Archives For Mission

I’d like to flesh out this dream we’re pursuing in Storyline to become a “red hot center of mission.”

The inspiration for the metaphor comes from a series of posts written by Mike Breen on missional communities, where he explores the red hot center of the early church, the three elements of a red hot center, and what happens when “torches” of red hot centers gather together and make a “bonfire”.

flywheel

This is a powerful metaphor and a great vision for the church in North America, especially in a time when the fire of mission sometimes seems to have burned down to embers.

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ShockEarlier this month I heard Chris and Stacie Hatchett give a presentation on parenting. One of my takeaways from their talk was being a “shock-proof” parent. Shock-proof parents are those who play it cool when ridiculous or even offensive words come out of their kids’ mouths. I instantly realized how often my own reactions to such comments take the form of shock: “WHAT did you say?” “You did WHAT?” “EXCUSE ME MISTER?!?”

The Hatchetts make the great point that if we are shocked by every crude or inappropriate thing our kids say, they’ll be less and less likely over time to share openly with us. They will stop trusting us. We will cease to be a safe person with whom they can share.

Instead when we hear those kinds of things from our kids we should say – with a chill face, “Oh, really? Tell me about that.” And then gently instruct them after we have sought first to understand.

Being shock-proof is not only a great skill for parenting; it also has great application for living on mission.

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I’ve been reflecting lately on experiencing breakthrough in ministry – what it takes to really grow and thrive as a church, and how to know if we are cooperating with God so that breakthrough can happen.

Tim Keller provides a helpful discussion on how to evaluate ministry effectiveness in his new book Center Church that speaks to the topic of breakthrough.

In the end, however, I believe his discussion falls short.

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In the last post, I described a gap we’ve discovered in our relationships with non-Christians. In summary, we have focused on helping our friends belong with us to the neglect of helping them believe with us.

Ken Primrose from Norman Community Church introduced me to a concept he calls “The Fringe” that I’ve found very helpful for discerning how to bridge the gap in our community.

The Fringe is the social space between the Christian community and those who are not part of it.

In this process, there are three basic stages of relationship for a non-Christian on their journey to Christ and into Christian community. People certainly come to faith in other ways. The Fringe seems particularly helpful for communities who work out of a “belong then believe” paradigm and want to be intentional about it.

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This summer the Storyline House Church I’m part of decided to resurrect “Neighbors Lunch” ministry like we did in the “early days” of Storyline (because we’re so old now).

Storyline’s first Neighbors Lunch in June 2008.



The idea initially came to us from Luke 14, where Jesus says something like: “If you’re going to throw a party, don’t invite your rich friends who can repay you. Instead invite the lame, the crippled and the poor. They can’t pay you back so God will have to be the one to reward you.”

We began to wonder: what if we took Jesus seriously and actually did that? I have found that those who ask this question are typically on the cusp of a transformative experience. That’s certainly been the case for us.

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