Friday, January 19, 2007

Missional Churches - Third in a series

For review, here is the original article on which this post is based.

(3) Missional communities are discontent with spiritual formation as primarily cognitive assent ("I believe this to be true"). Instead, formation is presented as a way of life, a rhythm of being, and a rule of values. It emphasizes faithful living during the week rather than gathering for worship at a weekend event. The sharp boundary between the sacred and secular is evaporating as missional fellowships seek to hear God's voice in culture and creation.

Do you hear that? It is the sound of the author hitting the nail on the head! I've been ruminating on what kind of church I would like God to place me in when I begin pastoral ministry. The best I have come up with so far is a church where its actions are fed by discipleship and motivated by love. What I believe the Lord wants is for the spiritual formation that we go through be shared with others as He brings opportunity. Not just witnessing, but acts of service motivated by love.

I love the phrase the author uses "a rhythm of being" for its sheer imagery. It describes a life where our discipleship/spiritual formation or whatever you want to call it is so ingrained into our being that what we do directly reflects what we believe. I think of the people of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II. I saw a documentary film about that amazing community and what struck me was the statement of one lady who said,I'm paraphrasing here, "we didn't have to organize and think about it. We just did it because it was the right thing to do." That is spiritual formation driving action motivated by love.

For many of us, spiritual formation has become an intellectual exercise. And I speak of myself here. We need to renew our sense of awe and wonder of creation. Consider this from Paul's letter to the church in Rome:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
We can experience God in creation, as well as in the Bible and revelation of the Holy Spirit. Let's hone all of these aspects and then use our love to go minister to all of creation. We have no excuse, and we are incomplete if we exclude any of these areas. Enjoy the fullness of God with me. And then let us share it with others.

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