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Missional Church in the Biblical Story

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1 Missional Church in the Biblical Story
Michael Goheen Vancouver B.C.

2 Starting with God’s Mission
Long term purpose/intention to restore creation, all of human life Told in story of Bible Through Israel-Jesus-church/Spirit Missional identity comes from role church plays in biblical story

3 Participation in God’s Mission
‘Fundamentally, our mission (if it is biblically informed and validated) means our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission, within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation.’ (Chris Wright)

4 “God’s mission involves God’s people living in God’s way in the sight of the nations.”
- Chris Wright Mission is not primarily about going. Nor is mission primarily about doing anything. Mission is about being. It is about being a distinctive kind of people, a countercultural community among the nations. - Howard Peskett and Vinoth Ramachandra

5 God’s Mission and the Church
Locus or place of God’s redemptive work (foretaste of kingdom) Instrument or channel of God’s redemptive work (agent of kingdom) Salvation in and through

6 Three Directions Backward to creation: Embody God’s original intention and creational design for human life Forward to consummation: Picture of end of history—restored humanity Outward to nations: Missionary encounter with idolatry


8 Formation of People Backdrop of creation and sin (Gen. 1-11)
Abrahamic Promise: Blessed to be a blessing (Gen ) Blueprint: 2 part plan Exodus: Formation of a holy people A redeemed people (1-18) A covenant people (19-24) 19.3-6: Vocation as display people through whole story 20-23: Distinctive life shaped by Torah A people of God’s presence (25-40)

9 Through the OT On the land: On display to the nations (Visibility is “part of their theological identity”) Distinctive way of life shaped by torah vs. idolatry of nations Two dangers Not teaching the next generation Being absorbed into idolatry of nations Failure Prophetic promise

10 Prophetic Promise Gathering of Israel Restore to missional calling
Renewal of Israel Pilgrimage of nations Intertestamental period: Eclipse of missional vision

11 Ministry of Jesus Announcement of the kingdom
Dynamic power and eschatological, comprehensive salvation Already-not yet: Delay of end to gather Gathering and restoring Israel to their missional calling 12: Constitution of end-time Israel Taught a distinctive way of life Participation in Jesus’ mission of gathering (Israel, then Gentiles) Words, deeds, prayer, suffering

12 Central Events of Biblical Story: Renewing a People for their Missional Calling
Crucifixion: Victory of sin and the end of the old age Resurrection: Inauguration of age to come Pentecost: Spirit as gift of end

13 A Witnessing Community (Acts 1.6-8)
Obvious question: Now you’re going to restore the kingdom, right? (1.6) Threefold answer: Not yet: Eschatological gathering will continue (1.7) Already: The Spirit will give you the life of the kingdom (1.8) Until then you are a community that witnesses to the coming of the kingdom starting here to the ends of the earth (1.8)

14 Prophetic Expectation
Spirit Messiah Sin Death Evil Satan Knowledge of God Love Joy Justice OLD AGE AGE TO COME

15 New Testament Fulfillment
Powers of sin death evil Satan Power of Spirit’s renewing work Already-Not yet: Time of Witness OLD AGE AGE TO COME

16 Why the ‘not yet’? The meaning of this ‘overlap of the ages’ in which we live, the time between the coming of Christ and His coming again, is that it is the time given for the witness of the apostolic Church to the ends of the earth. The end of all things, which has been revealed in Christ, is—so to say—held back until the witness has been borne to the whole world concerning the judgment and salvation revealed in Christ. The implication of a true eschatological perspective will be missionary obedience, and the eschatology which does not issue in such obedience is a false eschatology. (Newbigin)

17 Threefold Witness Witness in life (be the witness)
Witness in deeds (do the witness) Witness in words (say the witness)

18 Three Marks of Church: Acts 2:42-47
Devotion to apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer: Celebrating and nourishing kingdom life (v. 42) Life of kingdom manifested: Attractive ‘good news people’ (v ) Lord adds to number (v. 47)

