How do we respond to people when they say that "my family is my mission"? Simple: it's not family or mission or family and mission. It's about being a family on mission. Noting how all the time, money, and resources that has gone into "youth ministry" has still resulted in many young people leaving the church, we propose that our youth and young people should not be the object of our mission but the subject. What they're looking for is not to be entertained - but to see an authentic faith that express itself in true community and making a tangible difference in the world.
Shawn sits down with his good friend Jim Mello to discuss the importance of safe communities, emotional intelligence, and his faith journey - which has had many twists and turns. We discuss Jim's experience with church and being drawn into our missional community.
We look down at some vital statistics, noting, for example, how those who consider themselves to be religiously "nones" has doubled in the last decade in the United States, equaling the number who are Bible-believing, and how a mere 4% of Millennials attend a worship service on any given weekend. We discuss how we are in a dire situation, and how not changing is more dangerous than launching into the unknown.
Foundational to all we do with mission, discipleship, and community is the gospel. We slow down to look this critical issue, sharing personal testimonies about how the gospel has affected our lives and how we constantly need to be reminded of it. We discuss what the gospel is, how it changes us, and how we can become fluent in it, re-iterating that the human heart longs to be fully known and fully loved.
We sit down and have a conversation with our sister-in-law, Ellie - an ordinary, stay-at-home Mom who is on mission in the everyday stuff of life. She shares with us why she said "yes" to being a part of our Missional Community, how her understanding of church, evangelism, and mission have changed as a result, and how she is still growing in her demonstration and proclamation of the gospel.
As Christians, are we trying to bless people or convert them? Or both? We grapple with this important question, attempting to first redeem the idea of converting people and then reminding ourselves that we are ultimately called to be a blessing to people, regardless of whether they ever make a decision for Christ. We are called to live lives of "disinterested love." No doubt, this will create within the heart of those we serve and bless curiosity as to why we lead such other-centered lives. As Jeff Vanderstelt puts it, we are to "live in such a way that it would demand a 'Jesus explanation.'"
Playing off Jesus' instructions to the 70 in Luke 10, we look at the "Person of Peace" concept and its implications for mission. Mission and discipleship is less about reaching the masses as it is about finding a few people to invest in, bless, and "do life" with. In order to impact people in a substantive way, we need to go deep with them. And in order to make disciples who are submitted to Christ in all of life, we need to do all of life with them.
For more information on this important concept, and to download the free eBook that Shawn references, check out The Viral Gospel by Alex Absalom by clicking here.
We introduce the idea of missional communities in this episode, explaining how a missional community is a "family of missionary servants, sent out by God to make disciples who make disciples." It's not a small group, not a weekly meeting, but a family of disciples who re-orient themselves to the rhythms of each other's lives, focusing primarily on mission. Missional communities serve as the primary organizing structure of the church - church on "street level" and the everyday.
Why is it that as Christians we frequently separate and isolate ourselves from the rest of society? We explore the reasons for this and whether doing so is the right way to live out the gospel. We submit that, as Christians following the example of Jesus, we are called to "incarnate" the gospel - to move into the neighborhood and "stay" with people. We are invited not simply to "go" to people on "mission visits," but to actually "stay" with them, doing all-of-life with them. This is what it means to truly be missional.
Editorial note: Shawn cites statistics which maintain that when evangelists send flyers out for seminars, they get one or two people to attend per 10,000 flyers. The stat is actually one or two people per 1,000 flyers, however.
What is the mission of the church? The answer may surprise you. It's not putting on exciting programs, producing great music, feeding the homeless, or even loving people. Join us for this critical conversation - maybe the most important of them all.
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