Forge Mission Training Network is about training people differently for mission. A people movement for incarnational thinking.
Starts with the assumption that God has given us the answers we need. They are in us, if we reach deep.
We are inoculated in this culture. Lots of anti-bodies against the church keeping people from Jesus.
Someone said to him, ‘We can’t all be innovators!” Answer? You could be very innovative IF your life depended on it.
So think like a beginner, not an expert. We rise to the level of our incompetence (Peter principle). When you go out on a limb, you make a faith of leap.
You must have practitioners teach, because you cannot teach what you do not know, you cannot lead where you will not go. Don’t learn divorced from the context of their lives. Don’t extract people to teach, teach them where they are. (By the way this is why New Wine Training is fantastic!)
There is an accelerated decentralising of the church away from Christendom that has been happening. The church is no longer at the centre, so we have to think like missionaries again. And where you stand determines what you see. If you look at the edges and margins, that’s where we’re we are best anyway.
There are various cultural barriers to communicate the gospel, eg -
- Language – complex
- World view
The culture has shifted on us, we’re living in a melting pot of culturally very distant and with varied barriers. We tend to want to reach to those nearest. But right in your back yard are people with significant sets of barriers. How do we get over or through them?
Attraction is fine for churches, unless in a missionary environment you are extracting them from their setting, which is there sphere of effectiveness.
Remember – We are the sent ones! When we’re asking THEM to come, we’re asking THEM to do the mission work. Coming to church is as strange for them as for you to turn up at a mosque.
So how do we become incarnational missionaries in the West?
The gospel travelled like a virus Jesus sneezed;
Missio = sent.
apostle = sent.
Why do we prefer Latin to Greek?
Missiology is to do with the doctrine of God, not the doctrine of the church.
It’s not that the church has a mission, but that the mission has a church.
God is a sending God! The Father sends the Son. The Spirit is a missionary spirit – and we’re sent too. Sentness authenticates us. We are a message tribe!
Read Galatians missiologically. Peter is hanging out with Gentiles and eating pig, having had the revelation of the pigs in a blanket. Pressure is put on him by the Judaizers. These guys need to be circumcised. And Paul has a fit – because he says no, they don’t have to take on a Jewish form, in a Galatian context. They need the gospel in the Galatian setting. This is all to do with incarnation.
God came among us, was in the neighbourhood for 30 years and nobody even noticed – what does that say about God? We’ve just made the incarnation about the baby. We’ve made it just about Christmas. But this is so subversive – he’s just THERE, without a cosmic light show to stun is into believing. Nobody saw it or got it. Why would you want to put formal Anglican churches in Africa, when they hardly even work here any more? Why put all that on them? Hot robes in boiling places?! What do we really need to put across and what do we need to levae behind to become missional and incarnational.
JESUS IS LORD – is simple enough a creed to help us discern what is right and true and protects us from syncretism.
He said ‘AS the Father sent me, so I send you.’
How was Jesus sent?
DOWN and DEEP. That’s how movements spread.
Fall in love with your city. Date it! That’s where incarnation starts, when we say, ‘You will be MY people.’ Moves us into the neighbourhood.
And you ADAPT there. If you take a highly standardised model, you’re self-limiting.
We are perfectly designed to achieve what we’re currently achieving.
If you’re declining it’s because you’re designed that way.
Pastoral organisations resist mission.
Britain is very multicultural. But we’re not reaching into and across the cultures. And we have to change our imaginations first.
How to engage in incarnational mission?
PRESENCE – In Jesus God was FULLY present and identified with us.
PROXIMITY – He goes right were people are. Weddings, temple.
POWERLESSNESS (Humility) learn from the people. They have much to teach you.
PREVENIENCE Full of Grace – and Truth – note the order…
PATHOS – Incarnation of the heart. Just take their issues on you. Allow yourself to love who you are with.
PROCLAMATION – which the other Ps allow you to be able to speak into their lives. Don’t miss this one!
Proximity – go where the people are. First place is your home. Use it! Second place = your work. You spend a lot of life there. The third places, social spaces – your preferential place to hang out and gather.
Where is the church?
Your church becomes YOUR third place long enough, you stop connecting outside of it.
Prevenience – God has gone before. Preparatory Grace. Wesley had this as a cornerstone of his ministry. cf Convene – bring together. God is at work in every person, calling them to himself in Jesus Christ. all people have religious experiences, they just don’t know what to do with them. They are not Christophanies for them.
Priestly Service – Is our job to tell people how to behave? (He worked with a lot of people with various sexual issues and it was messing him up).
God said, ‘Well what do priests do?’ They act as mediators.
We introduce one person, to another (Jesus) – and then get out of the way. Guess what – you’ll find he’s better at changing people than you are.