Missional Field Notes

Quotes, Examples, and Ideas from My Missional Frontier

It’s nice to see some Methodists from across the pond getting into missional with some young adults:

An evening for young adults (18+) of food, worship, conversation and teaching on being a missional church.

You may be aware that in the Methodist Church there is some thinking and conversation regarding missional communities/church.
People are already experimenting with different activities and the Church would like to tell young people about this new “dwell” process.

Heather Morris, Kathryn Harte and Gillian Gilmore are keen to try and involve young adults in this thinking and experimentation and they are are hosting a meal at Edgehill College to chat with young people about it. They would love it if you could attend and be part of this. Their hope is to learn and be inspired.

This is from the Western North Carolina Conference. It’s more work by the Academy for Missional Wisdom and Elaine Heath:

The Haw Creek House in East Asheville has two openings and is seeking applicants. This community is hosted by Bethesda United Methodist Church and also supported by East Asheville United Methodist Church. The Haw Creek House is a female-only intentional community, which is a group of individuals who share the same home and choose to engage in a rule of life which includes prayer, worship, service, and other practices designed to deepen their relationship with Christ. Living in an opportunity to learn how to connect with the local community, work in partnership with others, you can use your gifts to be the hands and feet of Christ! Women from all denominations are invited to apply. Residents of the house should be committed to the rule of life, the ministries of the house, and sharing house responsibilities in a collaborative manner. The Haw Creek House does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, denomination, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status. If you are interested, please contact Patty Clubb at hawcreekhouse@gmail.com or (828)989-7548.

What is an intentional community?

An intentional community is a group of individuals who share the same home and choose to engage in a rule of life which includes prayer, worship, service, and other practices designed to deepen our relationship with Christ. Women who live in the house are expected to engage in ministries of hospitality in the neighborhood, learn about the theory and practices of emerging and new monastic ministries, and participate in the worship and mission of the missional community. The Haw Creek House is inspired by the new monasticism movement. To learn more about this movement, check out the Missional Wisdom Foundation (http://missionalwisdom.com/) on the web or read Longing for Spring by Elaine Heath and Scott Kisker.

United Methodist Clergy around the United States have turned in their statistical reports. Some call it “A Necessary Evil.” Others call it our “church metric.” Others merely think of it as a big, ol’ pain in the butt. I used to think of it that way. I used to get really worried about whether or not the numbers would all add up; if the membership figures and attendance, and giving, and spending would be, not only an accurate portrayal of the church, but a favorable one.

I’ve gotten over that. Now I just try to see the sea of numbers as tool to understand how the church is engaged in the world. And it doesn’t take me all that long to complete anymore.

But there are things the numbers really don’t tell. And that makes assessing them challenging. It’s hard to measure discipleship or growth when we’re concerned more with the number of folks in the pews. Stephen Lutz, a few year ago, suggests we move from “Head Counting to Seed Spreading“. While the post was originally written with college ministry in mind, it’s still appropriate for us today:

The missional approach also changes how we measure success. Traditionally, our metric of success has been pretty simple: “How many people are you getting?” We look at our head counts as the source of our success and legitimacy.

A missional approach knows things aren’t so simple. What are a few hundred people among 40,000? What are 50 people among 5,000? The need is so much bigger, and fruitfulness will need to be measured by things other than weekly attendance. We should be figuring out ways to assess how well we’re doing at discipling people for lifelong fruitfulness. We all measure things, and we all keep score. But are we counting the right things?

Everyone is trying missional practices but very few stick with it.

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March 23, 2015

I like to keep things simple, and if I’m reading the Bible the right way round, I’m pretty sure there’s no escaping that God is passionate about the poor, the needy, the broken and the destitute. I’ve heard it preached over and over, I’ve preached it myself a fair few times, and yet as a church, I’m increasingly feeling that WE JUST DON’T LIVE LIKE IT’S TRUE.

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Moose Pass Snow Church

I saw this list of questions over at Ministry Design Concepts. It’s based on work from Kevin Ford. It’s a good list. I’ve heard versions of these questions before, but asking them all together, at one time, could be powerful. And, as I think about it for the churches I’ve served and attended, I’m not sure I could answer “yes” to all of them. In fact, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t.

1. Would the neighbors around your church say, “We’re glad this church is here,” even if they don’t attend?

2. If your church relocated, would anyone care?

3. Are your members actively reaching out to their friends, neighbors, and coworkers?

4. Do your members show genuine concern for those who don’t know Christ?

5. Do your outreach efforts generate a personal investment that goes beyond a financial contribution?

Our primary metric for discerning how the values of a missional community should be expressed is missional vision. Who are we specifically aiming to reach through this missional community (i.e. as a community who is God asking us to be good news to) and what is the best way to reflect that so that our community is accessible to these people? One example is that Missional Communities should be free to meet at whatever time and day they feel serves their vision best and that isn’t necessarily a Sunday morning!

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