Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About “Missional Communities”…and Then Some!

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Don’t let that title mislead you — all of the thinking and writing that has gone into this link is greatly appreciated!

But, wow, there is a lot of it!

If you (or your leadership teams) want to become conversant in what missional communities are, and how they function, this is a great place to start! It incorporates input from a well-rounded selection of leaders on each of the 7 questions, and it even including some audio interviews.

Just make sure you give yourself the time to take it all in!

7 Questions about Missional Communities

One of the things that is extremely important to state is that churches and missional communities embody the permission — in fact, the insistence — to define themselves organically. The concept of “missional community” is a loose organisational framework, but the specifics are unique in each case, depending on the leadership’s priorities, the gifting of the participants, and the needs of the community.

Can You Love a Stranger?

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Anyone that you really love cannot stay a stranger for very long. That’s pretty obvious, right? But how does a church become a good neighbour in the community? How can we initiate meaningful external relationships?

Well, this church discovered that a block party worked for it. It’s even offering to explain all the steps it took to make it real. (They may need to be adapted to work in your setting.)

Block Party in the Suburbs

We’re always on the lookout for more stories like this! If your church is experimenting with new ideas to actively meet people in your community, or in other places, please alert us. Together, let’s propel the story God is telling in your midst to be an encouragement to all of us!

Core Values: The Word

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This is the third in our series of Core Values. We recommend that you take a look back through Bill’s recent posts to see the rest.

We are people who believe that the Word of God is inspired and authoritative.  We seek to speak the truth in love and be obedient to God’s commands.  There are two sides of valuing the Word: being careful to accept and be changed by the Word as we read it (or as it reads us) and to avoid adding to it.  This of course is what Paul is getting at in

II Timothy 3:15-17 when he tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned from the Scriptures that make one wise for salvation and which are God-breathed and profitable for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness so that one is thoroughly equipped for every good work.  Proverbs 30:5-6 declares, “Every Word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  Do not add to His words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.”  This is a caution against elevating my thoughts to the same status as Scripture; in short, asking others to grant my ideas (or my interpretation of Scripture) the same authority as Scripture itself.  So, we let Scripture read us and where it seems to conflict with the broader culture, we trust Scripture is true and our culture is flawed.

On the other hand, I understand that I bring my personal “culture” to Scripture.  I must allow the Word to challenge and change my prejudices and assumptions even if I believe that I have theological reasons for holding them.  This is what our EFCC forefathers meant when they said “Where Stands it Written”.  Arnold T Olson reminded us that early Free Church leaders wanted to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a Believer’s Church in their homes.  The State Lutheran Church mandated that only an ordained Lutheran Priest could serve the elements and only in a Lutheran Church.  Early Free Church leaders had no patience with theological systems and rules that could not be supported from the Word so they asked “Where Stands it Written”?  If clergy couldn’t give satisfactory answers for their theological practices, traditions and rules, then Free Church believers felt no compulsion to be bound by them.  In effect they stood on Proverbs 30:5-6.  They reverenced the Word of God enough that unless a truth was crystal clear, they would not pretend to speak authoritatively on an issue, for fear of being found “a liar”.

This is the reasoning behind the EFCC motto, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials charity, in all things Jesus Christ.”  We believe that the Word is clear on those issues linked to the gospel that define who we are in Christ.  Yet there are other issues that Christians who have held equally high views of Scripture have disagreed upon.  On such issues, we will not elevate our interpretation of the Word to the same level as Scripture itself.  We will allow brothers or sisters to disagree with us and we will still worship, fellowship and serve with them.  This leads us to “carefully handling” the Word of Truth: to avoid understating or overstating the certainty of His truth.  And we first allow it to change us.  Yes, we construct our theology from the Word, but the Word is first a “light to my feet and light to my path”.  It introduces me into relationship with its Author and shows me how to live wisely, conforming me to the image of His Son.  The Holy Spirit helps me understand the Word and changes me by it.  I then speak its truth to others but I have no mandate to use it as a tool with which to beat people.

When we use it to construct our theology we are careful to hold to the healthy “red-necked” scepticism of our Free Church forefathers.  We demand to know “Where Stands it Written?”  So, at times we do challenge tradition and accepted theologies – because of the Word.  We do re-evaluate things like who can serve the Lord’s Supper and where, whether it is just to own a slave, whether inter-racial marriage is right or wrong, whether selling indulgences is a legitimate practice, whether preferential purchased seating for the rich pleases God, and so on.  And above all we remember that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.  When we look at the Son we see the fullness of God and His Word.  May we be a people who are conformed to the image of His Son as we allow His Word to renew our minds!

Serving with you,

Bill Taylor

The Dark Side of Leadership

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If you are looking for ways to keep up with the climate of leadership in Canada, you may want to follow John Pellowe’s blog. John is CEO of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, who have granted us our new certified status. In his role, John gets to rub shoulders with a lot of leaders, so his perspective comes from experience. This post seems particularly important:

The Dark Side of Leadership

May we each be aware of our susceptibilities, and humbly and regularly submit them to God.

Humbled and Amazed! — Update

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The latest tally for World of Hope is $43,378 $46,603.79 $59,440.16!

For the kind of a year it’s been, this is a truly amazing number! And we fully expect that there are a few last-minute donation that haven’t been included in that number yet.

Additionally, the number of donors increased, to the tune of nearly well over 2.5 3 times the donors last year!

A big thank you goes out to all of you who have contributed your time, your energy and your attention to what God is doing around the world.

Your partnership is not only an essential part of our ministry, but you are a huge encouragement to all of our missionaries and leaders as well.

If you would still like to support the EFCCM’s World of Hope, the invitation is still wide open. Visit this post to find all the details you need.