MISSIONAL? – Back to the beginning …

I got an email yesterday that asked me about BLC, as well as some questions on our practices and distinctives. It’s funny, with the “Lutheran” bit tagged on to us that’s an immediate interest in what that means. I admit I appreciate my Lutheran heritage much more nowadays. But, the starting of BLC and I believe the Biblical & theological vision that caught me was based on some pretty deep stuff in a book called “Missional Church” . The funny part was it was based on some serious heavy weight more related to the North American Context. But, there was a lot of resonance on this side of the earth in Malaysia. And when the key verse John 20:21 hit me hard … the rest is still a tough, hard, often uphill history in the making.

The word we use in BLC’s Vision Statement is “Missional Church” & “missional communities”. The BLC Mission statement is also connected to this center. A more theological term would be “missional ecclesiology”. I found a pretty good summary online.

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missional ecclesiology is grounded in the central theme in Jesus’ message — the Reign of God. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom; all else in his message and ministry demonstrated life inside that Kingdom.

– When he healed the sick, it was to demonstrate that inside the Kingdom there is no more illness.
– When he opened the eyes of the blind, it was to demonstrate that inside the Kingdom everyone can see.
– When he pronounced forgiveness of sins, it was to demonstrate that inside the Kingdom sin and death have no hold upon us.
– When he welcomed the outcasts, it was to demonstrate that inside the Kingdom everyone has a place.

Not only Jesus’ mission, but that of his disciples was centered around the Kingdom. Jesus invited people to “receive and enter” the Kingdom; to live inside the household of God.

In light of Jesus’ own teaching, the church must always seek its definition with the reign of God in Christ as its crucial reference point.

– The church is not to be equated with the reign of God, but it is to be a sign that points away from itself to the Kingdom.

– It is to be a foretaste of the kingdom as it manifests, exhibits, and demonstrates the coming reign of God in the quality of its common life and shared ministry.

– It is to be an instrument of the reign of God through its deeds of self-giving service, through the way it presents an alternative identity and vision to the world, and through the ways it seeks freedom, peace, and unity for the whole creation.
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