Missional Church Tag

041210I listen to a reading of a sermon preached by C H Spurgeon from April 27, 1856, over a 150 years ago called ‘Gospel Missions’, in today church lingo it could have been called ‘Gospel Centered Church’ or ‘Missional Church’. It could have, it should be given in the church today. Here we have a sermon on what is at the heart of being a missional church given 150 years ago.

Amazingly Spurgeon hits the key points about what the church is lacking today.


Things he says is missing in the church:

First, We have not apostolic men.
Second, They do not set about their work in an apostolic style.
Third, We do not have apostolic churches.
Fourth, We have not the apostolic influence of the Holy Spirit in the measure that the first church had.

“We have few Apostolic men in these times, preachers of God’s truth.”

“We have not men with Apostolic zeal like Paul, His zeal was so earnest, and so burning. Whether he did eat, or drink, or whatsoever he did, he did all for the glory of his God; he never wasted an hour.”

He went on to say:

“We lack men filled with the Holy Spirit of fire, we have not men with apostolic zeal. Men like Paul who preached the word everywhere, who say “Wow unto me if I preach not the gospel.” You had a convection when you saw him, that he was a man who felt he had a work to do. And must do it and could not contain himself unless he did do it.”

“Oh! if you could have seen Paul preach you would not have gone away as you do today with half a convection that we (pastors) do not mean what we say. I seldom hear a solitary sermon that comes up to the mark in earnest deep passionate longing for the souls of men.”

I gave a big AMEN to all that, and I really loved this:

“Oh had you seen an apostolic church, what a different thing it would have appeared to one of our churches. As different as light and dark. Where is our prayerfulness? Oh, if we prayed as deeply and as earnestly as they did we would have as much success. They broke bread from house to house, they ate their meat with singleness of heart giving glory to God. There was not a member of the church who was half hearted. They gave their heart solely to God.”

Just a few quotes from the sermon, all pastors, all Christians should hear this sermon, it will fire you up if their is even a smoldering amber of the Holy Spirit in you.

Download the sermon here (mp3 22.4 mb).

When can you tell a church is effective with the gospel, being missional? When its full of repented prostitutes, drug dealers,  adulters and other repented sinners.

When the captives are being set free from oppression, depression, substance abuse, pornography, human trafficking, and the other things of this world.

After all that is what the gospel is all about.

Just a simple thought for the day.

girls cheering on

I attended some of my nieces softball games the past two weekend, loved watching those girls play (10 to 12 years olds) , they are so amazing, the sills and abilities they posses at such a young age.

One of the things that caught my attention was that when they make an errors, mess up, strike out, drop a ball their teammates still say good job, you’ll get it next time and high five them, the coaches yell out good try, way to try, sake it off. As well as all of us in the stands, cheered for them just as if they hit a home run even when it was a pop fly out, shout out good hit! Not one of those girls is allowed to feel like they failed, no matter how badly they messed up.

That made me think of the verse Heb 12:1  "Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," And how we have our own cheering section in heaven, but we should have one here to. When we mess up, make mistake, the body of Christ should be like my nieces teammates there to high five us, say good try, you’ll get it next time when we strikeout. But I do not see that happening very much at all in the church today, and that saddens me.

We the church, the body of Christ must, need to learn from girls softball, learn to be a team that supports each other no matter what, how bad we mess up. I saw how much it effected those girls, their spirits, them emotionally, made them what to do better next time. It keep them in the game with high spirits no matter the score, because they new they were winners no matter what the scoreboard said, glad to be on the team and in the game with them, and so should every member of the body of Christ.

