— Faith — 2 min read
Thanks to some well targeted Instagram ads, I ended up signing up for and, many months later, completing the "7 Marks of Missional People" Master Class available at VergeNetwork. Intrigued by the inclusion of some of my favourite speakers including Francis Chan and David Platt, the course ended up being very thought provoking in how to better understand and put into practice the theology of missions.
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” – John 20:21 (NKJV)
Expanding on John 20:21, Hirsch flips the traditional understanding of mission being a set of activities that people or a church partakes in (ie. feed the poor, build schools in other countries, tell others about the Gospel) into an understanding that God is a sender of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit and of us, and that as sent ones we also should live out of that sentness to send out others as they are discipled and come to faith.
"A missional church is a church that allows the mission of God to shape how it is the church, both culturally and in other ways, as it engages. It allows missiologoly to determine ecclesiology. [...] It's how mission, our purpose and function in the world as God's people, shapes the way we are, the nature of our being in the world. Missional church is a huge idea, the idea is that it comes from the doctrine of God, not the doctrine of the church. [...] It's not so much that the church as a mission, it's that the the mission has a church. We are the result of God's missionary activity in the world. The church is the net result of the fact that God redemptively reached into the world and saved us, and he continues to do that through the church." – Alan Hirsch (8:10-9:00)
Hirsch further expands on the concept of incarnation, that it is not limited to our narrow sentimental cute understanding of Jesus' birth at Christmas (which is so often overshadowed by Santa Claus than any deep meditation on the meaning, mystery, and wonder of the incarnation of God on Earth taking on human flesh), instead as the Gospel is planted in a new place, it establishes itself. The place becomes a new incarnation, a new outpost.
"If God is a missionary God, than we must become a missionary people. If the way that God engages the world is incarnation, then we must become a incarnational people. [...] Our theology, our deepest codes, the deepest ways we think about God and how he engages in the world, should inform our methedology. [...] The medium is the message. We are meant to be a people that go in, love, take root in a place and a new people, to affirm the humanness from within, as Jesus did with us. If you're not doing Church this way, than you had better have a good excuse." – Alan Hirsch (11:30)