I Just Took a Walk

Finally went on a prayer walk through my neighborhood. Oh, I’ve walked these blocks several times already this summer, but I drown out most everything listening to my iPod.  Today, I left the ear buds out. Instead, I tried to hear everything God had in my path. This time I really set out to pray over my neighbors.

I signed up for the Summer Initiative at Salt & Light and June’s assignment was to prayer walk your neighborhood.  More on that here. June is fading quickly. I think fear had me stalled in the idea stage. Fear that God might have a plan for me in my own neighborhood. Fear that He might ask me to do something that will make me look crazy or feel uncomfortable.  Fear that when I reach out, I might get turned down.

Turns out, the walk was pretty powerful. My heart was opened to really wanting to know who my neighbors are. What’s their story? God helped me examine myself as I walked as well, surely to humble me. Keeping in mind that I am on the same journey I hope to invite my neighbors to join. Remembering that I struggle with sin daily.

For too long I have pushed aside the command of ‘love my neighbor as myself’.

How well do you know your neighbors?

Creating Missional Communities – Velocity Pre-conference

Michael Stewart, Pastor of Missional Community at Austin Stone Church, not only explained the tri-perpectival Gospel (adapted from Tim Keller), he had us read and discuss the material in small groups. What better way to present on a topic about small groups. But these aren’t just any small groups, they are what Michael refers to as “Missional Communities.”

What is church?

  • a service
  • spiritual family
  • community

Austin Stone found that the “One-anothers” referred to in the bible just couldn’t be accomplished on Sunday morning. The structures in place weren’t facilitating mobilizing people toward mission. So the question was, “How do we engage people in the mission of God?” They decided that about 33% of their ‘missional’ communities were actually missional, and they needed to help the other 67% deconstruct their idea of church and the consumer mentality that existed.

Alan Hirsch’s communitas definition – “If you shoot for community, you geth neither mission, nor communtiy. If you aim for mission, you get both.” Hmmm.

Jesus said, “Follow me, and I’ll make you fishers of men.” We are meant to be Missional (sent).

Everything we struggle with is a gospel issue. Missional Communities embrace the Tri-Perspective Gospel as foundation to Mission.

3 perspectives of the gospel


good news vs good advice – need to give people the good news, not just ‘how-to’s
Jesus lived the life we should live and died the death we should have died.


we are a new person in Him
gospel is not just a truth about us that we affirm with our minds, it is also a reality we must experience in our hearts and souls
we ‘know’ by grace “Think on that grace until you are changed into generous people by the gospel in your hearts.”

“Sonship” “We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time.”
the gospel is radically different than religion. Religion operates on the principle: “I obey, therefore I am accepted”. The gospel operates on the  principle: “I am accepted through Christ, therefore I obey.”

kingdom/social aspect

The gospel is not just about individual happiness and fulfillment. It’s not just a wonderful plan for ‘my life’ but a wonderful plan for the world. Those who receive salvation are not the strong and accomplished, but those who admit they are weak and lost. A complete reversal of the values of the world with regard to power, recognition and status.The gospel liberates us from bondage to the power of materail things and worldly status. The way to real power is to give up coercive power and serve others. The way to get rich is to give it away. the way up is down

Circles of Influence

facebookFor the past two weeks, my online group has reached out, and prayed for, twitter followers and facebook friends during our regular meeting time…inspired by our leader, Tony Steward, and this missional challenge from LifeChurch’s ChurchOnline.  We individually posted on both forums that we would pray for anyone who gave us a prayer request over the next 30 minutes. We responded to all requests by praying right then online.  We typically found that twitter followers responded to our tweets with their prayer request in a Direct Message. On facebook, we found we had more success initiating individual chats with online friends and offering prayer. From time to time we came back to our TokBox room (where our group meets) to share how things were going. We pretty much typed our fingers off lifting folks in prayer, and went closer to an hour than our intended 1/2 hour because it was so inspiring!

As much as I enjoyed, and was inspired by, this mission, it caused me to think about my circle of influence on these two sites. Please don’t get me wrong, I love praying for those who are in ministry and those who are following Christ. But wouldn’t it be powerful if I was offering prayer to an unbeliever? Or to someone wondering how people live out their love for Christ? Most people, unbelievers included, are open to being prayed for. twitter_logo_header

Church leaders, as we look to using Social Media as a means of communicating, connecting, and reaching out, lets remember to embrace (follow/friend) those who may not hold our same beliefs. Search out and accept people from all walks and beliefs. In fact, maybe it’s time to reconsider your circle of influence both on and offline.

What is missional?

dinnerA wonderful start to our Exponential 2009 Conference – dinner with Alan Hirsch and Ed Stetzer (he’s in the picture just behind Kevin Richardson). Great to share this with Doug Gamble, Kevin Richardson, Tim Barbee and Andy Kaser – who REALLY likes his apple cobbler.  It was also fun to meet Aaron & Tracey Monts from Community Christian Church and NewThing Network who are planting a church in San Francisco.

Special thanks to Sherry Surratt and Leadership Network who supplied my ticket to the conference!

There were plenty of laughs and wonderful dialogue on what it means to be missional.  Overall, it seems  lots of churches are throwing around descriptional tags (including missional) trying to be unique in their approach or promotion. Has the word missional lost it’s meaning?

    Here are a few nuggets from this evening for you to decide:

    1. “Get your church plant out of the safety zone where you feel comfortable” Hirsch
    2. “Ask yourself, Where does Jesus hang out? Most Christians don’t have meaningful friendships outside the church” Hirsch
    3. “Put missional (sending) and incarnational (model) together” Hirsch
    4. “Missional – root the mission of God, in God himself. God is a sender by nature, and He sends us” Stetzer
    5. Missional definition has become an ‘ecclesiological junkdrawer” Stetzer
    6. “The most underexplored resources are people themselves.” Hirsch
    7. “It’s easy to make another site, it’s hard to make another Andy Stanley. Need to reproduce good leaders” Stetzer
    8. “Put aside all the scripting you know about church, and go back to Jesus and think missionally. Learn the culture.” Hirsch
    9. “People fall in love with the model of a church before the mission” Ed Stetzer
    10. Do mission, and the church comes out of the back of it. Don’t frontload church. Alan Hirsch
    11. “Be mission-minded AND missional” Stetzer

    I am excited about tomorrow’s sessions – kicking it off with Erwin McManus! Check it out here.