There is a church that I have been listening to their podcasts for a few weeks now called City of Grace in Mesa AZ. And I have been enjoying their recent teaching series, the pastor has been doing a very a good teaching with some great insight as to how to live out the word of God as related to the series. But for the last two weeks he has talked about a new project of the church, they are seeking to buy a house next to the church that is occupied by a dental office. This house apparently blocks the church building from being seen well from the main road. And for some reason this house is seen as an obstacle to the churches growth, they seam to believe if the house was not there they would be seen better by passers by and therefore the church would grow in number of members. The price tag to buy the house, $800,000, so they have spent the last two weeks hitting up their people with a campaign to raise the needed $800,000 to by this house plus the cost to tear it down.

Wow! I cannot express how disappointed I am in them doing this, with so many people starving to death not just else where the world but in their own city, so many in need of medical service that they can not afford to get, orphans, widows, single moms in need, children that have only one set of cloths to their name. I can not understand that they would want spend that much money on something as trivial as a house that block the view of their building from the road. As if that will really bring people to the church just because they can see the church building better from the road.

They are calling it a miracle offering to raise the needed money, I say it would be no miracle by God nor would it bring glory to God to raise money for that purpose, but to raise that much money to do something like pay the overdue rents of some struggling single mothers, pay some widows light bills that are about to be shut off. Or build a childcare center to provide free childcare for struggling single moms. Use the money to feed and clothed ten thousand children in the city. Pay the for medical needs for someone who can not afford it, like children in a poor family. That would be a miracle to those people, that would bring glory to God! And I guarantee you that more people would see the church and come to it after doing things like those I just listed than they would if that church spends nearly a million dollars to remove that house they claim keeps people from seeing them and coming to the church. I bet that people would flock to the church, to come to hear bout the God that cares about those in need and a church that cares more about people than buildings.

Jesus said said “lift Me up and I will draw men unto me“, that is the way to grow a church,  doing what Jesus said to do to build the church, Going and proclaiming the gospel will grow a church, not moving a house.

And I do read God saying “ Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house.” The purpose of the tithe and offerings to God was that nobody would be without food, that the needy would be taken care of and when you match this with what Jesus says in Mat 25:31-46 you see very clear what God expects His people to do with their resources, and buy a building to tear down is not it.

I say it is not that house that is blocking the peoples view of the church, from coming to the church but rather it is the church that is blocking the peoples view of Jesus.

I would encourage them to look at what Pastor Francis Chan did with his church Cornerstone Community Church, you can read my blog on him and what he did here>>>.

Or about pastor Jared Wilson after hearing the story of Cornerstone followed suit with his church Element in Nashville, read my blog about him here>>>

I pray that Pastor Terry at City of Grace church will follow Pator Chan and Wilson and do the right thing and not buy that house and use the money to give to God and His glory the way He said to.

We must think of everyday activities of our life through the lenses of Gospel, Community, and Mission. Seek to live in such a way to apply these three elements to every aspect of our lives.

The gospel must be and is most effectively proven by it being lived out in everyday life, its effects on us lived out. Community life cannot be simply restricted to a Sunday morning service and/or a mid-week gathering. It must extend radically beyond these events to accomplish all the “one another passages” and what we see in passages like Acts 2:42-48, just as it is true that evangelism (mission) cannot be accomplished through programs nor by only a hand full of “professional evangelist”. Our missionary methods must expand into the ordinary everyday activities of our lives if we are to follow the scriptural models we read of, and Jesus’ life example. We must purposely form our everyday lives around the gospel and Christ. We’ve must move away from the program-based way of “doing” the Christian life, and doing church, move to a more ordinary, real and organic everyday way of life.

Begin by looking at all your daily ordinary activities through a tri-fold lens of community, mission, and gospel, things like going out to dinner, grocery shopping, going to the mall, taking the kids to the park. You want to seek out how you can take these activities and infuse each of these three elements.

Lets take going out to dinner, to add the community element you invite a Christian friend, someone from your church gathering. The gospel element can be added in a natural but intentional way as you converse throughout dinner, by partaking in the breaking of bread and the cup of the new covenant. Community is achieved by the very nature of coming together and have a meal together, you intentional engage in the one another’s of Christian fellowship. The mission element is accomplished by your intent of being there with a mission purpose, to reach, take the gospel to the world around you. By engaging your servers and possible those around you with the gospel.