19 Church as Missionary Community: Nearby and Far Away
Pattern in Antioch (Acts 11, 13) ‘Evidence of the grace of God’ (11.23) ‘Great number of people were brought to the Lord’ (11.24) Sent Paul and Barnabas to establish witnessing communities in areas where there was none (13.1-3)

20 Paul’s Pattern Pioneer church planting (Rom. 15:23)
Three missionary journeys Build them up for faithful witness Visits on journeys Letters

21 Mode of Witness in Acts Attractive life of community
Spontaneous evangelism by common members of church Planting new churches -Spontaneous Expansion of the Church (Roland Allen)

22 Acts 15 Jerusalem Council
Jewish form of Christianity New Gentile form emerges in Antioch Spreads in Paul and Barnabas’ journey Crisis Torah: God’s creational design for a particular people at a particular time in a particular cultural context in a particular point in redemptive history Council: “. . . not even the original, divinely sanctioned culture of God’s elect nation has the right to universalize its particular expression of Christianity.” (Flemming) Missionary encounter with every culture of world

23 Need for Cultural Analysis
Difficulty of situation of living amidst the nations: Danger of syncretism All cultures shaped by idolatrous core Need to understand culture Redemptive-tension Contrast community

24 Mission of the church today
Being a light to the nations: Continuing the mission of Israel (Ex cf. 1 Pet 2.9) Making known the kingdom: Continuing the mission of Jesus (John 20.21) Bearing faithful witness: Continuing the mission of the early church

25 Implications for church’s gathered life
Leadership: Not simply professionals who give pastoral care to the congregation but those who lead the congregation into mission in the world. Worship: Liturgy with an eye to God’s mission in the world; celebration and nurture of God’s mighty acts in history, especially Jesus Christ, to nurture the church in a different story than the one of the culture; nourish the life of Christ in the congregation with a view to its manifestation in the world. Structures: Structural forms enable the congregation to be equipped for its mission in the world; emphasis on small groups integrated in various spheres of society

26 Activities in world characteristic of congregation
Evangelism: Evangelizing church that makes the good news of Jesus Christ known in verbal witness. Socially active church: Deeply involved in the needs of its neighbourhood, country, and world embodying the justice and mercy of the kingdom. Importance of the believer’s callings in various aspects of culture: Gathered church—believers will be nourished, equipped and supported in their callings; Scattered church—believers will embody the Lordship of Christ over all areas of life challenging the cultural idols. ‘Primary witness!’ Deeply committed to missions: participate in task of taking the gospel to places and peoples in the world where the gospel is not known.

27 Thirteen Priorities Church with worship that nurtures missional identity Church empowered by preaching of gospel Church devoted to communal prayer Church striving to live as a contrast community

28 The Christians’ lifestyle should not only be exemplary, but also winsome. It should attract outsiders and invite them to join the community… Their ‘exemplary existence’ is a powerful magnet that draws outsiders toward the church. (David Bosch)

29 Contrast Community A community of justice in a world of economic and ecological injustice A community of generosity and simplicity (of ‘enough’) in a consumer world A community of selfless giving in a world of selfishness A community of truth (humility and boldness) in a world of relativism A community of hope in a world of disillusionment and consumer satiation A community of joy and thanksgiving in a world of entitlement A community who experiences God’s presence in a secular world

30 Thirteen Priorities Church with worship that nurtures missional identity Church empowered by preaching of gospel Church devoted to communal prayer Church striving to live as a contrast community Church that understands its cultural context Church trained for a missionary encounter in its callings in the world

31 Thirteen Priorities Church trained to do evangelism in an organic (not methodological) way Church deeply involved in the needs of their neighbourhood and world Church committed to missions Church with well-trained leaders Church with parents trained to nurture children in faith Church with small groups that nurture for mission in the world Church that seeks the unity of body of Christ

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