Keys to missional community: 1. Go get’em. 2. People of Peace. 3. Living Kingdom lives.
One of the hallmarks of the house church movement is that it seeks to be what the church, in fact, is: missional. Jesus went everywhere proclaiming and demonstrating the reality, love, and power of the Kingdom (healing the brokenhearted, setting captives free, proclaiming God’s acceptance, etc.) The church (the people of God) goes and does the same.
This means that church, first of all, needs to transition from being a “come and see” place to a “go and be with the lost” movement.
From Reggie McNeal’s book (The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church):
The Pharisees' evangelism strategy sounds eerily familar. Their approach to sharing God was, "Come and get it!"...Jesus' evangelism strategy directly challenged the Pharisees' approach. Instead of "Come and get it!" it was "Go get'em!" p. 28
Jesus' strategy was to go where people were already hanging out. This is why he went to weddings, parties, and religious feast day celebrations...Taking the gospel to the streets means we need church where people are already hanging out. We need a church in every mall, every Wal-Mart supercenter, every Barnes and Noble. p. 35
Bottom line: we've got to take the gospel to the streets. This is the only appropriate missional response to the collapse of the church culture. I am not talking about short forays into port off of the cruise ship. I am speaking of an intentional 24/7 church presence in the community, not tied to church real estate: (rather) office building, malls, school campuses, sports complexes, storefronts, homes, apartment buildings, and community centers. We need to go where people are already hanging out and be prepared to have conversations with them about the great love of our lives. This will require our shifting our efforts from growing churches into transforming communities.
They're not coming to us. We've got to go to them.
This reminds me of the “church in the pub” that many of you are familiar with. If not, be sure to read about it here.
One of the fundamental potentials of the house church movement: churches can go where the people are, churches can start quickly anywhere and reproduce rapidly. In this way, the church becomes what it is meant to be: a “going” movement.
In our own churches we work hard to make sure that reproduction is in the DNA of each house church that we start. That means that they fully expect to grow and reproduce another house church within a year (at most). We want it to be a “going out” thing. But we are still too new at this to see if we are reproducing churches that are reproducing churches that are reproducing churches which is the key to true multiplication.
Secondly, we are trying to keep our focus on the “Person of Peace” principle. We believe this is vital. This means asking God to show us people of influence, whom He is working in, who will become gatherers for Him.
If you want to know more about this, Carol Davis’ article is excellent.
Also the Dales (house2house) put on a Luke 10 Conference each year on the subject.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, is the realization that we are meant to live and be the church in every situation, in every part of life, in every way. We take Jesus where we go and we live Kingdom lives because it’s who we are.
Kingdom living includes demonstrating care for the poor, the needy, the brokenhearted, the sick… It means washing the feet of others… It means living upside down lives from the values of the culture… It means loving the least… It means letting God creatively and uniquely work through us (according to how He made us) in every situation we are in… It means relating and loving wherever we go.
Darren, at the Living Room, has an excellent article about two or more “Kingdom Christians” inviting a non-Christian into relationship: loving someone intentionally as a “collective group” of two or three. Good stuff to reflect on.
I’m writing all of this and my old tapes are screaming, “But there has to be more. There has to be a program, a plan, a strategy that will call the masses to recognize their deep need for a Savior and Lover and bring them into an awesome encounter.”
My “new” mind knows all the right answers to this: true kingdom disciples are developed through relationships not programs; a little leaven will leaven the whole loaf as God’s Kingdom works through sphere after sphere of influence.
But are we really on track with this? Is this enough? What are we missing?