Essential Components of a Missionary Community

Here’s a dot point summary of a talk I did over the weekend for anyone who is interested. It is a simple reflection on the desires, knowledge and actions that a missionary community requires.

I’d be interested in your reflections and what you would add to the lists.

Missionary Desires rush hour 3 dvdrip

1. For people to know Jesus and experience his salvation in its fullness – kinda obvious?…

2. For the kingdom of God to take root in an area – to seek the welfare of the city as Jeremiah 29 puts it.

3. For people’s dignity to be upheld in the middle of the process – we are not conquerors and colonisers.

Missionary Knowledge

You need to help people learn these things

1. ‘Sentness’ is everything – we are sent by God, so we go where he leads and we stay till he says ‘move’. No exceptions.

2. Orientation is everything – outward and downward (missional incarnational) rather than inward and extractional.

3. Initiative is everything – no one is going to walk across the road to your house and ask you to tell them about Jesus. Its pretty obvious…

4. Context is everything – the way mission happens in Hobart will be very different to the way it happens in Brighton or even across town. We must pay attention to the communities we live in.

5. Our own authentic connection to Jesus is everything – otherwise it will be dry labour and lack integrity. Too much missionary endeavour is done because we ‘have to’.

6. Everything is everything – we will function in accordance with the degree to which these things are present in us.

What Missionaries do

Knowledge is useless if we don’t act on it

1. Discover & learn about a context – we must exegete our culture as well as our Bibles. Hang out – listen – tune in – ask questions

2. Create space in life – busyness is the death of mission. Miss this and we miss the point.

3. Indigenize ecclesiology rather than importing & franchising – think for yourself and let church flow from mission. We are not in the franchise business.

4. Theologise carefully – Hold core stuff tightly and non core loosely and are able to tell the difference between the two. Don’t be shy to take risks. You can always come back from the edge if you fall off.

5. A missionary community demonstrates an alternative way to live. Its the ‘Upstream’ concept we speak of.

6. Work patiently and trust God – God makes things grow

More ‘non-rocket-science’ stuff, but still enough to keep us going for a lifetime…

9 thoughts on “Essential Components of a Missionary Community

  1. Great stuff Hamo. Probably the only thing I would add is under the “do” entry.

    6. In all things seek the empowering of the Spirit that God would confirm the proclamation of his Kingdom with signs and wonders.

  2. It comes from my background, but I would also add translate the Gospel into the language and culture you are in. A number of your points are heading in that direction, but I think we need to be overt in the way we seek to express the message of the Gospel in new linguistic and cultural contexts.

  3. Hmm.. interesting guys.

    Andrew I have thought much about this one and I am not convinced. I would very much like it to be so! But I am yet to see it around the place. Maybe its my own bent that snuffs it out, but I am not so sure Acts is ‘prescriptive’. Tell me more about what you see here.

    Eddie – yes – i hope the ‘contextualisation’ notes refer to what you suggest.

  4. Actually I noted another down myself today under ‘doing’.

    ‘A missionary community demonstrates an alternative way to live’

    Its the ‘Upstream’ concept we speak of.

  5. You are quite right – it’s so simple, yet I could focus on just this stuff for the rest of my life, and probably never get it all.

    I agree with Andrew and Eddie, but some thoughts came to me regarding Andrew’s comment, and your reply.

    I would say it’s not about Acts, but more about things like Jesus saying, “These signs will follow those who believe.” and Paul’s statement about not coming with wise and persuasive words, but in the Spirit’s power. It’s not so much about pursuing the signs and wonders, but allowing God to use the signs and wonders through us to validate our message. Of course, the most amazing wonder would be changed lives (ours and other’s), but that doesn’t take away from the potential need for other, more “obvious” ones. From what I see in Acts, it’s not about the need for them everywhere, but, as you’ve implied here, the need for them where the culture would need it. God didn’t use signs and wonders through Paul on Mars Hill, but he did on Malta. Those are some thoughts on Andrew’s comment. So it comes back to number 4 under knowledge, and number 3 under “do”.

  6. Thanks Paul, my thoughts exactly. It’s not just about Acts but also about the way Jesus did mission and prescribed others to do it and some of the stuff Paul said in the Epistles. Plus, lately I have been reading more about what God is doing overseas, particularly in Africa and this stuff is rocking my world.

    Hamo, you wrote “But I am yet to see it around the place.” I wonder whether maybe we are looking in the wrong place.

    If you are interested, you may like to check out a recent sermon on some of these issues by a Lutheran pastor in Toowoomba I really respect.



  7. Some great thoughts. I would like something there about following the direction of the Holy Spirit. Too often we have mission statements, structural patterns, even evangelistic models, and there is little room left for the Spirit to move us in ways that we are not expecting. The Spirit does work through these things, but let’s not restrict him.

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