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June 25, 2008


Wes Roberts

...good works

...stimulating thought

...keep the post

...and go get 'em!!!

Wes Roberts

...I meant good words

... :-)

Trevor Lee

First, nice pic at the top, being a dad is awesome! I want to comment on one part of your post.

"And it’s not the “go”-ing that concerns me, it’s the making of disciples where I believe we fall quite short. I personally feel the “go”-ing has become quite the sexy way of being christian. It’s cool now to sit in the pub and share a beer with our pagan friends and toss around the missional word in our churches without really following through on Jesus’ main concern… the making of disciples."

I wholeheartedly agree that discipleship is where we fall short. We've been trained to believe that "losing" people is the worst thing that can happen so we make everything as easy and comfortable as possible. But this has the disasterous effect of making disciples who don't look much like Christ at all. Part of the reason we're pursuing an organic/missional church is that I think it provides the best potential for raising the bar on discipleship.

My other thought is that I haven't seen that it is cool now to sit and have a beer with a pagan friend. I wonder if this is a difference between the West and the Midwest or if the longer we're involved in missional ways of living (where this is encouraged and perhaps cool) the more it seems acceptable. I still see most Christians who aren't aware they are sent and even if they are, they aren't too excited about it.

Great stuff Ryan!

+ Alan

Good words Ryan. Congratulations on the baby Josiah by the way! This whole "missional" thing, as much as I'm keeping up with it, seems to be becoming a bandwagon of sorts for people to jump onto. As the "emerging" bandwagon isn't as sexy as it used to be, a new one is coming around - MISSIONAL! Awesome! And that's not that helpful I don't think. As much as it is being used of viewed like that, it will also fade away.

I like your connection there to the general Misseo Dei - God's Mission to us, to the whole world. Seems to me that's just it. It doesn't have to be given a special name, it just is a part of our nature if we are a part of His Nature. Now, we more or less participate in it, just like anything else. A problem is (maybe) that we aren't seeing this mission as being toward us - but toward someone else and us being the givers of it. That'll flat short-circuit things right there.

The mission of God IS our full and complete transformation into our good old Human selves again. And as we are so transformed, we can and will be a part of the transformation of others. But it continues to be aimed at us as well, ourselves, not just some poor, dirty guy on the corner - poor thing. We're poor, dirty folks in our own right as well.

Maybe I'm saying, partly, that this is all just regular Christian life stuff. It's about being formed into His Image and participating in the formation of others as well. That's it. That's always been going on in the Church in some way or another. OK, that's enough from me. Peace to you and your family.

Ryan Taylor

In response to TL, I suppose if I rewrote it I'd talk more about the idea of balance emphasizing the importance of not leaving either the going or disciple making behind. I guess I had my circle in mind when it comes to the lack of intentional discipleship happening. I agree with you, in general, mid-west does feel much more like old christendom than the west which makes it more difficult for church goers to leave their safety zones.
In response to Kentucky Al, Yes, it is just regular Christian life stuff especially to monks like you. At the same time whether I conveyed it here or not, I'm in agreement with Hirsch, that in general, westerners do need to re-boot their sense of calling and mission in the world. And to emphasize this ain't christendom no more around here.
Thanks for commenting dudes. Love you both!

Doug Nolte

"missional is taking on a missionary posture living incarnationally in our unique contexts."

I think that in the Mid-west there is a thirst for discipleship. We have more preachers than pastors. . . we hear from the pulpit what we do wrong in Gods eyes, rather than how much God desires us. . . sinners from birth. I am a stunted Christian that is just learning to grasp the concept of Grace. That is what the buckle of the Bible belt will do to you!

The mission field is very fertile for discipleship here. I imagine that sitting in a pub in Denver Colorado looks much different than sitting in a bar in a small farm community in Kansas.

You will definitely be missional to those in the bar in Kansas, but you might be stoned by the local "Pharisee branch" waiting to "witness" to you just outside.

I guess what I am saying is that the "unique context" of our landscape is so important to consider. What works in Denver may not work in Wichita. . . how we work within our circle of influence is so important.

How do I work within my community of agriculture and manufacturing, those that have grown up in the church, jaded by the church and given up on the church? Seems so many of our talented young leaders seem to drift to the "sexier" cities. . .

. . . come to Kansas, you'll be blown away!


Ryan Taylor

Doug, thanks for the comments and kudos for you for sticking it out in Kansas. Are you pastoring there?
I agree there are some vast contextual differences between America's city centers and the more rural environments. This is something I'd like to see blogged about more. I once heard Tim Kellar speak on this and say that LA or New York in terms of philosophy and attitude was more like Hong Kong than say rural Kansas or Indiana.
But being from rural Indiana I'm still struck at the differences in posture and attitude between Denver and back were I grew up.

