assimilation austin stone christianity missional

Mission First, Community Later?

I found this quote on our Missional Community blog from the Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch:

“In a remark ascribed to Gordon Cosby, the pioneering leader of that remarkable community Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C., he noted that in over sixty years of significant ministry, he had observed that no groups that came together around a non-missional purpose (e.g., prayer, worship, study, etc.) ever ended up becoming missional. It was only those groups that set out to be missional (while embracing prayer, worship, study, etc., in the process) that actually got to doing it.” (p. 235)

This quote definitely contains a large degree of truth…groups that form with no missional impulse will generally never find a mission.  I do, however, believe that there are potential outcomes from the formation non-missional groups, especially when there is a vision of mission driving those groups.

The most direct method of assimilation in a missional context is “assimilation to missional community”.  We have also found, though, that there are several indirect pathways, especially when the vision is ultimately missional community.  Sometimes the most efficient path is not the best.

In our experience with missional community at The Austin Stone, and specifically on the assimilation side of things, I think I’ve come to discover that in our context, entry into virtually any kind of community, missional or non-missional, is a good first step.  We have utilized non-missional community as a venue for exploring missional concepts, and many individuals have begun to discover their calling to mission.

Although this may not directly result in missional community, it is resulting in individuals who are pursuing mission, and the hope and prayer is that over time, as individuals find a calling to mission, that they begin to unite around a common purpose to create missional community.

The phrase our community team likes to use is “teams of missionaries” (collections of missional individuals) and “missionary teams” (missional communities).  The team of missionaries concept is a great intermediate step in the process of moving a body toward missional community.

austin stone missional

TASCC Missional Communities Blog

Stew and the Community team have been working on putting together a Missional Community Blog for The Austin Stone.

Here’s an excerpt:

How to stay focused on the vision and mission

As leaders we must clearly communicate the vision and mission and what it means.
Review the vision and mission often. Intimate knowledge of the vision and mission is a call to commitment and action. When the direction is understood as God’s direction and not that of man, we can mobilize with a higher authority. A clear understanding will gain commitment which should lead to application and action.

It will be a great resource, so check it out!

leadership missional

Fivefold Leadership | Dream Awakener

I’ve found this post and the whole series from JR Woodward particularly insightful in applying the APEPT/APEST model of leadership to a western, contemporary church context.  JR has a unique way of articulating these ideas into a framework that makes sense for me.

I first encountered this idea of missional leadership through the writing of Alan Hirsch in The Forgotten Ways, and I think I’ve been understanding more and more the necessity of having a well rounded ministerial team, and the synergy produced when people with different giftings are around the table.

These different personalities bring a healthy, multi-perspectival approach to strategy and ministry.  Alternatively, I think they promote some good fights in meetings, as Patrick Lencioni suggests in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

I’m hoping to work through some of this with our Campus Minister Network in the future…

austin stone missional

Practice is the Embodiment of Value

I listened to Alan Hirsch at our leadership conference (via Shapevine), and he busted out the title of this blog.  He was talking about the idea that intellect moves us to action being a complete reversal of reality.  Another quote from the day that really rung home for me is below:

Act your way into a new way of thinking, rather than thinking yourself into a new way of acting.

I love the way this guy thinks (and acts), and it was a joy to hear him articulate ideas on gospel and mission.  The idea that practice embodies value, or that action demonstrates what we treasure, is an excellent way to phrase why we have Partnership commitments at The Austin Stone, not just core values.

I pray that God would continue to move us toward practicing what we value as a church.

evangelism missional

Lessons in Evangelism | Gentrified

Logan is doing a quick set of posts on Evangelism at Gentrified.

Below is an excerpt:

I am far from gifted in evangelism, if there was such a thing as ungifted that would be me, but I’ve learned that Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “do the work of evangelist” likely means Timothy wasn’t either, but the command is still the same. I am starting with the question of “Why should I evangelize?” because it deals with the motivation of your heart which in turn reverberates through the actions you take. Evangelism always felt simply like a command (which it is) and a duty, which left me feeling guilty and ashamed of not doing it more, but my motivations for evangelism have been changing so that it is starting to feel normal.

I’ve come up with 3 changes in motivation that explain why I have evangelized more:

1) I love God and His gospel.

2) I’ve started to actually love and care about the people around me.

3) It causes worship in me and exalts His name.

Click here for more.

I have watched the last few months as Logan has been ignited with a passion for this, and it is an encouragement and challenge for me to continue to share what God has done in my life, and the power in the cross of Christ.