ISSUE 03 >>
a newfrontiers usa publication
the mission issue Living Sent >> Bo Noonan Knowing God’s Big Story Leads Us Into His Mission >> Sam Poe
SOUNDBITE • QUICK LOOK
MIKE LAWSON • APPS
JOHN LANFERMAN >> Team Leader >> Newfrontiers USA
ON MISSION TOGETHER “Now the Lord said to Abraham….I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3) Missiologists have referred to God’s promise to Abraham as one with a “top line”—I am going to bless you—and a “bottom line”—in order to make you a blessing. God has a great passion that lies behind His actions. His desire is to pass on that passion to His people. In Genesis, God gives us His plan and intention in order to include us in His desire and intention for humanity. God is missional, so therefore God’s family is to be a missional family. We walk together with Him by participating in what He is doing. As the Father is on a mission, so we, His children, are also on His mission. Jesus said, “My Father is at work” (John 5:17). Jesus was about discovering what Father was doing. The power behind our activity is in discovering what Father is doing and becoming involved in it.
I wonder if the greatest problem the church faces is not passivity or inaction, but rather activism without discovering what Father is doing. When this occurs we have no power behind our actions! Jesus modeled a life that followed the Father’s activity. “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing…” (John 5:19). Such actions have divine authority with them and will be effective.
Practical Applications Be Opportunistic: Living and Sharing the Gospel To be opportunistic is to be sensitive to discover where God is at work. God loves to show us what He is doing. We gain an increased level of faith when we know that what we are doing is in cooperation with Him. I, along with another young man, was getting ready to board a plane when we were selected for a major security search. The young man seemed troubled and I sensed that God had arranged this particular situation. When I boarded the aircraft I looked for him. I noticed him next to an open seat,
a. Real Time Connections by Bob Roberts, Jr.
b. Missional Church by Darrell L. Guder
As Father’s children, we need confident awareness that being on mission is not for a few specialists, but for all of us.
which I promptly occupied. After engaging him in conversation, I discovered that his brother had just died of HIV. He had been alone with him at the time and had not anticipated his brother’s sudden death. After the brief conversation I was able to share the gospel with him and pray with him to receive Jesus. Mission involves being opportunistic and sensitive to what Father is doing. As Father’s children, we need confident awareness that being on mission is not for a few specialists, but for all of us. Jesus told His followers that He would be with them to the end, and then sent His Holy Spirit to empower them for effective mission. Mission is the church’s number one job.
Become Culturally Aware Within the next forty years, one third of the US population will have Asian and Latin roots. Whether in our neighborhoods or in other nations, we need to understand the field in which we are working.
Pray Prayer is a very large part of God’s mission. Much of our prayer time should be formed around our desire to see God’s kingdom increase. As we pray we should ask for strategic ways in which we might engage people groups, neighborhoods and specific people with the gospel.
Team it Jesus sent out teams “two by two”. As individuals we tend to be aware of our own inadequacies, but we are exponentially empowered when we are engaged, together, in mission.
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Understand Missions Mission involves what we do as a community while walking out our life together. Mission is the extension of the love of God wherever and with whomever we may find ourselves. We must not think of missions as “foreign” and therefore value one people group over another. We can go across the street, across our city or across oceans to share the gospel of the kingdom. When we consider missions only in terms of going to another country, we miss the point of why mission exists.
Your vocation is your mission field. Our “sphere of influence” is our mission field. We have been strategically placed in order to be a catalyst for transformation. We must prayerfully consider how to be transformational in the workplace, for example, because it’s our mission field offering us unique opportunities that others do not possess. God’s promise to Abraham continues to be the call of Christ’s church. We have been blessed by God’s amazing grace in order that through us God’s gracious blessing might cause the families of the earth to be blessed.
BO NOONAN >> New Community Church >> Tacoma, WA
In the summer of 2006 Alexis and I moved 3,000 miles to Tacoma, WA. As we packed up our things and left friends and family, we felt sent. Jesus said that the Father sent Him and now He was sending us (John 20:21). Jesus commissioned us with all the authority of heaven and earth (Matthew 28). Five years later and with a church established, we feel more sent now than ever. I am convinced that the key to unlocking kingdom advancement and church growth is living ‘sent’. We often think of only overseas missionaries or church planters as being sent. This mindset has made kingdom advancement in our neighborhoods feel like we’re driving around with the emergency break on. One of the great lies that has stunted the church is that some are sent and some stay. The truth is that every person who has trusted their lives to Jesus is not only saved, but also sent. Once we understand that we are sent, it’s time for us to be intentional missionaries. Surprisingly, this is less complicated than it seems. In fact, it can be as simple as praying this simple prayer in every aspect of our lives: “Father, include me in what you’re doing here.”
