I’ve moved my family all the way around the world to try to develop a model of church that frees every one of it’s members into mission.
I’m still processing a book I’ve just read called Imagining the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith. It is challenging.
Smith starts by pulling apart any notion I might have had that my teaching was going to produce the outcome I am hoping for. He writes:
We don’t think our way through to action; much of our action is not the outcome of rational deliberation and conscious choice.Much of our action is not “pushed” by ideas or conclusions; rather, it grows out of our character and is in a sense “pulled” out of us by our attraction to a telos.
That word telos is one that he uses regularly and its one that I am seeing more and more clearly is actually the central question of what it means to move a church into mission.
Telos is the word where we get “telescope” from and it means “the long view”, the “purpose” or the “end” to which we are working. Smith’s central assertion is one that I am increasingly coming to see the truth of… There are lots of systems out there that define purpose for us, and the central question for me to move a church into mission isn’t the mission, or the “means” but the “end”.
People (including me) need a very tangible picture of what the Kingdom of God is, and that picture needs to be more attractive than the other pictures that the world invites them to work towards (primarily money, sex or power).
No matter how much we dress it up, the world’s agenda is re-enforced everywhere we look, and the real reason the church isn’t moving into mission is that most of us are working towards financial security, relationships or influence rather than the Kingdom of God.