At various times in history Christian mission has tended to clone what has gone before, with little attention being paid to the context. One example might be the way in which, with the best intent, some 18th and 19th missionaries simply took the model of an English parish church and [literally] rebuilt that church and way of life around the British empire.
But the Gospel - the good news of Jesus - is a story of incarnation, of ‘God with us’ where we are, as we are, coming into our experience of the world. Christ’s coming gives dignity and attention to human culture.
So, whilst holding key elements in common - such as the new beginning of baptism, communal life nourished in the Jesus meal, love of the scriptures, and Jesus's practises of prayer and action - we should expect the life of Christ-following communities to reflect something of the brilliant diversity of human culture.
One of the most compelling possibilities for small missional communities is that they can reflect their context, celebrate their setting and energise their local culture. A truly authentic communal following of Christ will be shaped by and shaped for our setting.
There’s lots of ways into this, but here’s 2 opening questions that may help us to find a way in where we are:
What are some of the elements that make this community/neighbourhood/network distinctive? And if Jesus was one of us in this place, where would he be, what might he be doing?
[Look out for the next posting coming up in this series: small is good]
Peace to you
Friday, September 11, 2009
ways into small missional community  being shaped by our setting
Here's the next in the series of postings I'm doing on ways into small missional communities: