Letter by letter the community at Hillside church in London, Ontario has their own take on what it means to be missional.
A is for adaptive change. A survey of 200 university students noted that “When I graduate I will probably have a job that does not exist today” in a world in which “I did not create the problems but they are my problems.” This is adaptive change, the awareness that the skills and habits and training of today are of little help in the world of tomorrow. The missional church wants to wrestle with this context of adaptive change.
B is for Biblical. The missional church is resourced by close attention to Scripture. A recurring Scripture is Luke 10:1-12. Jesus sends out unnamed disciples. Their task is to accept the hospitality of their culture by eating and drinking at the tables of local towns and villages. As they dwell deeply, the expectation is that they will catch sight of the unique fingerprints of God.
C is for context. It could also be culture or contextualization. All three “C” words remind us that Christian faith has always existed in a particular time and place. Hebrew is different from Greek, which was different from Latin, which was different from English. Which sounds different in the mouth of an Australian than in the mouth of a Canadian. And behind language lies values and behind values lies worldview. The missional church pays attention to this reality. It asks what the speaking of Christian faith will look like in our particular time and place.
There are some blanks in the list – at least as of January 18. What would you offer for “R?” How about relationships, founded in the eternal community of the Trinity — could even make the connection to missio Dei there.
Not directly related, but this video from SOMA in Tacoma, WA is a great summary of the difference in practice in a missional-incarnational expression of church vs the older, “come to us” approach: SOMA, Tacoma.