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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Missional Week in Review, July 31-August 5, 2021

As the hot days of summer continue to pelt this edge of the prairie, we look back at another week in God's work out here in Omaha....

Had a great conversation last night with Steve Knight about the "Missional Shift." He blogs for Patheos ( on their Progressive channel. He is a smart guy, and is working hard to see that people all over the progressive spectrum (whatever that might mean) have a place to stay connected and share ideas with each other. He is starting a YouTube TV network this Fall (he said that YouTube posts 72 hours of video a MINUTE! Think abou that, it is mathematically impossible to watch everything on YouTube at that rate no matter how long you live.) He does a lot, and he does it well.

There were three things he mentioned last night that are important to our understanding of how the Missional Church is making a difference. First, he began where we all begin, and that is understanding that God is already there. The idea that bringing "God" to a "god-less" area is just wrong. There is no such thing as a "god-less" area. A limited appreciation of God's creative power leads people to speak of god-lessness when it comes to places, and the missional church wants to see that God creates. (Btw, this does not mean there is not "god-less" acts, but sin is a will-ful negation of God's creativity, not a place God hasn't "got around to yet." Which means, ironically, that those Christians who assumed God was not someplace--say China in the 15th Century--where the ones who were sinning, not the Chinese who lived there not worshiping in a Christian manner. To ignore or negate God's creative power--even in a place where there are no Christians yet--is worse than not worshiping in a Christian manner. Chew on that for a bit. In other words, it's better to believe in God even when you don't know exactly what is going on, than to deny God because you are sure it is wrong.)

Secondly, he mentioned that missional shift works at making God, not the Church, the center of mission. This is huge. Mission is who God is, and the Church participates in the life and being of God when it is missional. This shift, as Steve calls his blog, not only frees us up to live joyfully (he called it taking off the pressure), but also to follow where God is leading.

Lastly, he noted the power of prayer and discernment. My newest quest is to free the word "discernment" from its captivity as a internal, personalized, way to discover "yourself." I want to see us understand discernment as a communal process, grounded in prayer and discussion of scripture, in a way that God's activity in the world "seems good to us" to quote the book of Acts.  As the Christian Church shifts into this missional mode, discernment of place, time, resources, and God's prerogatives will be a central activity for the Church. To not engage in such discernment is to cut off the head before the body has a chance to mature.  As Jesus once said, learn what it means to distinguish between mercy and sacrifice. To learn that is to discern the mission of God.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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