HOW NOT TO BE A MISSIONARY

20 05 2014

The Bridgebuilders Principleis based on the premise of the mission field outside your front door. That means we must think like missionaries and learn to exegete the culture–understand how think, what they value, what is their perceived need. This video from Todd Engstrom gives some powerful teaching on this issue.





THE CHURCH ON MISSION WITH JESUS

12 02 2013

ON MISSIONby Steve Dunn

We are all familiar with the Great Commission-“Go and make disciples …” It was something we were taught from the earliest days that Churches of God were called into being.

Evangelism and making authentic disciples was at the heart of the movement John Winebrenner and others began in 1825 when the Holy Spirit told them the Church in America needed renewal and revival.

The Great Commission reminds us that the Church has always been intended to be a missionary movement, a group of people on mission with Jesus to bring the Good News of the Kingdom to the world.

It is an identity that has largely been lost as so many of our churches have slipped into a maintenance mentality–keeping a program going, a building function, and providing services those who are already disciples of Jesus Christ.

It is time again to become a missionary organization.

How do we do this?

It begins with prayer, prayer that God will give you eyes to see and for the mission field that begins right outside your front door.

This first step helps your church become receptive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Next you examine God’s Word, to become aware of the dynamics of the Great Commission to become Christ’s respectful ambassadors. Remember, you are not going out to fight a culture war, you are going out to share the Good News of the Kingdom by developing redemptive relationships with your un-churched neighbors. Suggested scriptures: 1 Peter 3.8-13, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21,Matthew 9:35-38.

Thirdly, start listening to the culture. What do people in the prevailing culture value? what do they struggle with? who do they respect? what are their dreams? And think locally as much as possible.

Then identify points of contact where you may be able to do an act of kindness in Jesus name, so you can begin to create opportunities to get connected with them and start building redemptive relationships with them. We call this BUILDING BRIDGES TO THE BRIDGE.

Make a simple plan, prepare for action – and then SIMPLY DO IT!





WHY THROWING PARTIES IS MISSIONAL

3 06 2012

One of the key ideas of BRIDGEBUILDERS is to learn to throw parties with a purpose. This video elaborates on that idea.





WHAT DOES BEING COUNTERCULTURAL LOOK LIKE?

24 01 2011
From a blog post by Gabe Lyons. How does this observation impact evangelism to the prevailing culture? What are its implications for traditional churches? – Steve 

The word “counterculture,” a sociological term describing a group whose actions run counter to mainstream norms, is making a comeback. The term was popularized in the West during the 1960s when it was used to label the movement to oppose the Vietnam war in the United States and England. But the next Christians are also countercultural, though they look nothing like the peace-loving protesters of the mid-twentieth century.

How are Christian leaders being countercultural, and why do their lifestyles give us hope for the future of our faith?

“While we remain a nation decisively shaped by religious faith,” wroteNewsweek editor Jon Meacham in the April 4, 2009 issue, “our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicitly Christian character than they were even five years ago.”

To a growing group of believers, the changing religious landscape represents a new chapter in the story God is telling through His people. It’s a welcome change from the out-of-control manipulations they’ve experienced when religion gets intertwined too closely with public life. They see it as a new opportunity to send the Gospel out in fresh and compelling ways. Every generation must face this quandary of how to maintain cultural influence, and in our changing world, the conversation has been resurrected again. Let’s consider the way past generations have predominantly related to culture in light of our future leaders.

Separatism. In the past, some Christians fell into the separatist trap. They responded to culture with condemnation and retreat. Removing themselves far away from the corruption of culture is the name of their game. But Christians who remove themselves from the world in hopes of self-preservation fail to realize that true cultural separation is impossible. More importantly, separation ignores the task we’ve been given to carry the love of God forward to those who might need it most.

Antagonism. Some Christians see little in the current culture worth redeeming and have decided to fight against almost everything culture promotes. Offended by our current cultural disposition, they want to flip over the tables of society instead of negotiating the difficult terrain of working it out from within. By default, they are known for being great at pointing out the problems of society, but they rarely offer good or practical solutions and alternatives that promote a better way of life. They succeed in stating clearly what they are against, but their Achilles heel is suggesting alternatives that embody what they are for.

Relevance. Others have gone to the opposite extreme by falling into the “relevance trap.” In my estimation, this is probably the larger threat for Christian leaders today. In an effort to appeal to outsiders, some Christians simply copy culture. They become a Xerox of what they perceive as hip in hopes that people will perceive them — and their organizations, ministries, and churches — as “cool” and give them a chance. Unfortunately, this pursuit of pop-culture removes the church from its historically prophetic position in society. Relating to the world by following the following the world is a recipe for disaster.

Countercultural. The next generation of Christians aren’t separatists, antagonists, or striving to be “relevant.” Instead, they are countercultural as they advance the common good in society. The next Christians see themselves as salt, preserving agents actively working for restoration in the middle of a decaying culture. They attach themselves to people and structures that are in danger of rotting while availing themselves to Christ’s redeeming power to do work through them. They understand that by being restorers they fight against the cultural norms and often flow counter to the cultural tide. But they feel that, as Christians, they’ve been called to partner with God in restoring and renewing everything they see falling apart.

[For more on how the next Christians are being countercultural, order The Next Christiansby Gabe Lyons.]

Paradoxically, in our current cultural context, this not only opens up more people to personal salvation, but it also sustains a God-glorifying testimony to the world of His restoration power at work. It’s truly good news to the world. Rather than fighting off culture to protect an insular Christian community, they are fighting for the world to redeem it. This is the essence of being what pastor Tim Keller refers to as “a counterculture for the common good.”

A commitment to being countercultural rather than being removed or “relevant” isn’t always easy. Living differently can be hard. Going against the ebbs and flows of culture can create friction and sometimes provoke a hostile reaction to the good we are trying to create. Theologians Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon remind us that this should be expected, for “whenever a people are bound together in loyalty to a story that includes something as strange as the Sermon on the Mount, we are put at odds with the world.”

Yet, it is through maintaining this cultural orientation that the world can experience God’s restoration power and people will be convinced that our faith is all we claim, all that Jesus commissioned his followers to. As the apostle Peter encourages, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pt. 2:12, TNIV).

Is a countercultural community the answer to restoring the soul of the world, winning the skeptics, and revitalizing our faith? We’ll have to wait and see. For now we know that the clear call of Jesus is for the Christian community to be salt on a rotting world and light in the dimmest places.

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What are ways your faith community is shaping culture through being countercultural? Do you agree that this is a “way forward” for the Christian movement?





LOST TO FOUND-BEING MISSIONAL

16 07 2010