Monday, January 26, 2009

In Class All Week...

This week I'm with my doctor of ministry cohort down in cave creek, az. On Wednesday we have a missional church conference with Craig Van Gelder and another dude, along with some workshops one of which I get to lead, "The Listening Church" or something like that is what I'll be wondering around. I don't even know this other dude, we'll see and hear soon.

While Craig self identifies as late-modern, which I think is VERY true, he definitely has helped to enlighten me to connect missiology and ecclesiology which for many is not connected. What I mean is this, most understand the sending aspect of the church as one of its many functions. This type of thinking compartmentalizes missionaries as those who go out from the church, usually to foreign land, to convert the masses in dominant, oppressive, arrogant and imperialistic fashion.

What missional church instead suggests is that the very sending aspect is the essence of its primary nature, the very thing that it does all the time. The church is created by God as community to live in the world for the life of the world as called through the Spirit. And so, this is all framed around who God is as a sending God, i.e. God sends the Son who sends the Spirit. And so too, the church engages in this centrifugal mission in partnership with what God is already up to in the world. this preachy? Perhaps. Is it significant? Absolutely. This is no small blog post as an update. The implications for this are enormous for new and innovative ways for being church that already exist, as well as new experiments are emerging.

It has been in conjunction with this entire way of growing to understand who God is that I have come to understand who the church is, and in particular, the emerging, fresh expressions of church, church in a beyond modern culture.

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