Doug Nolte

No, I don't pastor a church. . . I am a cop! Go figure. . .

Also, I hope my comments were not taken negative. . .that wasn't my intent at all. I am learning that there is a different way to do community in today's church.

I was a product of a conservative christian church. I don't throw the baby out with the bath water, lots of talk about sin allowed me to address my need for a savior, but a little light on grace, and thus when someone sinned, it was how bad and as wrong as it is, the attitude was "at least I didn't do that." Yikes. .. .

So, in my typical fashion, I learned about grace from the school of hard knocks. . .I believe it was Paul that told us that the more sin, the more grace. . . yeah. . . it really is true! I became a regular to your blog after reading the walking wounded post. . . you nailed it on the head.

I think that people need Christ in such a significant way but many of us are bogged down with the rules, we forget that there really are only two. Love God first and love others next. . .

Ryan Taylor

Appreciate your comments Doug and no the comments were not taken negatively.
I appreciate your comments about not throwing the baby out because I've found that if your like those of us who were raised in borderline fundamentilist environments, it's easy to allow yourself to swing to the extreme other direction and test just how much we can get by with in God's grace. Thats a relevant tension for me at times.
It's been interesting that the older I get, the more I feel like the Kingdom is not about behavior. Righteous living is supposed to be a fruit of following Jesus but not the point in and of itself.
Any chance you might come out the Tangible Kingdom conference in October?

A Twitter User

I wanted to come to the conference, but I will be at a Wild at Heart Boot Camp. . .

I am really intrigued and interested in how I can be encouraging this kind of atmosphere among our groups.

Reading the Intangible Kingdom, I found myself chuckling at how churches are using small groups to engage people. However, we typically find those that are most like us. So, we become just a mini click. . .not allowing anyone else in.

The more I go towards Jesus, the more convinced I am that the people he hung out with were the most unique, unlikely group. Rich, poor, black and white. . . .if they would follow, he would lead.

I like what you say about behavior. If we focus on behavior we lose what Christ did on the cross. It also sets us up to be our own god. I was recently asked, "is sin(behavior) something we do or something we are? I quickly affirmed "what we do. . ." but in and of myself I am a sinner, I will continunally sin. I can't change that behavior by myself. I am only able to by the grace of God. So, my behavior will always be suspect. But, my Savior covered my sins on the cross.

Richie "Rich" Merritt

Great Post Ryan!

I am a future church planter, and our goal is discipleship from day 1 - it will be in our DNA. Mission Statement - "Tranformed People, Transforming the World". Folks become transformed via discipleship and via doing. Balance is the key. I have ordered all of Bill Hull's books on discipleship; can you offer any other ideas?

By the way, I ran across your blog via the Missio website. I'll keep checkin on ya! Thanks for the insight!

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Words make Worlds...

  • "It becomes so clear to me as I grow older that people who change, and keep changing, are the only people who grow up." -Richard Rohr
  • “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." -John Wooden
  • "Receptivity without confrontation leads to a bland neutrality that serves nobody. Confrontation without receptivity leads to an oppressive aggression which hurts everybody." - Henri Nouwen
  • "Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of spirituality begins where we are now in the mess of our lives." -Mike Yaconelli
  • "But that doesn’t mean community is easy. For everything in this world tries to pull us away from community, pushes us to choose ourselves over others, to choose independence over interdependence, to choose great things over small things, to choose going fast alone over going far together." -Shane Claiborne
  • "Nothing that we despise in the other man is entirely absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don’t do, and more in light of what they suffer." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create." Albert Einstein
  • "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Howard Thurman
  • "A nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -Dr. Martin Luther King
  • "Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful--- Christian community is the final apologetic." -Francis Schaefer
  • "It is not allowable to love the Creation according to the purposes one has for it, any more than it is allowable to love one’s neighbor in order to borrow his tools." Wendell Berry
  • "All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than the particular country in which he was born." -Francois Fenelon
  • "Ministry cannot be about maintenance, but it is about gathering, about embrace, about welcoming home all sorts of and conditions of people; home is a place for mother tongue, of basic soul food, of old stories told and treasured, of being at ease, known by name, belonging without qualifying for membership." -Walter Brueggemann
  • "Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get round to being the particular poet or particular monk that they are intended to be by God." "In order to become myself I must cease to be what I always thought I wanted to be." -Thomas Merton
  • "God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and God's been speaking through them ever since. So, if God chooses to speak through you don't think to highly of yourself." -Rich Mullins
  • "We must become holy not because we want to feel holy but because Christ must be able to live his life fully in us." Mother Teresa
  • "I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self." Henri Nouwen


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