Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Missional and incarnational are two concepts that are (or should be) inseparable.

You can be missional without being incarnational (in our context) by hanging thousands of gospel door hangers in a neighborhood thinking it's an information problem that does not need a relational solution. The heart of mission, the recognition of "sentness" is there, but the incarnational piece is missing. It's actually possible to do quite a bit of damage by being missional but not incarnational (as is discussed in The Tangible Kingdom).


You can be incarnational without being missional by hanging out every night at the same Portland pub or coffee shop, but never getting to know anyone, never asking God, "how are you at work here?", never having an awareness of what is going on around you. You feel good about yourself because you're around a bunch of non-Christian Portlanders, but if there is never any intention, any idea of what God is doing, any direction, then it will just remain hanging around a bunch of non-Christian Portlanders. Incarnational without missional is just hanging out!

How have you seen or experienced these two ideas brought together in a meaningful way?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Freedom for Ministry 3

“The Bride of Christ mentioned in Revelation 21 will be something quite new to our eyes, but she will be no stranger, for we will recognize her as the whore of Christendom transformed. It is only by trusting that promise that we dare now to call the whore of Christendom the Bride of Christ. We do so in hope, and that hope is the foundation of our ministry.

To love the Church, then, is to help it become what it is. When Paul speaks of a Church without spot or wrinkle, therefore, he is not speaking of a different Church than the one with which we are so restlessly dissatisfied. No, he is speaking of this Church becoming what in reality it is.” Pg. 13

Monday, September 21, 2009

Freedom for Ministry 2

“Thinking about the Church today is plagued by a mood of anti-institutionalism that pervades our culture. We too facilely posit form against reality, the institutional against the authentic. Institution is simply another word for social endurance. Even the most spontaneous and prophetic of movements cannot last unless they find institutional form. I admit that I have never understood what people mean when they talk about “the institutional church.” There is no other church of historical or social significance. It might be suggested that there is another church of theological significance. But the church we speak of theologically is not another church; it is this Church-in all its sweaty, smelly, concreteness-although viewed in a difference and more comprehensive perspective.”

Friday, September 18, 2009

Freedom for Ministry 1

In his book Freedom for Ministry, Richard John Neuhaus wrote this back in 1979:

“I do not think we should regret it if this Church is institutionally strong. For the millions of people who support and participate in the churches, it is likely a good thing. To be sure, we all deplore the superficiality, the cheap grace, the caricature of Christian discipleship that mark some of the most successful peddling of the gospel in our time. The hustling that dominates “the electronic church” of religious broadcasting, the mile-long cathedrals of glass made possible by the avoidance of controversy, the multimillion dollar commerce in books that reinforce every prejudice and stereotype-all this is repugnant on many scores.

And yet, and yet: through all this, millions of people are receiving a more adequate and truthful view of the world than they might otherwise have. They are introduced at least to the rudiments of the Christian world view: to the Creator God, to the reality of sin, to the redeeming power of God’s initiative in Jesus Christ, to the presence of the Spirit, to the ethic of love, to the hope of glory. No matter how bastardized we may think the form of the gospel is, they are at least brought within the circle of Christian discourse where the understanding of the gospel can be deepened and fulfilled in Christian discipleship.” Pg. 6