Membership, covenant, commitment, etc….The Promise

Mosaic is wrestling with the idea of commitment. Last Sunday we presented The Promise – our attempt at articulating some core aspects of committing to Mosaic in order for us to grow and fulfill God’s will for us as a community. Using our values and life practices as a starting place we identified 5 aspects that will help us pursue Mosaic’s vision as a community. They are:

  1. Living out our life practices – these are based on our values of communion, community and co-mission. Won’t go into them here.
  2. Regular participation in our weekly gatherings
  3. Missional living at work – wherever we spend most of our time.
  4. Sacrificial giving
  5. Regular involvement in a small group

Some of this is a result of reflections over the last few years, some recent feedback & challenges the community faces, and a great deal has to do with us trying to work toward the same goals for Mosaic and God’s mission in the world. We cannot move in a united direction if we are all pursuing our own will or we have different objectives. This still gives a great deal of personal flexibility and is not something to be policed but embraced; only the person will know if they are wholehearted or ‘ticking off the box’.

For those who are followers of Christ and can embrace these five aspects, they would become ‘promised’ people in Mosaic (we termed this ‘aprentices’) and they would be given responsibility according to gifting, character, and calling which flows into ministry and leadership. Those who are not a follower of Christ or a Christian who is determining if Mosaic is a community God wants them to participate in would simply be ‘friends’. This would be an opportunity for them to discover the claims of Christ and/or discern their ability to embrace Mosaic’s values and mission. 

I think in some ways this puts us closer to being a missional community; even urban monastics. Western culture doesn’t do well with commitment and I know Mosaic/us as leaders aren’t perfect, so please be in prayer as we consider being promised, seek unity and forge ahead in fulfilling God’s will for us in 2008.

Article on Scottish ‘fresh expression’

A friend referred me to this article in the Scotsman a Scottish newspaper:

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1263302007#new

I find the comments by the Scottish Christians somewhat encouraging – but I also find an undercurrent of something else. The local councillor’s comments leave something to be desired and don’t have the veneer that the professing Christian’s comments have. Here is a quote for that councillor: “Pastor Bob’s heard the call, but I find what he is doing disturbing.” He is not very politically correct and it is condescending.

Unfortunately I perceive something I’m not comfortable with even from the ‘saints’. Rev Prof George Newlands, the principal of Trinity College, the University of Glasgow’s school of divinity, said: “Problems have arisen when evangelical groups from the US get involved in missionary activity in cultures which they may not fully understand. There has been a lot of pressurised evangelism. But it would be quite unfair if all mission groups came under suspicion just because they came from America.” There is a bit of a recovery but it still unsettles me. I’m certainly sensitive being American and am sure I have done some stupid things. I wonder if I would treat Scots this way in America? I wonder if the better approach would be not to address the ‘American Factor’ and just thank our brothers & sisters and rebuke privately when we come across it personally as part of our work? For example, I hear of some Christian’s across town who are doing things ‘wrong’. Since I have no direct interaction, is it my place to get involved? All I did was hear a rumour. If I asked of Prof. Newlands who did he work with that was American and when did he experience this pressurised evangelism, would he tell me he has only anecdotal information? If so, then his comment is actually gossip (IMHO). If he is certain of the sources, is this how we should be handling it among the Christian community? As a church leader I personally have struggled with this as I’ve interacted with other ministries here. It’s not an easy thing to be caught in the middle of this so I am not suggesting we all just run around acting as Christian culture police. However, there has to be some learned Christians who could speak into the Scottish Church as to how to ‘handle cross-cultural mission mistakes’. I’d welcome the dialogue, the concern for building the kingdom, and some more Christian unity. This is a tricky one to navigate.

Attractional Church vs. Missional Church?

Here is a quote for you if your wondering what the difference is:

“The missional church goes back to the life of Jesus. It submerges itself into the culture it is reaching. He did not construct a building or start a service. Rather he walked among the poor and hurt and lost. He incarnated himself. He became flesh; God came down from heaven and lived among us. He was born poor and grew up in a despised town called Nazareth. He had a questionable birth and in all likeliness lost his earthly father at an early age. He became close friends of sinners and was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. (Luke 8:34)”

Attractional of course would represent some of the opposite – ‘we need to get more seats or we’ll lose them – if we lose them, there go our salaries!’, ‘what’s the latest music to attact kids?’, ‘quiet down back there you (visitors), we are tapping this service and we’ll have none of those shenanigans!’ (actually heard of a story like this last example!).

The quote is an excerpt from http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/567.htm and the ‘Characteristics of Missional Church’ I think Attractional Church has served its purpose but now the culture and the state of the Church demands we live out our true calling  as the people of God in a fresh way that speaks & listens to the culture. We have a lot of unlearning, new learning and appreciation for tradition to explore. We don’t have it figured out but we are trying to be faithful to what the Spirit is saying to Mosaic….