Monday, August 08, 2011

missional is wesleyan and wesleyan is missional: eight affirmations

The missional church lives by the grace of God. We understand that God’s grace is present in the lives of others before we encounter them, that the grace of the crucified and risen Lord saves us (Ephesians 2. 8-9), and that our growth in grace finds expression in the love of God and neighbor (sanctification).

The missional church knows that church is not an end in itself. The church exists to bear witness to the love of God in this world. A church’s vitality or strength is a by-product of its mission beyond itself---koinonia is the result of missio. The mission is for the sake of the world, and in this God is glorified (John 17).

We do the mission for the sake of the mission. We cannot control outcomes, or even visible fruit. This does not mean that we do not count people, money or other resources. It simply implies that we serve as faithfully as we know how, combining faith, intelligence and rigor, and we trust the end result to God.

The means of grace sustain the missional church. The mission of God is more than a human endeavor or a political activity: it is work that calls forth our love of the neighbor, which cannot be separated from the love of God. In the absence of a disciplined life, in which we are in touch with the means (ordinary channels) of grace, we become disillusioned with God and apathetic toward our neighbor.

Holiness is always personal and social. The missional church holds together, in its own life, the yearning for spirituality and justice. The missional church hears the still small voice (I Kings 19) and the cries of the oppressed (Exodus 3). Personal holiness without social holiness is escapist. Social holiness without personal holiness is works righteousness.

The missional church is connectional. Because we know that the gifts of God are within and beyond our local expressions of felllowship, and because we understand that human needs are greater than our local capacities to meet them, we rejoice in and depend upon our connections with the denomination, our ecumenical partners and friends in agencies and structures who work for the common good.

The present economic context requires a missional church. The attractional church is an expensive endeavor that depends on large sums of financial capital and creates consuming participants. The missional church is most at home in the deepest aspirations of people: to be healthy, to be educated, to be employed. These basic needs were the place of connection in many of the missionary movements in prior generations, and are unfortunately growing in our own time.

Young adults resonate with the missional church. Many in the younger generations are seeking a community that has integrity (no hidden agenda), is not hypocritical (separating personal and social holiness), is not judgmental (and thus knows a gracious God) and is real (and thus includes the “winners” and “losers” in our world). They will search for this community, and, if necessary, they will piece expressions of it (such as spirituality or justice) together wherever they find it.

The Wesleyan tradition embodies, at its best, the core of what it means to be missional: grace, holiness, discipline, an open table, a world parish.

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Blogger Rev. Dan said...

Great summation. Thanks. I will use this, cited, of course.

5:26 AM  
Blogger pixymagic said...

Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done.
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2:03 AM  

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