Missional Practices – Part 1

Matt Smay and Hugh Halter are two fun guys that stumbled upon an organic church plant while doing life with neighbors and acquaintances. They are a much needed development to the organic dialog in that they are wrestling with the middle ground between the old and the new, not out of courtesty, but out of necessity. Here are my notes from the first half of their pre-conference intensive at the Expoential Conference 09 on Missional Practices. Internet connectivity is a little rough here, so this may not be formated all that well.

Missional Approach
Proper Approach to Mision: Engage Culture  Faith Communities  Structured Church
• Engage Culture: Meet People, Talk, Listen, Share Meals, etc…
• Faith Communities: Small Group Gatherings with those who are Spiritually Receptive
• Structured Church: Gathering the faith communities into one body
*It’s best to follow this flow, however Structured Churches already in existence can get back to engaging culture by reversing the process (turn to small groups to engage culture)

Structure
• This is the unique contribution of Matt & Hugh, they are wrestling with how to merge 1) organic church concepts and standard Sunday church concepts, and 2) discipleship emphasis and outreach emphasis.
• If you grow fruit, you have an obligation to gather/care for it. You can’t just be sodalic (missional, evangelistic, parachurch, etc…); you also have to be modalic (structured, gathering, sending, etc…).
• Think arrows (pastor/teacher base with a prophet/evangelist point). Instead of one big arrow for the structured church, Hugh & Matt are shooting for numerous small arrows contributed by each of the faith communities.
• The apostolic challenge is figuring out how to merge modalic and sodalic objectives of the church.

Leadership
• Change Polarity. Don’t worry about pulling people to you or the structured gathering; worry about pushing people out into service and leadership. You’ll get rid of a lot of people this way, but those who stay will stay with the right heart and greater commitment to the mission of Christ. People want to pull together, which is good, but structure it so they pull together over going out.
• Remove consumerism by removing the goods and services that they are consuming. Don’t give them anything. Tell them to give something. If you are letting them consume off of you, you’re hurting their growth.
• Time Allocation: Give all your time to missional people and sojourners (seekers). Starve the consumers. They suck the average pastor dry.
• Watch Jesus’ leadership style. Apparently creating tension is helpful to formation.

Connections Stages/Transition Points
• Observance: 2-3 months of understanding the church’s story, and they understanding yours.
• Die: Count the cost. Are you willing to give your all to the mission of Jesus? They do a talk with a group of people at their home; half of whom say they aren’t up for the dying thing, so they refer them to other churches.
• Preparation: 8-10 weeks preparation with tangible kingdom material.
• Participation: Start living the mission/DNA.
• Partner: Start leading the mission/DNA.
*Look for where people are getting stuck (which transition isn’t happening), and then fix it.

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3 responses to “Missional Practices – Part 1

  1. Brian,

    Thanks for summarizing the workshop. I almost feel like I was there.

  2. Hey Brian,
    This topic has me jazzed! I really wish I was there soaking all this in. I especially like the insights these guys have on consumerism in the church! And I’d also like to hear more about the idea of getting people to transition through stages.
    I’ve plunged into a “missional” community group that is very small right now (4). It’s been the best group I’ve been a part of in more than 10 years. We’re all on the same page–willing to be pushed out of our comfort zones and be outward focused while still being committed to each other. While totally excited to see how God is working in us, I do have some trepidation that we’ll get “stuck” at some point and I want to make sure we keep moving forward.

  3. Great stuff Berta!

    You know, I get discouraged when I look at my missional efforts and don’t see a new church, or pile of immediate fruit.

    That’s just it though… this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. I believe pulling a small sacrificial effort together has the ability to move mountains when it gains speed.

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