Lets change up the situation a little: To add the mission element to your dinning out would be to invite a non-Christian friend, neighbor or co-worker to join you and your Christian friends. The community element is added in by both having community with the Christian as well as the non-Christian friends, but also the non-Christian getting to experience first hand real Christian community happening before them between you and your Christian friends. Allowing them to see a glimpse of the Kingdom life lived out by you. The gospel element can be added in again in a natural way as you converse throughout dinner. By you and the believers partaking in the breaking of bread and taking the cup, and explaining what is happening and why, and how this effects you life and who you are. And by them hearing how God and the gospel effects and directs your daily lives. And of course the mission element is also accomplished by the fact you are proclaiming the gospel through natural conversation and community with the intent to expand the kingdom by making disciples. And you still add in the active mission element of reaching out the your servers and others around you.

See how easily this way of living where we think of everyday activities through the lenses of Gospel, Community, and Mission, can be applied to basically every activity of everyday life, everything we do. Perhaps the element of community cannot be always applied to every situation but the gospel and mission can be applied to every thing we do in life.

As I stated in two prior blogs here and here one of the two questions one must answer before planting a church is Define Church, what is church. Because you’re definition of church and Why you want to plant one is foundational to what you do. These two issues are so very critical, they will set in motion the chain of events that determine what is created, the answers will mold and shape what you do.

What the scripture tell us Church is to be, its purpose, what it is all about, the description we see of the first church must be our goal, blueprint for church, it is there and only there we must and should get our definition of church.

And that definition as I see reviled in scripture and seek to plant is:

Church is first and foremost people, the body of Christ. As well as Church is a way of life, not a systematize set of programs or event. You don’t begin with a structure or a church strategy; you begin with people, people in community with one another, a way of life that is lived out by the people. Church is all about Jesus Christ, about His life and death, living in oneness with Him, fellowship with Him, worship of Him and the teaching and proclaiming of His Word and His gospel to one another.

Church is about all things related to our intimate connection with God through worship spiritual formation, and prayer. Everything related to how God works His redemptive ways among people, the spirit, the word, discipleship and community. Church is a gathering together with two or more around Jesus, a gathering centered on communion, worship, His word and oneness with Jesus, and being on mission with Him on the earth.

Church is where people, the body of Christ come together for intimate life together, to encourage, edify, build up one another, equip each other for service, admonish each other and love each other.

Where we exercise our spiritual gifts for the benefit of each other, and in servant hood, serving others. To be fed the word of God, the meat of it to cause spiritual maturity and growth of the body.

Gathering together for corporate worship of God in the spirit. To have a communion meal together, the breaking of bread, which is the sharing of a meal in remembrance of Christ life and death. A time of study of the word of God, time of prayer for one another and the meeting of the needs of each other.

Church is an intentional and purposeful act of carrying out of all of these things by all, church is not spectator event, something put on by a few for the many, it is not a time or place for entertainment. It is other and service centered, you go with the intent, purposes of given, serving others, contributing your spiritual gifts for the good of the body, to share your resources with those in need, to do and give. You go to be the church, to bring a song to sing, to teach a lesson, share a word, to build up the body, to share a meal in love and fellowship with others.

Church was never meant to be for non-believers, let me repeat that Church was never intended to be for non-believers. It is not about, or for unbelievers, to be designed to be for them, it is for the body of Christ and about Jesus and the Kingdom Life. Yes unbelievers can visit it, but not to be the focus of it. What they should see if they visit one is see the body of Christ in action, experience true worship by true worshipers in love with God in Christ, not entertainment, fellowship in true love for one another, the word of God taught straight out of the bible and the meal of Christ being shared. See the heart of the Christian life on earth, church and a people in a real relationship with a real God. See the gospel incarnated in the lives of the people, see how the gospel transformed the lives of the people, see tangible prof that Christ is alive and active in the lives of the people, see want it means to be a Christ follower, see what the Kingdom life and church is all about, and it’s not a Vegas show.

