Results tagged “Missional Manifesto” from Ed Stetzer
Today marks the end of our "musings" on the Missional Manifesto blog series. I have really enjoyed looking at the manifesto's affirmations in more detail. I want to thank those of you who have joined in on this conversation around the missio Dei. I'm convinced this is one of the most important discussions we can be investing our time and energy into in this unique season in the life of the church.
I've been encouraged by the response to the manifesto. Schools have been teaching from the manifesto. Networks have said, "this is how we define 'missional' when we use the term." One denominational leader emailed me today that they are including the document in their resource on how churches can be missional. I am encouraged people are finding the manifesto helpful.
The last affirmation of the manifesto deals with Application. It reads like this:
We believe the mission of the church continues in multiplying and maturing the followers of Christ (discipleship), increasing the number of congregations (church planting) dedicated to God's kingdom (living under His lordship), extending God's fame throughout the earth (worship), and doing good in the name of Christ (works of mercy).
In my post on affirmation #7 on "disciple-making," I said this:
A disciple understands the gospel and lives in light of it (Galatians 2:14), he/she will naturally be on mission, proclaiming and enacting the gospel. This is how more disciples are made and churches are birthed. Disciples don't just know, they do.
The final affirmation in the manifesto highlights five "outworkings" of this progression: discipleship, church planting, Lordship, worship, and works of mercy. We have looked at discipleship, Lordship, and works of justice and mercy in previous posts so I want to look specifically at worship as we close out our series. (I haven't wrote about specifically about church planting in this series but you can find my posts on church planting at http://www.edstetzer.com/church-planting/)
It is fitting that we close with the idea that the mission of God should culminate in worship. Many have heard the famous quote by John Piper, from his book Let the Nations Be Glad, in which he said this:
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever...the deepest reason why worship is the goal in missions is that worship is God's goal.
Piper is right. The end game is worship of God. That is why the fourth affirmation on mission reads, "Moving from God, through the church, to the world, God's redemptive work results in people of every tribe, tongue and nation responding in lifelong worship of the God. Ultimately the missio Dei will encompass all of creation when God creates a new heaven and new earth."
Part of being a missional church is sharing God's passion. We will be passionate about what matters to God. So, missional churches should care deeply for the ta ethne' (tribes and tongues) of their community and world. r We, the church, are created in Jesus for this very purpose. God created the world with people who bear His image, though through sin that image is marred and fellowship with God is broken. However, his response to this was sending his Son to sacrifice and save that which was lost, and he has created and commissioned the church to bear witness to the world of this gospel seeking to fill the whole earth with worshippers of Him.
Gospel mission makes disciples. Disciples make up gospel communities and churches. Churches make up Kingdom expressions in cities, regions, and countries. These "cities on a hill" culminate in bringing worship to the King. May our mission lead to the exaltation of the first missionary, God the Father.
As always, be sure to read the preamble and affirmations here, and then come back and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.
We are on the home stretch with our blog series on The Missional Manifesto. I hope you have enjoyed tracking with us as I've unpacked my thoughts about the affirmations from the manifesto.
I want to remind you that the affirmations are the work of the framers. As I have written about them in this series, I was simply attempting to weigh in with some of my own thoughts here on the blog. That is why we have taken the time to "muse" about them here. I continue to invite you to join the conversation in the comment section.
We have two final affirmations to look at in this series. So far, we have looked at eight of the ten affirmations in previous posts. You can read about them here:
Today we come to the ninth affirmation. Here is the wording for it found in the manifesto:
Universality: We believe God’s mission, and thus the mission of His people, extends to every people, nation, tribe and tongue; to persons of every gender, age, education, social standing, and religious persuasion (or lack thereof). Thus a missional church will intentionally embrace diversity locally and will cross social, cultural and geographic barriers as agents of the missio Dei. God’s mission furthermore universally encompasses every aspect of life: personal, familial, social, cultural, and economic. This is grounded upon the universal authority and lordship of Jesus Christ.
