Home > Uncategorized > Becoming a Missional Church, Part 2

Becoming a Missional Church, Part 2

January 23rd, 2015

by Dave Anderson

This post is Part II or a series. Click here to read Part I

Last year our West Campus offered an ACE class on “Our Worshipping World.” This past Saturday, our K-group leaders heard a challenge from Dan on the Art of Neighboring (knowing and loving our actual neighbors holistically i.e. serving them physically, relationally and spiritually). Last Sunday at our East Campus, we began a discussion on Tim Keller’s, The Reason for God to equip us to engage spiritual questions. We also invited everyone to consider hosting a “mixer” Super Bowl Party as one tangible step toward practicing hospitality toward our neighbors. Why this “neighbor love” theme? Why now?

Refocusing on Jesus’ Mission: Each of us must intentionally initiate hospitality and hobby time with our neighbors seeking love them in deed and word . In many churches, leaders spend nearly all discretionary time with Christians. We run from meeting to meeting with church people, host church friends for dinner, attend church Bible studies, patronize Christian businesses, attend Christian conferences, play in church sports leagues, and attend Christian schooling events. No quality time is spent among our non-Christians neighbors. In fact, a maturing Christian can spend nearly his or her entire life encapsulated inside a ‘Christian bubble’ and rise to leadership having had no real experience befriending non-Christians. When inspiring calls to “evangelize” ring out from a pulpit, few can do anything because our lives are packed with with private entertainments or ministry commitments. We are either cocooning inside our family rooms, or we are exhausted at our church. Missional churches challenge Christians to schedule time, and create space for loving our neighbors in three ways: 1) dieting from our super-sized amusements 2) balancing church ministry with neighbor love, and 3) spending  time outside church with our next-door neighbors. If our entertainments or church-program cocoons are left untouched, Jesus’ mission to take the Gospel to outsiders gets functionally abandoned.

Ministries Adapted for “Spiritual Explorers”: Evangelical statesman John Stott offered classes in his London based, Anglican All Souls Church called “Agnostics Anonymous” specifically to minister to spiritually curious friends of members who have faith questions. A church that is serious about being missional will eagerly consider groups, seminars and classes for friends to explore Gospel basics. A missional church will continually ask, “if I were a spiritual-explorer, what would make Crossroads hospitable and inviting to me? What groups, forums or classes might we add, dismantle, recycle, or restructure in order to minister not just to long-time Christians, but those who don’t yet believe?”

Hospitality Encouraged: Jesus’ command to practice hospitality—a requirement for pastors and elders—generally refers to “the welcoming of outsiders”. ‘Fellowship’ is the welcoming of believers. Pastors, elders and leaders should be encouraged to obey God’s Word by seeking to be practitioners of hospitality to our own neighbors and coworkers (with invitations into our homes for dinners, desserts, parties, and cookouts)—extending the befriending love of Christ in tangible ways. Many people will not even consider the verbal message of the Gospel until they experience it neighbor love. When we model befriending grace to outsiders, entire churches often experiences spiritual renewal and deepened love.

Preaching to Believers and Unbelievers in Sermons: The pulpit ministry is the God-given engine that steers the church. If believers and unbelievers are both addressed directly in the sermons—the weekly pulpit ministry can summon both groups of people to repentance and faith in the Gospel. Preaching and teaching that addresses both groups of people creates an incentive for members to bring non-Christian friends. Why? A churchgoer with an ounce of spiritual heat in his heart will find himself thinking, “this message was challenging for me, but I wish I had brought my friend with me—that’s exactly the issue he and I were talking about last Thursday over lunch!”  As this dynamic takes root, fewer newcomers say, “we found your church through Google,” and more people say, “we were brought by the Jones’”.

Please opt into the outreach training we’re offering, and take a real step of faith in 2015 by hosting a Super Bowl Party to love your neighbors. Regardless of who wins the game, you are helping Crossroads become more effective ambassadors for Christ as you move out in ‘missional love’ toward your neighbors!

*If you’d like to host a Super Bowl party to love your neighbors (i.e. unchurched friends) but would like “seed” funds to help you host a great party, Crossroads will reimburse 50% of your outreach party costs (up to $30) to help you cover snacks and drinks. Please email the office (crossroadsmaplewood@gmail.com) by January 28th for approval or with questions on the outreach funds offered.

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