Monday, June 28, 2010

Newbigin on Misisonal

This is a good summary of Newbigin's understanding of missions vs. missional. In sum, "missions" is one manifestation of the missio Dei, but not the only one, and certainly not the totality of it. It is the missio Dei that the church is on or in, and in that process of living out the mission of God, missions purposely happens as one tangible means of expression of the missio Dei.

Newbigin on Missional Church
Posted by Brad Brisco, June 16 on the Missional Church Network

The folks at Forge Canada offer a concise summary of Newbigin’s view of missional community from The Gospel in a Pluralist Society:

Newbigin distinguished between missions and mission. The church both “does mission” and “is a mission.” Missions are specific activities undertaken by a human decision to bring the gospel to places or situations where it is not heard. These efforts have quantifiable results. But while missions activities are a part of healthy churches, they do not adequately describe the fullness of God’s work in the world.

The concept of missio Dei, however, captures Newbigin’s wider intention. The mission of the church is less a “missionary mandate” than a participation in the ongoing work of redemption. The missio Dei is God’s mission – the grand story of creation, fall, and redemption. And it is a “story,” not a list of propositions. Propositions are helpful in particular times and places, but are enculturated by language and ethos. The story, however, rooted in time and place, transcends both. When we attempt to export a set of propositions from one time and place to another, we are usually operating in a colonial mode.

The Church is less the agent of God’s mission than the locus of that mission. The missio Dei is the ongoing work of God in the world in which we are all invited to participate. More than a project out there, it is a posture wherever we live.

The church therefore becomes the place where the story is lived and mission is practiced in the real world. Newbigin identifies six characteristics of a missional community:

1. It practices corporate praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, and grace;
2. It declares truth that challenges the reigning plausibility structure;
3. It establishes relationships within a local neighbourhood;
4. It encourages mutual service in the priesthood of all believers;
5. It expects mutual responsibility rather than individualism;
6. It nurtures hope and a re-imagined vision of the future.


3 John 8

Bill H.

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