We believe that discipling of the nations is the essential aspect of the mission of God (Matthew 28:18-20). The gospel calls people to respond in faith and repentance to the good news of the Kingdom in and by the gospel's power. The maturing of believers is inherent to the work of the church ushering those who place faith in Jesus from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity (Colossians 1:28). This means the church trains its members to be leaders in deeds of justice and ministry to the poor, as well as live out the implications of their faith in business, the arts, in politics, the academy, the home, and in all of life. As the church makes disciples, it equips them to bring their faith to bear on every area of their lives, private and public.
But what is the end game? What should the intersection of the Word of God, Jesus, the gospel, the kingdom, mission, and the church produce? That brings us to today's affirmation: disciples.
One of our framers, Alan Hirsch, says it this way:
...rediscovering what it means to radically follow Jesus is now an area of strategic--and definitely missional--concern. To recover mission we are going to have to take discipleship seriously again, but the reverse is also true; to rediscover discipleship we are also going to have to take mission seriously. We cannot be true disciples without also being missionaries (sent ones) to our worlds.
Let me be frank. The elephant in evangelicalism is this: We have focused our energies on our corporate worship gatherings, sermons, and organization-- while we have struggled to produce disciples. If the central command of the Great Commission is to make disciples, and your church's philosophy of ministry revolves around marketing, facilities, and programs, you have missed the point. You must have a plan for discipleship if you want to be missional.
To some it may sound counterintuitive to say that to be missional you must value discipleship. In the recent past, discipleship has been seen as primarily an educational endeavor inside the four walls of the church. Unfortunately, discipleship programs have had a tendency to "puff up" (1 Corinthians 8:1) rather than to send out.
Now don't get me wrong, at the heart of discipleship is knowing the Scriptures intimately. It requires instruction. But when the reality is that it has become normal for us NOT to grow, something is wrong with our discipleship. LifeWay Research recently studied over 2500 church attendees and only 3.5% of those we surveyed over the course of a year displayed any measurable growth. Something has to change. (We are in the process of completing an even larger study on the subject, out next year.)
In Colossians, I see a focus on discipleship from the apostle Paul when he says:
I see a progression. Knowing → Being → Doing
We can observe from Scripture a clear pattern that spiritual transformation begins with exposure to the truth. As God's revealed Truth (the Word) penetrates the mind it leads to the transformation of heart and character. Paul also expresses it this way: "Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
The renewal of the mind, a work of the Holy Spirit, brings about spiritual growth. Here you can see the pattern of knowledge leading to understanding (knowing), which leads to walking worthy (being, or living out who we are), which leads to bearing fruit (doing).
Discipleship and mission interface in the "doing." As a disciple understands the gospel and lives in light of it (Galatians 2:14), he/she will naturally be on mission, proclaiming and enacting the gospel. This is how more disciples are made and churches are birthed.
When Jesus commanded us to teach the world to obey all that He commanded, he was showing us what discipleship look likes. And it's inevitable: obedience-based discipleship leads to mission-shaped disciples. So let's help people become disciples on mission, becoming spiritual self-feeders, serving the marginalized, loving their neighbors, and telling others about Christ. It the end game of mission.
Monday June 6, 2011 ~ 1 Comments
Today we look at to the sixth affirmation of The Missional Manifesto: Christocentricity. I want to encourage you to go back and read through the other posts written around the first five affirmations to get an idea of the flow of the document. You can find them here:
Here is the wording of the manifesto's sixth affirmation:
We believe that Jesus is the center of God's plan. By extension, the church as the body of Christ is the primary medium of God's mission to His world. We affirm that while God's work and presence is not limited to the church, nonetheless the proclamation of the gospel of Christ comes through the church and believers everywhere. Members of the church, living by the power of the Spirit, are being conformed into the likeness of Christ in their attitudes and actions.
