Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Incarnating" the Gospel Message

In his book, The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch lays out a way of thinking about missions that is truly explosive. He writes,
"The church, when true to its real calling, is by far and away the most potent force for transformational change the world has ever seen. It has been before, is that now, and will be that again. This book is written in the hope that the church in the West can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, arouse and reengage that amazing power that lies within us."

He goes on to articulate an approach to Kingdom expansion that is theologically solid and contextually effective. In other words, this is a way of doing missions that holds onto everything essential in scripture while exploring ways of reaching people that are innovative and appropriate for the culture in which they live. It's one of the reasons I felt drawn toward Christian Associates.

Today I had the amazing privilege of calling a family to give them the final word that they are approved to move overseas to join a church planting team. No surprise, this first personnel decision was an exception to the policy manual (those of you who know me well understand how much it blesses me to paint outside the lines!). In spite of the fact that they haven't raised all of their support, they have the unusual asset of E.U. membership - allowing them to seek employment as bi-vocational missionaries. This may very well be the future of effective missionary funding.

But more than a mere financial decision, they will be able to engage their new culture incarnationally - taking the Message into the neighborhood in person. She will seek employment as a teacher, opening doors to bless and minister to countless families. He will land a job as a salon stylist in a strategic location, right in the shadow of Parliament. We can't begin to imagine the conversations he will have with numerous "captive audiences" who sit in the chair!

About this incarnational approach, Hirsch writes:
In this way mission becomes something that "fits" seamlessly into the ordinary rhythms of life, friendships, and community and is thus thoroughly contextualized.

I can't wait to see the dynamic/explosive potential of this innovative and tactile approach to sending. Think about that the next time you're sitting in the chair to get your hair cut...

For more information about the church planting team this family will join, go to The Well website.

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