Responding to the Commissions of Jesus (Chapter 3)
Stetzer and Putman discuss missions in a general fashion in this chapter. That state that missions makes this point: it is not about us and our preferences. It is about HIS mission and the fact that he sends us. This is one of the biggest barriers to church growth I found in my limited church staff experience. I found that as a staff, we were often paralyzed from doing what we thought was best for the mission of the church because we were afraid of upsetting the preferences of certain people. In a way, we became people pleasers. That is not a good place to be when trying to be a missional church. We never could get the idea across that it was not about us and what we desired, it was first about pleasing God and then it was about reaching people. We were often not willing to give up our own preference of the packaging of our “gospel expression” in order to break through to reach to our community and find the way they would best respond to the gospel message.
They then provide the basic outline of our call to missions:
We are sent (John 20.19-21) – we are (the church and us as individuals) are God’s missionary to the world. Missions makes this point: it is not about us and our preferences. It is about his mission and the fact that he sends us. We need to get out of the evangelical subculture.
To all kinds of people – (Matt. 28.18-20)
With a message – (Luke 24.46-48)
Empowered by the Spirit (Acts 1.6-8) – whatever it takes we are going to reach this community.
The Missional Church Shift (Chapter 4)
Stetzer and Putman move next to discuss the intersection of Christology, missiology and ecclesiology.
How we do mission flows from our understanding of God’s mission and directs our missiology. How we do church is grounded in Scripture but applied in culture. Thus, we have the intersection of who Jesus is and what has he sent us to do (Christology); the forms and strategies we use to most effectively expand the kingdom where we are sent (missiology); and the expression of a New Testament church that is most appropriate in this context (Ecclesiology).
Rather than providing methods to grow a church, missional thinking helps the church leader to wrestle through who God has called him or her to reach. Missional leaders bring the gospel into a context by asking, “What cultural containers – church, worship style, small group ministry, evangelism methods and approaches, discipleship processes, etc., will be most effective in this context?”
Now, what do they mean by cultural containers? I think they mean by that the forms of preaching and celebration that we express when we come together as the Body of Christ. How do we express gospel truth in our Bible teaching so that our community understands those truths and can apply them to themselves? How do we praise and celebrate our love and adoration for God in a way that our community can embrace and join?
So all need to answer their question in our own communities, that is, “What cultural containers will be most effective in our community?”