Monday May 23, 2011 ~ 3 Comments
Here is how the fifth affirmation reads in the manifesto:
Church: The church is a sign and instrument of the Kingdomof God, birthed by the gospel of the Kingdom and tasked with the mission of the Kingdom. The church is a covenant community of imperfect but redeemed believers living in our world. Followers of Christ do not live out their mission in isolation, but rather the Spirit of God enfolds believers into local Christian communities, i.e. churches. It is in and through such community their mission in the world is enhanced.
The opening sentence of the statement on the church demonstrates how these three biblical themes are intertwined in the missional conversation. The framers used the well-worn images of "sign" and "instrument" to described the role of the church in the Kingdom mission of God.
Let's step back and dig around these images to see what it means to say, "the church is a sign and instrument of the Kingdom of God." As I do this, remember, these are my thoughts. The crafting of the affirmation was a cooperative work of the framers, but this blog post represents, well, my thoughts.
Tuesday May 17, 2011 ~ 1 Comments
I hope you've begun to see the heart behind the manifesto from the posts in this series. We are excited about the impact the manifesto could have on the work of God's mission in the world. Further, I want to think more about each of the affirmations. The affirmations are the work of the framers, but I wanted to weigh in with some of my own thoughts here at the blog. That is why we are taking the time to "muse" about them. I invite you to join the conversation in the comment section.
Today, we look at the fourth affirmation on mission. Here is how it reads:
We affirm that the missio Dei is the mission of the triune God to glorify Himself. God does so in this world by redeeming sinful humans and, in the future, restoring corrupted creation. The Father sent the Son to accomplish this redemption and sends the Spirit to apply this redemption to the hearts of men and women. Included in God's mission is the missio ecclesia whereby He empowers the church for witness and service that leads to witness. Believers are called to share the gospel with people so they can come to know Christ. Moving from God, through the church, to the world, God's redemptive work results in people of every tribe, tongue and nation responding in lifelong worship of the God. Ultimately the missio Dei will encompass all of creation when God creates a new heaven and new earth.
As we do with all episodes from The Exchange, we place the videos here at the "The Exchange" link at the top of the site.
Last week, Alan Hirsch and I sat down (virtually) and talked about why we worked with a group of Framers to draft the Missional Manifesto. (In addition to Alan and me, the framers included Tim Keller, Dan Kimball, Eric Mason, J.D. Greear, Craig Ott, Linda Bergquist, Philip Nation, and Brad Andrews.
Here is our video from last week.
Monday May 9, 2011 ~ 7 Comments
Here is the wording of the third affirmation in the manifesto:
Kingdom: We affirm that the gospel is the good news of God's Kingdom. The Kingdom is the active and comprehensive rule of God over His whole creation. The sovereign reign of God brings righteousness (right relationships with God, others, and creation), restores justice, and brings healing to a broken world. The Kingdom of God has been inaugurated but is still "not yet." It will not be fully revealed until Jesus returns. The church, birthed in the wake of the kingdom, serves as an agent of the King in the "already and not yet" of the Kingdom by proclaiming and spreading the gospel and living out its implications.
There is no question that there as the missional conversation has grown, there has been a keen interest in understanding how the Kingdom of God intersects with mission. In order to understand the missional church, we must consider the Kingdom of God. I think that is a good pursuit but not without some concerns historically and theologically.
Here is how the second affirmation reads in the manifesto:
Gospel: We affirm that God, who is more holy than we can imagine, looked with compassion upon humanity made up of people who are more sinful than we will admit and sent Jesus into history to establish His kingdom and reconcile people and the world to Himself. Jesus, whose love is more extravagant than we can measure, gave His life as a substitutionary death on the cross and was physically resurrected thereby propitiating the wrath of God. Through the grace of God, when a person repents of their sin, confesses the Messiah as Lord, and believes in His resurrection, they gain what the Bible defines as new and eternal life. All believers are then joined together into the church, a covenant community working as "agents of reconciliation" to proclaim and live out the gospel.