Author Archives: Aaron C

Live on Mission? Where Do I Start?

“How do I start living on mission? I know I need to, and I want to, but I don’t know where to start.” This is a conversation I’ve had with myself, and it’s something many of you have probably played out in your head or in conversation. It’s a good question to be asking, it’s and understandable not to know where to start.

These are a few simple thoughts from articles I’ve read or conversations I’ve had about living on mission. Most of these are not new ideas, but the key to all of them is intentionality. Most of us don’t live on mission because we don’t do it on purpose, and missional living doesn’t happen by accident.

The bottom line: You are the strategy

The people are the church, and we are the mission. If we are truly going to live on mission and grow missionally (as opposed to attractionally), the majority of our growth will be people who come on the arm of someone else. That means people engaging and inviting people, both to Remedy and to the gospel. Since WE are the strategy for mission, if we don’t do it, it will not happen.

Got it…now how do we do that?

Overemphasize mission…particularly at the start of the group

In the beginning stages of a Missional Community you need to do more mission-focused things (out) than you do worship/teaching (up) or times of hanging out with people already in the group (in). You need to be out doing things that connect to Persons of Peace (people God has already prepared in advance to be open to you and your vision) in your mission context and then spending lots of time with them. If it doesn’t get into your DNA early…it won’t get in. Pragmatically, think of it this way: For every time you do something “up” or “in” focused in the first 3-4 months, you need to do AT LEAST 2-3 outward, mission focused things.

Adapted from “Top Reasons Missional Communities Fail” by Doug Paul.
http://www.vergenetwork.org/2011/06/16/top-10-reasons-mcs-fail/

Invite them to dinner

Invite a friend or neighbor to dinner at your place before you invite them to a Missional Community or on Sunday morning. 2 reasons:

  1. Coming to a church’s small group or Sunday gathering for the first time is intimidating, especially for an unchurched person.
  2. You want to be friends with them, not just “win” them.

So invite them over, get to know them, and let them get to know you. Help them take the first step into community.

From a conversation with Luke Allen, Lead Pastor of The Covenant Church.

Throw parties and invite your neighbors.

This could be anything from a get-together in your apartment to a full-scale neighborhood block party. The transient nature of many cities can lead to neighbors barely knowing one another. Sometimes all it takes is to initiate by invitation!

Taken from “11 Gospel-Centered Ways to Love Your City” by Tim Gaydos.
http://theresurgence.com/2012/02/03/11-gospel-centered-ways-to-love-your-city

Do mission in bite-sized pieces

It can be difficult to understand how I can meaningfully serve my city and make a difference, but it is much easier to see how I can serve my neighbors and make an immediate impact on their lives.

As you get to know them, look for ways to serve them. Take them meals, offer to watch the kids, do yard work, paint a fence, schedule a play date or a neighborhood cookout. What things can you do for your neighbors that will add value to their lives? Now involve your Missional Community in helping to engage your neighborhood.

Adapted from “The Neighborhood Approach” by Brad House.
http://theresurgence.com/2012/02/04/the-neighborhood-approach


Why Doesn’t God Listen?

I googled "prayer" to find a good pic to go with the post. This one came up. I said "Why not?"

What am I supposed to think when God doesn’t answer my prayers?

This is a question most of us have asked, and I’ve been asking it a lot lately. And the answers I’m looking for aren’t “Keep praying,” “He did answer; he said no,” or “You have to trust God.” I know all of those things. I do keep praying. I do trust God. I believe he’s good and that he wants good for me. My question runs deeper than doubting God. I’m really asking, what am I supposed to do with promises in scripture like “The one who asks will receive” when I ask and I do not receive. What do I do with unanswered prayers?

Maybe we should ask a different question.

In doing some reading about Luke 11, where Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer and making promises like “The one who asks will receive,” I came across a Spurgeon sermon on Luke 11.11-13. Instead of the question I’ve been asking, he asks this question:

“It may be God will hear, and as a general rule will make replies in mercy. But I am an undeserving one. If the Lord should be incensed at my prayers and answer me in wrath instead of love, I should deserve it. If after having made my confession, He should deal with me, judging me out of my own mouth, and then and there condemn me, what should I say?”

Now that’s a different question altogether, and it’s focus is much more squarely on the one who created prayer and rules over all who pray. And it’s at this point that I find some perspective in my praying and my questioning.  Instead of assuming that God should answer my pleas, maybe I should approach prayer assuming that God is actually God, and he can do whatever he wants. And I should pray with humility.

I still have my questions, and those questions still don’t threaten God, but in adding a question or two to my list, I find perspective that influences my prayers and my view of God. And that is always for my good.


Christmas for Kids Wrapping Party

A short photo recap from our Christmas for Kids Project. We wrapped all the gifts on Dec. 9 at the Texas Baptist Home. Great night!

 

 

 

 


Missional Communities at Remedy

One of the main projects I’m currently working on is our training for Missional Community leaders. It’s been a good process for me, having to work through lots of things like what it means to lead and shepherd, how to articulate the gospel in a simple way, and what holistic gospel community looks like.

In this process, and in discussions with some in our church, it seems to be wise to clarify what a missional community is, specifically at Remedy. At the risk of being too simplistic, here are a few excerpts from the training I’ve been working on:

A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY IS:

  • a smaller group of people,
  • doing life closely,
  • around the gospel,
  • with disciple-making intentionality.

The primary purpose of a Missional Community is to be what the larger body cannot effectively be. As a church grows it begins to lose some of its personal nature and identity as a family, and that in turn drags some other essential elements down with it. Disciple-making, mission, relationships, and life happen most naturally and effectively in smaller groups. Missional Communities are designed to be the primary expression of these essential elements of the church.

A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY IS NOT

  • A Bible study
  • A support group
  • A social club
  • An activist group
  • A weekly meeting

Actually, a Missional Community is all of these things. The difference is that it is not only one of these things or even primarily one of these things. All of these things happen in gospel communities who live on mission with each other, and at times, some elements may be more needed than others. A healthy group will find the nature of their community reflecting the rhythms and seasons of life.

Basically, a Missional Community is a gospel community on mission in a small group context. Missional Communities function like mini-churches within the larger church. Members of the group care for, counsel, challenge, and encourage each other. The leader shepherds the group under the leadership and accountability of the Remedy leaders. The whole group functions like a family, doing life, growing, and looking for ways to live out the gospel together.

Maybe that brings a little clarity. Thoughts?


Foundations of Missional Community Pt 3

This is the third in a series of posts from a session called Foundations of Missional Community at the Exponential Conference. The session was led by Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski. The first two posts can be found here and here.

The first two posts were very idealogical, discussing what missional community is. It’s important to listen and have these conversations because we can agree on things in principle, but not even be on the same page in defining the terms. These two posts just lay out what missional community looks like in a very vibrant way.

The third post is very practical and wraps up their talk. Some of the things they talk about are fairly specific to their context and relationships, but please don’t get bogged down on every detail. Listen with ears that are asking how it looks to live missionally in community in your context, taking cues from their stories and experiences.

There may also be a few things mentioned that you aren’t quite on board with, and that’s ok. Don’t let those issues distract you from the point: learning what it looks like to live in missional community everyday, with real people, in the rhythms of real life. If some things you hear aren’t your particular bag of chips, what does it look like for you?

And that’s where the discussion starts. What does it look like for you to live on-mission and in community? What does it look like to live as a gospel community on mission, combining the two so much that it’s hard to distinguish one from the other? The answers to these questions are the beginning of what church really is.

Foundations of Missional Community Pt 3


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