The Mission has a Church

One of the things we’ve been talking a lot about is being a missional church. In fact, one of our Bethel Mileposts is “The Mission has a Church.” What does it mean to be a missional church? Missional thinker Alan Hirsch offers this definition of the missional church:
“A proper understanding of missional begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By his very nature God is a “sent one” who takes the initiative to redeem his creation. This doctrine, known as missio Dei—the sending of God—is causing many to redefine their understanding of the church. Because we are the ‘sent’ people of God, the church is the instrument of God’s mission in the world. As things stand, many people see it the other way around. They believe mission is an instrument of the church; a means by which the church is grown. Although we frequently say ‘the church has a mission,’ according to missional theology a more correct statement would be ‘the mission has a church.’ Many churches have mission statements or talk about the importance of mission, but where truly missional churches differ is in their posture toward the world. A missional community sees the mission as both its originating impulse and its organizing principle. A missional community is patterned after what God has done in Jesus Christ. In the incarnation God sent his Son. Similarly, to be missional means to be sent into the world; we do not expect people to come to us. This posture differentiates a missional church from an attractional church.”
 
The one thing from this definition that jumps off the page at me is, to be missional means to be sent into the world, we do not expect people to come to us. As I understand missional thinking it means trying to BE the church, rather than getting people to come to Church. As much as we at Bethel love our historic sanctuary and appreciate our state-of-the-art People of Hope Center, these buildings are not “The Church.”
 
The church is not a destination. Instead the church is you and me, on the move, living out the good news of Christ in our workplaces, families, and schools.
 
Frances Morris living a missional life
One of the places I believe we are being sent is the Powhatan Free Clinic. The good folks at the Free Clinic provide quality medical care for those with limited means. I asked our Missions Team leader, Frances Morris, if she would ask the folks at the Free Clinic how Bethel could serve them. They told Frances it would be great if we could provide a meal for the volunteers at the Free Clinic once a month. Frances has a heart for missions and she took the ball and ran with it and delivered the first meal in January. We’re going to deliver another meal in March then one in May. I hope that we can fulfill their request by taking them a meal once a month. Frances is looking for some folks to assist in this ministry. If you think you can help us to BE the church at the Powhatan Free Clinic once a month we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Frances Morris at 794-6130 and she’ll give you the details on this ministry. The other thing I’d like for you to think about is other places where we can be “The Church.” If you have an idea or thought about where God may be leading you to serve please let me know and let’s talk/pray/discern together. May God bless us as we continue to “Be the Church!” Amen.

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