Do you see how my definition of church shapes what I plant.

A few scriptures on what church is about: Act’s 2:42-47, 1Cor 14:6 & 26, Rom 12:3-16, I Cor 12:1-31, Eph 4:11-16, Eph 5:23, I Pet 5:1-5, James 5:14, Col 1:18, I Thes 5:11, Jud 1:20, 2 Tim 4:2, Tit 1:9, Heb 3:13, I Pet 5:1-4, Rev 2:1 – 3:22

Continuing my discussion of Why do you want to plant a church?

The right Why as I see church planting would be you are all about community, mission – reaching the lost with the gospel and you see church as where mission and community intersect. Therefore you are passionate to seed the world with Christ-following communities that can confidently and are capably of transforming the cultures they live in and beyond. To see the community you live in impacted with the Gospel on a one-on-one personal way.

That you are you hungry for the true biblical community life, to see a church that looks like 1Cor 14:26 and Acts 2:42-48. Hungry to see lives transformed by the gospel both inside and out of your plant.

That you are passionate about the great commission, is it your life mission statement. The deepest desire of your heart is the same as Paul in what he said in I Col 1:28, it is your co-mission statement, that you desire that Jesus be proclaimed, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that you may present everyone mature in Christ.

And the Key, you burn with desire to join God in the harvest, to proclaim the gospel to the LOST and disciple them in Christ. To see them usurered into the family, Kingdom of God, to warn everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that you may present everyone mature in Christ.

And that is not accomplished from a distant, from a pulpit looking at hundreds or thousands of nameless faces, in a huge building with its own Starbuck’s, not accomplished by discipleship and evangelism being a set of programs, or by connecting with the people though a staff of 25. You heart is like Jesus’ that you must connect face to face daily with each person, it is personal with you, you want to life with each one.

It is accomplished when you decide that Growth and multiplication is NOT  measured by the need to add on to or get a bigger building or even to get one. But by Growth being measured in the spiritual maturity, the growth of the people into the image of Jesus, buy the Lord adding to it in newly saved followers of Jesus, and in sending out people who go and start their own church.

Read part one here

Why

Why

I have come to see that in church planting the First thing one must do is answer Why do you want to plant a church? And the Second is to define church. Because your definition of church and why you want to plant one is foundational to what you do, A.K.A. plant. They both combined will define what it looks like and how it functions and its purpose for existence. I have come to understand how these two issues are so critical, they will set in motion the chain of events that determine what is created, the answers will mold and shape what you do.

First, The Why? So Why do you want to plant a church?

First off one must understand Church Planting is about Jesus, about having a passion for the community life and reaching the lost. I have met so many “church planters” that the only place that they want to plant a church is in the rich parts of a metro area, I would say 99% of all new plants in the last five years have occurred in the rich areas of my cities metro area, and I believe that really reviles the planters heart and motives.

Like one young planter I challenged to plant in the poor or even the blue collar areas instead of the rich (high income) area he was targeting, he replied “there is no money in starting a church there” the truth came out as to the why he wanted to plant a church. It was all about money, he was approaching it more as an entrepreneur stating up for a for-profit business. Approaching it like starting a career to provide for him, in monetary ways, to fund his big material dreams of what a church is all about, and his personal desired income.

(I have an idea how about if we say that for the next few years we only plant churches in the inner city and blue collar areas of our cities.)

If you see church planting as a income providing career, something better to do than try and get a career in corporate America, to a be your own boss instead of working for and answering to someone else, you have a very wrong motive.

You must ask yourself, what is my motive. Why do I want to plant a church?

