Last August, I pointed you toward a book by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay entitled, The Tangible Kingdom. It is a book that expresses the concepts of missional and incarnational ministry that I believe reflect the heart of God. Over the course of the past year, our staff has read it and we have used their Tangible Kingdom Primer with our student leaders and in some of our Cords (our missional communities on campus).
Last week, I finished their sequel to The Tangible Kingdom. It is called AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church. In the book, they discuss the balance of a Biblical church (or campus ministry) – where people are both scattered through incarnational communities and gathered through structures that hold them together and provide encouragement and vision. It is, again, a book I would highly recommend to church leaders and church planters.
Here are some highlights. Hopefully some of them will provide you with food for thought.
"In Genesis 12:2-3, ... the people of God are being sent to live in a pagan land. Why? So they may bring the blessing of God wherever they go." p. 34
“Missional isn't a form of church. It's a label we give to the qualitative or descriptive aspect of how a church actually lives. It's about how much like Jesus those people become and how much they influence, woo, and transform the culture in which they are placed. In other words, how 'missional' you are is largely determined by the extent to which your people model the life, activities, and words of Jesus." p. 52
"Being missional is about our sentness - it represents the directional impulse of every church and every Christian in the world. Being incarnational is not so much about our direction; it's more about how we go, what we do as we go, and how we are postured in the culture God calls us to engage. Incarnation is the personality of our proclamation." p. 56
"The principle is indisputable: the great things of God cost us our life. The more missional you want to be, the more incarnational you're willing to be, the more you release your people out into the world, the more you desire to equip and empower young leaders, the more effective and faithful you want your church to be ... the more you'll have to die to yourself." p. 80
"Sadly, many people really are content to live as consumers, and they are just looking for a place to hold their beliefs together and to provide a sense of belonging relationally. In other words, all they want are some sermons and some friends.... We have to realize they aren't looking for transformation, either for themselves or for the world." p. 106
"If you're worried about how to keep halfhearted, recreational Christians from leaving your church, I fear you've lost the big story." p. 108
"What brings meaning to your gathering is how well you scatter. Jesus gave us the key to helping people find meaning when he said, 'Whoever wants to save their life will lose it.' (Mark 8:35 TNIV). Corporately, it's the same. If we want people to find meaning in our church gatherings, we must help them to gather for the purposes and people outside the gathering." p. 174
"God's highest goal for our children isn't to keep them busy and safe. Our roles as stewards over the spiritual life and legacy of our kids is to model a holistic life of apprenticeship under Jesus - to invite them and include them in as much as you can and to trust that God will grow them, protect them, and use them to change the world." p. 182-183
"Sermons have been an important part of our spiritual formation and will continue to fill that role, but we must also face the fact that even though we preach well, our focus on preaching as the main thing has not produced the level of discipleship we had hoped it would. Even more, our priority for pulpit-centered Christianity may actually be one of the most consumer-oriented aspects of evangelicalism today. Just as we must reimagine the church gathering, we must also have the courage to reimagine how we teach our people the Scriptures." p. 183-184
What think ye?
""If you're worried about how to keep halfhearted, recreational Christians from leaving your church, I fear you've lost the big story." p. 108
For the real.
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