“We are advocating a wholesale change in the way Christians do and be the church and because of this ours is not necessarily a popular message. We’ve become disturbingly aware through personal experience and observation that those who advocate such a thoroughgoing recalibration of the church will not always be met with open arms by the prevailing church leadership. And yet we feel compelled to lovingly challenge the church with the task of dismantling so many of the arcane institutional structures it is now beholden to and to bravely face the future with imagination and courage.”
Alan Hirsch & Michael Frost
What follows is a serious reflection and study of the seismic changes that are taking place in our Western world. With the new challenges we face, the increased marginalization of Christians in the West, and the need for a paradigmatic shift in our thinking… I submit to you this simple change in your thinking… It’s time to Live Sent.
Some may think that to change the way we interact with our culture is tantamount to compromising our faith. I disagree.
The next several posts will be a challenge to view some teachings, read some books, and begin re-thinking through what it means to live as a “sent” disciple of Jesus in this day and age. We are accountable for what we know. I want to strongly challenge you that WE CANNOT AND MUST NOT MOVE BACKWARDS IN OUR THINKING ABOUT HOW TO LIVE AND ENGAGE IN OUR SOCIETY. If we are going to see God’s miraculous intervention in our families, our communities, or our society as a whole, I believe we must begin to become students of missionary activity and learn how to be missionaries here in our own homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and third spaces (coffee shops, ballfields, shopping centers, bars, and other places we congregate for leisure).
Today’s post ends with an assignment… Watch these 5 videos by Michael Frost. Your education in missionary training begins here…now…today.
CHURCH AS MISSION
Changing the way we think is a difficult pill to swallow. We’ve been plugging along, doing life our way for years, and then someone comes along and says.. “Hey… have you ever thought about this…?” Our reaction is often-times gutteral, re-active, even defiant. We don’t want to hear new things. We don’t want to see new things. And we certainly don’t want anyone telling us how we ought to be living our lives, leading our businesses, pastoring our churches, doing our mission…etc.
Every once in a while though, I run across a book or a video series that radically reshapes my thinking and my practice as a Christ follower. Every once in a while… in the vast noise that is in this world… a prophetic voice comes through. A truth that I always knew but had never seen in practice, comes out into reality. If it had been a snake it would have bit me right on the nose. But the truths I share with you here today aren’t mine to share. But from what I can tell, I’m accountable for the knowledge God gives me. When a truth I hadn’t known becomes clear to me… I have a responsibility to begin to re-orient my life and my ways around the new truth that God reveals.
This is not special revelation. It’s the gospel. And it’s very clear as you listen to this man speak, that he’s a prophet. And it would do us all well and good to listen to him.
I was first introduced to the writings of Michael Frost in the book “The Shaping of Things to Come”, a book he coauthored with a friend and contemporary missiologist, Alan Hirsch. Together, these two men’s writings and talks have begun to stir inside of me something that I have never been able to clearly describe until now.
These men have alerted me to the reign of God in this world. They have, in a sense, peeled back an invisible layer that my Western eyes and Western mind have long been blind to.
What follows is a weekend of talks given by Michael Frost to a group of Norweigian Christian leaders. Frost goes into the term “missional”… describes what it is, and what it is not… and paints a picture for us here in the West of what the reign of God might look like if it were being incarnated into the towns, neighborhoods, and subcultures of our American cities.
I invite you to take the next week or so and one by one begin to watch and really listen to the Spirit of God as He communicates through Frost’s teachings. Perhaps when you get on the other side, you and I can have a sit down and begin to ask the question here in our city…
“Who have we been sent to?”