Mission as organizing principle from The Forgotten Ways

January 10, 2009 — Leave a comment

This blog articulates well the idea of mission as central to small group and church sustainability.  I consistently wrestle with the concept of assimilation into mission rather than ministry, and the most effective means to accomplish this end.

I’m not sure I’m ready to abandon wholesale assimilation to ministry as a pathway to mission as Hirsch suggests (this is the route that I took, as well as many missional practitioners that I know), but the principle is important to understand.

Sustainability in community is driven by the size of the mission and vision.  Groups that are internally focused tend to turn on themselves, and ultimately die.  This creates an approximately 2 year life cycle of small groups, which is pretty standard lifetime for assimilation based churches.  Once your means of attraction becomes outdated or fails to adapt, thus drying up your source of new individuals, your church is essentially doomed to die.

Only when small groups catch an initial vision to be externally focused will they endure beyond this life cycle, in my opinion.

Read all of Hirsch’s thoughts here:

Mission as organizing principle : The Forgotten Ways.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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