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Missional Community series | Post #14

March 14, 2011

As we continue in our 4 month long series on Missional Communities, I want us to examine something Michael Green wrote in a gem of a book a few years ago called Thirty Years that Changed the World (if you haven’t picked up this book, you definitely need to).

Early on, he has a great paragraph that explains one of the characteristics that defined the strength of the early church’s evangelism strategy. In sum…at the core of the church there was a red hot center (passionate spirituality, radical community, missional zeal) and it created an incredibly infectious community. The life of the “family” itself worked like a very strong magnet…it strongly attracted some, and strongly repelled others.

Here is how Michael Green describes it in his book:

The approach of the first Christians was strikingly different [than our modern way of evangelizing]. It was a totally opposite strategy [than how we do ‘outreach’]. They learned it from Jesus. He had spent much quality time with three men; Peter, James and John. Beyond that had been the circle of the twelve, then of the seventy, then of the crowds. Jesus had concentrated on getting the center of his little band hot and well informed, and he moved out from there. And that is what the disciples did. They gave attention to their own unity and prayerfulness, obedience and expectancy. And they were able to move out from that hot center onto the streets with enormous effect on the day of Pentecost and in the months and years that followed. In obedience to Jesus, they began to be his witness in Jerusalem first, then Judea, then Samaria and then to the uttermost ends of the earth. It was an effective strategy. Their fellowship was so vibrant, their lifestyle so attractive, their warmth so great that it was infectious. People were drawn in, as to a vortex. God added to the church those who were being saved.

This idea of moving into mission out of a red hot center is hugely important if we want our Missional Communities to be effective. We have to be inviting people into something that actually is hugely transforming, which is what having a red hot center of Passionate Spirituality, Radical Community and Missional Zeal can do. The power of this spiritual extended family on mission together works when there’s a raging fire of God moving, breathing and living at the center of this group…that’s where the power lies!

From time to time I hear pastors say if we are “inwardly” focused we’ll forget our mission. To some degree, there is truth to that. But sometimes I feel we miss the forest for the trees. If we attend to our community life in the way that the early church did, we will see much of the same things. Because if it’s not happening for us, the people who make up the core of the MC…it’s not going to happen for anyone else!

Our community life has to be that strong. If it isn’t, if there isn’t something infectious, vivacious and electric about it…why would anyone want to be part of that kind of Kingdom Community?

Our next post will dive even deeper into these waters. Until then…stay tuned…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2011 12:22 pm

    Excellent reminder!

  2. March 26, 2011 9:44 am

    Mike,

    Amen! Thanks for this post and for bringing my attention to “Thirty Years That Changed the World”. Drew Williams invited me on a trip to Holy Trinity Brompton where I witnessed what you describe. It reframed the way I see the church. I’m trying to capture what I observed and felt in a case study about it that I’ll email you when it’s completed.

    Many blessings to you and your team for the good work you all are doing.

    Mike

  3. Robert Quarton permalink
    May 8, 2011 6:53 pm

    The extract from Michael Green’s book was so challenging that I have bought the book! I’ve now started to read it. Is it possible for you to let me know which page the extract is to be found.

    • May 8, 2011 8:56 pm

      It is in the fourth chapter under Approaches to Outreach: Studies in contrast.

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