Indeed, our faith calls us to action and accountability as God’s people. The Old and New Testaments of the Bible express a preoccupation with justice. For example, biblical teaching found in Isaiah, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression” and Hebrews, “… remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” are just two examples of the ancient Judeo-Christian witness to a God with unwavering commitment to justice.
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A REFINING FIRE
An Alliance church in Olympia, Washington, endures hardship and places the needs of its community above its own.
When Pastor Tim Heffer and his wife, Meg, of Hidden Creek Community Church in Olympia, Washington, were returning from a short-term missions trip to Bosnia in 2009, they had one thing on their mind: SEEDS.
“Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:13–14). So wrote Paul, though he was quick to point out that he was not feathering his own nest. He told the Corinthians that he personally was not after any remuneration, only that the church should financially support the work of evangelists generally.
This is the third primary commitment of a missional-incarnational church’s infiltration of society. If the church is living an intriguing new lifestyle that is so marked by goodness that it makes the gospel attractive, then to truly be effective it follows that this lifestyle must be lived in close proximity to not-yet-Christians. Paul took this seriously in his mediation of the Corinthian factions that had split over the issue of eating food offered to idols (1 Cor. 10:27–11:1).
Christian leaders wonder how they might engage in reconciling conversations around injustice, social, and public concerns. They desire a humble, humanizing, and respectful approach that opens the door to reconciliation. Many are looking for a way that transcends human nature and allows the Holy Spirit to work.
If the Christian church is to be incarnational and missional, as we believe the New Testament anticipates, and if it’s to abandon an us-and-them mentality, it will need to rediscover the biblical mode of impacting the world around it. The traditional-attractional church thinks about evangelism as sending out church members to share their faith with others and to bring them into the church. But the New Testament writers saw it much more organically.
“People that have never experienced the supernatural power of God will always encounter it in this place because we’ve established a ripe environment for Jesus to show up,” says Merrill Smock, an Alliance church planter in Baltimore, Maryland.
As someone who helps lead a local church, and as someone who regularly coaches pastors wanting to learn how to lean into this whole ‘missional’ thing, one of the most frequent questions I hear is, “How do I start a Missional Community?”
Our primary job is to try to see where and how God has been working and to partner with him in bringing people to redemption in Jesus. Understanding that all humans are made in the image and likeness of God and in the deepest possible way made for God, we can assume that every human is motivated by spirituality and search for meaning. Let’s let Las Vegas be a case study…
Buildings, budgets and bigshots are the movement killers to the reproduction of churches, leaders and disciples. Recently I was in a pastor’s meeting and many were wondering how their churches would continue. Some were selling their facilities just for survival. Survival is one thing, but reaching a city is quite another.