the weblog of Alan Knox

Missional Community: Those gathered by God and sent by God

Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in blog links, community, missional | Comments Off

Missional Community: Those gathered by God and sent by God

Len at “NextReformation” has written a very good post called “rhythms of community life.”

The post begins with the phrase “Missional Community,” and throughout the post Len describes what it means to be a missional community. In fact, he puts the terms and the people’s identity in the very nature of God: “[I]n God’s very essence he is a loving community on a mission. As redeemed people in His image, we mirror His life together.”

While I don’t like to use buzzwords regularly, I do like the term “missional” (and other terms that I use occasionally). But, I try to make sure that they don’t become buzzwords that I just talk about but actual descriptions of my own way of life.

Here is part of Len’s post:

Neither mission nor community has priority; neither can exist without the other. Mission and community intertwine like the strands of DNA. We are a community because we share a common purpose — a mission that began when God sent Jesus. We are a mission because the reality of the Spirit in our common life generates an overflow of love…

In these times, when the church has been in a settled state for so long, we are more likely to have forgotten our mission and to be inward focused rather than outward focused. “Community” has become an idol for some, even though the rich qualities of community life are quickly lost when we lose our sense of common purpose. Where young leaders may make mission an idol, in too many places God’s mission in the world is taught, but not practiced.

There are many other very good parts of Len’s post. He quotes a book that I need to add to my reading list.

As I read this, I realized how much of what Len was writing paralleled by own concept of the church being those gathered by God and those sent by God. We are both. We become unhealthy when one or the other is neglected. Like Len says, today it seems that mission (sent) is neglected more than community (gathered).

In Christ, we are both: missional (sent) and community (gathered).