If your vision is a church of 10,000 with a Starbuck’s in it, see a mega complex starched and a nice six figure income with book deals in your future, you are doing it for yourself, only for self gain. You not only have the wrong Why you want to plant, but also the wrong definition, an un-biblical definition of church and motive.

I will continue this in my next blog read here.

After having a conversation with someone I have constructed a chart that I believe highlights some key contrasts between the attractional and missional Church ways. This is not all-inclusive and neither list applies complete to each of its respect church way.

Attractional / Consumer Church

Biblical / Missional Church

Church is a building/place/time

Church is the people any where and time

Program driven

Lifestyle driven

Mission is a program

Mission is a way of life, the purpose

Story telling

Gospel – Word proclaiming and teaching

Church is something Put on by paid professionals

Church is the sum of each person exercising their gifts, being the church

Institutional

Living organism

Worship is attractional, entertainment, performance based

Worship is the personal – group expression of love to God, spirit based, point to bring God’s present there and love on Him

Preaching is striped of every truth about God, Jesus, sin, salvation that the world does not like to hear.

Preaching is un-apologetic, teaching the word of God from its truths, leaving out and changing nothing

A weekend or Wednesday event in a church building

Can Happen every day, any time two of more gather together any where

The offerings are all about bigger buildings, sound and light systems and more paid staff

Offerings are about taking care of the needs of the body, taking care of the orphans, widows, poor, needy and sending out others to far away lands

Evangelism is all bout programs and events designed to attract others to come and become tither’s, it is a program, a set of how to do it instructions and pamphlets

Evangelism is all bout Going in to the world and preaching the gospel, meeting the people where they live, work and play, it is a way of life, a lifestyle, it is natural and organic

Evangelism is about crating converts

Evangelism is about making followers of Jesus Christ, and making them disciples

The building is the most important asset of the church, and the right one is necessary to attract others to come

The people are the church and the building is unnecessary for church to happen

Growth comes about by having the right marketing program, music, building and programs

Growth comes by preaching the Gospel and making disciples and then God adds to it daily

Run like a for profit business, plans made by men based on business models, marketing surveys determine direction

Run by Jesus via the Holy Spirit and prayer, the bible is the model

Attraction for growth in numbers attending

Sending out for multiplication for the expansion of the Kingdom of God

Pull back from and fear culture

Engage and transform culture with the gospel

Discipleship is a program, 7, 9 or 10 steps and in a few weeks your done

Discipleship is a lifestyle and commitment to pour your life into another and dong day-to-day life with them teaching them how to live out the Christ life over years.

The church structure and authority is set by the traditions and whims of men, the pastor and/or board is the head of the church

The church structure and authority is set by God and the scriptures, Jesus is the head of the Church

The model is complex, takes millions of dollars and relies on large seminary educated staffs, big buildings and therefore can not be easily duplicated

The model is the biblical model, simple and organic can be simply reproduced by any believer and anywhere, like in a house with no money at all

Most Growth comes from church transplants, people leaving other churches to join, on average only 0 to 5 new salvation’s a year, the point to become a big church

Most growth comes from salvations, the point is to Go into the world and reach the unsaved,  to Go and make disciples of all the nations

Growth is seen as a increase in numbers to become a meg-church, to create a larger base of consumer Christians participating in programs and to increase income to the church, no one is to leave

Growth is seen as each person becomes spiritually mature in Christ, being made into the image of Christ and made ready to be sent out, and sending them out

Christians need to see the Church differentlysee them selves for who they really are to be, disciples called out to do the mission of God. We are called to be imitators of God, imitators of Jesus and the life He lived, therefore we are to be on the same mission as Jesus who was on the mission of God. His mission is to be our mission, Jesus said as the father sent Me I am sending you. Instead of seeing the church as a recipient of God’s benefits, God as the facilitator of the American dream for us. Church is not to be a gathering of pew setters, something we “go to” and have put on for us, our focus should be to be more like Jesus, a missional people, on us Going to the world.