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Friday, July 20, 2007

worship or mission?

Michael Frost, on the PGF blog - "What is the missional Church?"

For me the phrase refers to those churches for whom mission has become the organizing principle of all they do and are. ... Rather than seeing mission as one of the functions of the church, missional church people see it as its central and organizing purpose. For example, rather than seeing worship as central (as most conventional churches do), there is a growing movement of us who believe that worship is richer when organized around mission. We believe we do fellowship better when organized around mission. Likewise with discipleship, teaching, the exercise of the gifts etc.

And what is mission? It is the outward impulse of God’s people...the overarching ‘sentness’ of God’s people, as they infiltrate all of society and stake a claim for the unending rule of Jesus in every sphere of life. ... Mission is the spark, the catalysing energy, that makes sense of everything the church was intended to be.

Someone once challenged me that in the world to come there’ll be no mission, only worship. I couldn’t disagree more. In the world to come we will still be charged with the task of declaring Jesus’ rule over all of life. Sure, we won’t be feeding the poor or planting churches. Those missional activities will cease when every knee bows, every tongue confesses, and every tear is wiped away. But I’m looking forward to the unhindered mission of the new age, not to an eternal worship service.

Robert, in reply...

I am all about the missional Church... that's the purpose of my blog, after all. But the last paragraph stopped me in my tracks. I believe we have lost the 'sentness' and mission of the church, and the "missional church movement" is a needed corrective. I also recognize that sometimes a case needs to be overstated for folks to be pulled to a point of health and balance (somewhere short of that overstated case). So, I'll cut Michael Frost a break.

But, I firmly believe that worship is our eternal (and present) joy. Not the 11:00 worship service, but worship in the biblical sense... a life of love, service, obedience, prostration, adoration, and yes, MISSION. And for those not looking forward to an eternal worship service, I think the problem is a conception of a "worship service" based on our puny earthly understanding of worship.

So, I had been thinking of this for a while, but I'm going to draw in worship as a theological (and teleological!) theme into this blog and explore some of the dynamic between worship and mission.

So, look for more to come...

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