When our church gathers we’re less heavy on preaching than traditional churches. We still have a form of it, but it only takes up a small portion of our overall worship time. These past couple of months different sermons have struck me in profound ways that I believe are shaping our church.
The first was a sermon I heard in Nova Scotia by a friend, ironically, from Calgary. There the axiom, “do what you love with people you like” was used. I thought it was a unique idea for our community so we spent the next two gatherings chatting a bit about it.
Then last week another ‘aha’ moment tied in with the first that I believe is pulling our community to a deeper level, one with possible profound implications. More on that later.
Calgary Church itself is in fact officially, “Calgary Missional Church”. We needed an official title so that’s what we used. ‘Missional’ is the buzzword being thrown around by most contemporary churches these days where proponents pursue a full re-orientation of church paradigms, whereas others see it merely as an evangelism strategy.
The heart of ‘missional’ is a re-orientation to the ‘missio Dei’, latin for the ‘mission of God’. It means the narrative of scripture describes God’s unfolding mission to put the world to rights. That hope is inaugurated in Jesus and now includes a participating church (us).
When ‘missional’ becomes mere strategy it falls flat and fails. If the mission of the church is a mere subset, an offshoot activity, then it becomes just another ‘thing’ to add to our already busy lives. (Two other worthy posts to check out here and here.
Conversely, if mission becomes the core of the church’s existence, then there’s a fundamental shift in purpose that encompasses the entirety of our lives. Here’s the important part:how we live out mission isn’t about how well we can be ‘missional’ on our own at work or home, rather, how we live out the subversive message of Jesus WITHIN community in the neighborhood and beyond.
Instead of doing more ‘missional’ things we seek to go deeper in the spaces we’re already connected, again, within the context of community.
Playing off of the, “do what you love with people you like” idea, last week we explored, “do what you love with people you don’t like”, or how to love those who aren’t easy to love.
We all have someone like that in our lives.
The idea to love those who are hard to love, or to love your enemies, isn’t a new concept. However, I believe where this particular sermon went was a forming moment for our church.
A different question was asked that sought not what you had to do to be better, rather, how can the community intersect and together show love and respect?
We default to individualistic thinking when we consider how “I” can do mission, evangelism, or ‘loving your enemy’ in “my” life. Makes sense, but that’s not how this missional church, Christianity, Jesus thing works.
Participating in the unfolding mission God has to put the world to rights, to usher in the likes of love, justice, beauty, and hope, is inextricably linked to our existence within community.
The community piece seems obvious yet sometimes we can be so close yet so far, both literally in the places we live, but spiritually as well.
I wonder how things would change if our community/church drew closer to each other, both geographically (same neighborhood) and spiritually, and the went out on mission….together.