Missional Ecumenism

Armstrong-Your-church-is-too-smallAs “ecumenical” as I am. I still struggle with feelings of sectarianism…that my understanding of God is the right one, that there are other Christians that I just can’t work with in good conscience. And so, perhaps, I miss opportunities to be missional together and I miss opportunities to show the unity that is found in Christ Jesus. So, today, I found these words from John Armstrong helpful:

God designed the church to experience union with the Trinity in his eternal love. This love empowers our diverse relationships so that when the world sees us, especially in our respective churches, they should see that the Father loves the world (cf. John 17:20-24). By seeing us loving one another the world can come to know Christ! Simply put, unity would become the divine apologetic for the future as it had been in the ancient church centuries ago….

My friends, if Jew and Gentile were called in the early decades of the ancient church to share life together in the same household, and thus they were no longer to be strangers and aliens, then Christians of all persuasions, twenty centuries later, can find loving, creative and powerful new ways to live in the “same household” of God’s unity today. Could it be that our real problem is that our view of the church is “too small”? We think our church – our understanding about the church– is right and thus we gather with people like us and have nothing to do with others not just like us.

You can see the whole post over at Missio Alliance. John is the author of Your Church Is Too Small

(Not Quite) 20 Questions To Understand Your Mission Field

Paul Krentz from Texas writes about understanding your local mission field. He offers a list of 20 questions to help you. The following are most (but not all) of them. To see the full list, you’ll have to hit his site:

  • Where do you need to go to “listen” to your culture?
  • What/Who are the “gods” in your culture?
  • What are the visible signs of wealth? Of poverty?
  • Who is moving into your community?
  • What are the “hot button” social issues currently being debated?
  • How does the history of your community affect life right now?
  • What are peoples’ hopes and dreams in your community?
  • What is considered “art” in your context?
  • What are the key slogans or phrases known by people in your community?
  • Where do people invest their resources of money and time?
  • What is the reputation of religious leaders and churches?
  • How does your community define peoples’ concept of “the good life”?
  • What do people think about Jesus?

Some Missional Tweets for Your Weekend

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You Can Pick Your Friends. But Can You Pick Them Missionally?

I have friends. I don’t have, well, LOTS of friends. But I have friends. There are people I enjoy being around. There are people I share activities with. And there are some friends…the really good ones…that I share life with and talk more openly and honestly with. But I’ve never thought about doing that…well…missionally.

That’s just what Rick Thomas suggests in a post over at his blog, RickThomas.net. He claims that Jesus was pretty intentional in how he chose his friends. Look at Matthew 4:18-19:

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”

He chose his friends for a purpose…to follow him. (In fairness, I’m not sure this accounts for relationships with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus here.)

Thomas suggest that we might want to have this be a sort of model for us.

Jesus had a heavenly purpose for Himself and His closest friends (Matthew 6:33). He built His relational network in order to have the best possible advantage of redeeming the greatest number of people. He had thirty-three years to find, envision, and equip a group of friends who could carry out His redemptive vision to multiple generations.

How many years do you have to find, envision, and equip a group of friends to carry out His redemptive vision? Of course you and I do not know the answer to that question, but maybe that is not the best question to ask. How about this?

What is your redemptive motive for friendships?
What is your redemptive mission for friendships?
What is your redemptive methodology for friendships?

While I appreciate what Thomas is doing here I’m not sure how practical this is for (at least what I consider to be) friendships. It sounds a little colder and more calculated than I’d care for it to be. But I do think we can assess existing friendships and ask what relationships might be pulling us away from our larger missional purpose and might need be examined.

What say you?

How One Persons Is Doing Halloween…Missionally

This is from Jo Saxton at 3DM:

Tonight we’re not going to be singing carols, or screaming Scriptures at people. We’ll not be chastizing witches, and giving zombies dirty looks. But we are going to be hanging out with our friends from the school gate. Sharing time, sharing lives and conversation. Giving kids our well- wrapped- razor- blade- free- not- that- nutritious- chocolate- and- candy. We’ll be admiring the little Buzz Lightyears and Rapunzels and telling them how great they look as they beam with kiddie pride.We’ll be kicking off the holiday season, watching it rise with a thankful heart in November, and find transformation and hope in a manger in December. And through it all we’ll be looking for the people of peace that might want to talk a bit more, that we might want prayer, or simply need a listening ear. Looking for people to love, to bless to, befriend.


I think that’s “missionally healthy.”