“If time travel existed and we were transported to the first three centuries of the church, most of us would not recognize it as church because it has none of the outward forms and little of the traditional characteristics of what we normally call “church”. We inhabit a much more institutional “idea of church” than that of our early forefathers. And not all of it is bad. But what has been highly damaging is the present-day way of being and doing church that arose from it becoming the official, state-sponsored religion. As a result, mission was trivialized to being a marginal, undeveloped, unloved subset of the church rather than being its organizing principle. This has distorted our sense of identity and our purpose as God’s people from being a dynamic, transformative movement to being a static, religious institution.”
In case you missed it… this is a continuation of a series of posts called “Live Sent”. You can read and watch the videos from Part One: Paradigm Shift right here.
People want to matter. We all want our lives to count. I believe that if you asked most people whether they wanted to be a part of a movement or an institution… you would find the vast majority of people are more interested in movement.
The church has indeed lost its way in America. As we all know, America has obviously lost its way. But I believe that there is something that can be done, if we are willing to begin entertaining the idea that what Jesus came to create was not some monument or institution of religion and religious activity… but a movement of disciples who attentively listened to and were sent into the world in which God places all of them.
The main reason I began this blog last year was to offer a place for my readers to begin looking at their lives, and to see that the condition of being “soulstuck” is not one that you must stay in. Identifying your underlying problem of sinfulness and the need for it to be redeemed and restored through Jesus Christ is the beginning of the process of getting unstuck.
From there, I am challenging you to creating something better with the life that God has given you. This series of posts is about learning how to get in on the action of the movement of God in this world. God’s movement is called “The Kingdom”, which I’ve gone to some lengths in previous posts to describe and help you understand. You can find out more about the Kingdom by following this link.
Your second assignment in the “Live Sent” series is to watch the next series of videos. These are not nearly as long, but they are equally significant in understanding the nature of movements, specifically as movement pertains to the Church and what Jesus came to accomplish through us.
Some of this may seem a bit academic, but the videos I’m posting all are very interesting and attention grabbing. I’ve watched this series of videos multiple times over the past couple of years because I just get excited every time I watch them.
Alan Hirsch is a missiologist, author, and communicator to the Western church… a teacher of movements, and a challenger to our consumeristic mindset here in America. He and his wife Deb Hirsch live in Los Angeles and minister in their community of faith there. He is the author of “The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church” and the founder of Forge International… a missionary training agency which began in Australia and is now here in America and across the world addressing the changing realities before us and challenging the leaders in the church to brace for the shift that is happening all around us. You can learn more about them at the Forge International website. Deb Hirsch has written a great book called “Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality (Forge Partnership Books)” about the sexual conversation here in the West and how Christians can engage in more meaningful and helpful discussion regarding the sexual revolution that continues to happen in our world.
I am very hopeful about the future of the church for my children and for our nation. I refuse to bow to the prevailing ideology that has pervaded the church that the times we are entering into are the worst times. Perhaps it is true that the darkness is looming, the clouds are starting to cover the spiritual realm here in our free America. But I believe with the darkness, comes hope that the light of Christ will overcome and that he will do it through us… His Church as we carry his banner into the darkness and create glimpses of His Kingdom here on earth. Love moves in action…
Action comes about through movement.
Assignment #2 – The following is a series of videos by Alan Hirsch where he talks about the DNA of missional movements. There are six elements to missional movements that Hirsch talks about in these videos. Watch each video in order…take your time and even take notes if you can. Let the ideas marinate on your soul and test them with what you know about Scriptures. I believe you’ll find this to be a conversation starter in your small groups, your churches, and whatever other circles you may encounter these kinds of topics.
Video #1: Overview of the DNA of Movements
Video # 2: Jesus is Lord
Video #3: Disciple Making
Video #4: Missional/Incarnational Impulse
Video #5: Apostolic Environment
Video #6: Organic Systems