity, frequency, and spontaneity. 49-50

It is impossible to be a missional church if we fail to be a missional people. Otherwise, missionality is reduced to sponsored programs that centralize the life of the body of Christ, institutionalizing and containing it in church systems and programs that view mission as something that happens “over there” or at special events. 65

The reality of our situation is that Christendom has been in decline for the last 250 years. This is what the term post-Christendom means. Society…is “over” Christendom. The problem for man Christians and church leaders is that we have not come to grips with this fact. We fight for prayers and the Ten Commandments…because we think Christianity is the dominant civil religion and ought to be so. In other words, we still think of the church and its mission in terms of Christendom, while in reality we are in a post-Christendom context. 74

When I hear someone say, “Five people gave their lives to the Lord in our meeting last night,” I bristle. I want to ask, “How do you know they gave their lives to the Lord?” You can’t know that until some degree of time goes by. 77

Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4:5-6, Message

John Wimber was known for holding a Bible up and saying, “This is the menu, folks…it ain’t the meal.”…When we mix the Word of God with real feet-to-the-pavement living, we can experience a kingdom feast every day and invite others to join us at that table. Until we let that happen, the words of the Bible remain as dormant as garden seeds left in their original envelope. The words just languish as possibilities, ideas, and options. 102 Again, the menu isn’t the meal. Studyin the menu will not provide nourishment nor curb hunger. 117

The pursuit of happiness has left a trail of tears on many fronts. 127

For too long, church culture has steamed down the channel of self-centeredness and away from community building and societal transformation. We need a radical reformation of leadership that preaches, models, and leads with a message that stirs us away from the trending ascendance of personal ambition. 129

When at all costs we hold the nuclear family and middle-class concepts at the pinnacle of our priorities, we become dull and blind to the injustices around us. Family ideals and the American Dream hold loyalty over and above the initiative of the kingdom of God and the justice and mercy it calls for. The presumptive “if you believe it, you can become it” notion causes many in the middle class to dismiss their obligation to those who are homeless or to interpret the plight of the poor as reaping a harvest from their own lazy lack of initiative. That is, at least, until the middle class themselves become the unemployed as has occurred in the recent economic crash—then it’s someone else’s fault. 132

Individualism and our desire for comfort and privacy choke out the Word and our missional imagination along with it, nullifying our effectiveness as agents of the kingdom of God. 132

We must make up our minds that we will disentangle ourselves from the suffocating weight that comes with living and overly consumptive lifestyle. We make a choice to break free in order to live redemptively.  144

We need both a radically lean way of living by some disciples and an elaborate abundance shared by others…We need people who are called to a radical simplicity of lifestyle, to remind the rest of us that we don’t need what we think…We need communities of Christians willing to commit themselves to support each other in risky, venturesome ways, to goad the rest of us out of our autonomy. We need Christians willing to resist the many ways in which the dominant in our world crush the weak. We need Christians who find  thousand joyful ways to take the screwed-up values of this world and turn them upside down. 147

For authentic community to marinate, we need a mix of people with various skills and interests coming together and rubbing off on one another. Silo living breeds social disintegration. It fosters a life that segregates our relationships with others and limits intermingling among the people in our differing silos. 164

A sanctified imagination is a powerful missional tool. 191

Shared adventures are like glue to relationships, and there really is adventure to be had, if we will open our eyes and ears to see the needs right under our noses. 193

People should be able to experience a foretaste of heaven from our families and our homes…Missional hospitality is a tremendous opportunity to extend the kingdom of God. We can literally eat our way into the kingdom of God. 203

Too often, the largest portions of our time, resources, finances, and manpower go into one basket—weekend services…In short, our actions say that what we do inside the building is more important than what we do outside the building. 217
Contrary to what we might think, Jesus shows us that meeting needs is not the starting point for incarnational mission. 225

Truth is, we have all drunk so deeply from the institutional wells of Christianity that it is hard to think of ourselves differently. 236

We certainly need to think of the church more as an exponential people movement involving all of God’s people and not an institution run by religious professionals offering different brands of religious goods and services. 238

The traditional marks of the church that stemmed from the reformation are woefully inadequate to equip the contemporary Western church to deal with the bewildering missionary challenge we face. 239

We are all deeply scripted to believe that we must bring people to our church, and so we seldom take into account the cultural dynamics inherent in that equation. But it’s all about culture. Our church has a distinct culture, as do the people we are hoping to reach! …all mission in Western settings now should be considered a cross-cultural enterprise. 251

Attractional evangelism in missionary contexts results in extracting them from their previous relationships and cultural context. 251

Attractional forms of church in missionary contexts eventually are self-defeating because the church quickly exhausts its suppy of relationships and because the new converts quickly become a cultural clique or religious ghetto increasingly marginalized from the original culture. 252