Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Church and the Mission

Brad Abare has a great post over on Church Marketing Sucks titled "Another Word for 'Church?'" which is short, to the point and well worth reading.

Essentially, there's a bunch of people meeting, living and serving together in Hawaii who've banded together under the name "Bluewater Mission."

Not "Bluewater Church."

I think this is fabulous. Brilliant even.

"Church" is a great word to describe all those past, present and future who gather/exist to serve in the way of Jesus, but we also use the word to refer to the physical spaces in which we gather (our buildings); so much so that for many it is years before they realize the Church is something they essentially are, and not merely something they do or attend.

Furthermore, in an age of bickering and arguments about what differentiates one group of people from another, the word "church" is often used to highlight these divisions, when it could instead be used to push them aside in light of the amazing amount of common belief/practice (Jesus, Love) that binds us together.

And this is where I think referring to local communities of Christians as a "Mission" could be very helpful.

It situates us within the context of something bigger than ourselves (God's mission) and constantly reminds us that as the Church we are "on a mission:" to love and serve and worship the One who is in the business of making things new.

Try it out....The Hillside Mission....The Lambrick Park Mission....The (Your Neighourhood) Mission....


p.s. Yes, I know the term "Mission" stems from the Missionary Movement and that the geographic outposts from which Missionaries carried out "their mission" were often referred to as "the mission" itself. That's just how the pendulum seems to swing; I've no doubt I'll have to re-write this post in reverse within the next half century should the move to "mission" become a larger trend.

The trick is to find out what is useful here and now and pertinent to your own community's context


DP said...

A noble idea. The question remains do we become more missional in our "churching" by changing the name? If the way we live, act and serve doesn't change.... what's the point?

I don't know how much sense that makes. It's 1 in the morning!

James Kingsley said...

dude - i couldn't agree more about the danger of letting semantic zeal get in the way of actually seeking to live a life defined by love, love, and more love.

what i am interested in though is how words can change our understanding of who and what we are.

Could a semantic somersault that defines us by what we (ought to) do be the first step in a self-fulfilling prophecy?