Intentionally living ‘sent’ means being purposeful in our work, hobbies, recreation, and rest. Alexis and I, with our three boys, will oftentimes go for walks in our neighborhood with the intention of having family time, some rest, and hopefully encounter someone God has prepared beforehand for us to meet. As a full-time church leader I become envious of people who work with unbelievers for 40-60 hours a week. They are able to share life with unbelievers, to hear their joys and sorrows, to hear their passions and disappointments, and then are able to share their own stories. One may serve coworkers by getting them a cup of coffee, encouraging them in their daily tasks and even taking the opportunity to pray for them when they express hurt and dissatisfaction with their lives. These are some simple, yet powerful ways to be intentional about living sent in the workplace.
a. Transformation by Bob Roberts, Jr. b. The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll
c. The Essence of the Church by Craig Van Gelder
What are the greatest needs in our neighborhood? How can we meet these needs? How can we invite the unchurched in our neighborhood to help us meet these needs?
Who has shaped your life? The people mostly to blame are John Lanferman, Jim Schram, Sam Poe, and Terry Virgo.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? The reality is that we are not just residents of a neighborhood; we are sent to that neighborhood. We are not just employees of a company; we are sent to that company. We are not just students at school; we are sent to that school. So, where do we begin? In your small group, or with a group of people from your church that live in your neighborhood, begin to have this conversation: What are the greatest needs in our neighborhood? How can we meet these needs? How can we invite the unchurched in our neighborhood to help us meet these needs? It could be that a school needs help, a garden needs upkeep, the homeless need to be fed, etc. As we invite unbelievers to help, we will see God’s kingdom break into our neighborhoods in the form of justice and righteousness. We will also begin to see God’s kingdom break into hearts with salvation and joy.
Raccoon, brain tacos, or possibly a mayonnaise and green olive sandwich.
What is your current favorite album (CD)? Bryan Regan Live—everything he does is hilarious!
What do you do to relax? Woodworking… unless it’s hunting season, in which case I would be in the woods looking for venison jerky.
What do you feel most passionate about? Biblical theology—especially good exegesis and hermeneutics that bring the word of life and the kingdom of God into me as well as my current culture and setting… so an incarnational theology!
What sorts of books do you read? “Big Picture” of the gospel books are at the top of my favorites list. (Anything by Christopher J.H. Wright and more recently “The Insect and the Buffalo”.) I also find it hard to put down a good commentary! Yummy!
What do you expect to be doing in 10 years? Discipling, teaching, reading, NOT sitting still.
What’s your favorite quote? “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Douglas Adams
Who’s your favorite Bible character? Boaz (not including Jesus)
What is your leadership role in the church and Newfrontiers USA? I serve as an elder at Jubilee Church in St. Louis. For Newfrontiers USA, I currently oversee the finances and spend a majority of my time developing and implementing the Trilogy Online training program.
Bo is a featured blogger at: www.confluenceblog.com
SAM POE >> New Community Church >> Tacoma, WA
KNOWING GOD’S BIG STORY LEADS US INTO HIS MISSION My wife, Marlene, and I have had the privilege of being involved in various nations and cultures for the sake of the Gospel. We are often asked, “How can churches maintain a strong focus on reaching across cultural and racial boundaries in mission?” There is a lot that could be said on this subject, but I am convinced that a primary factor is that every person added to the church must see themselves as a functioning member of the family that God has chosen to bless all the nations. In order for this vision to live in our hearts we must know ‘God’s Big Salvation Story’ found in the Bible. From the first chapter of the story we hear how God created mankind in His own image. He called them, male and female, to fill the whole earth with people who would walk with Him, joyfully participate with Him in His kingdom and live for His glory. Next comes the story of mankind’s fall into sin while in the Garden of Eden. God announces that His plan for them will continue. Generations later, God chooses a man named Abraham and makes a covenant with him, promising that He and His offspring would be the people through whom God’s salvation blessing would flow out to all the nations upon the
earth. As the biblical story unfolds we see the amazing plan of God for His chosen people. We begin to realize that the biblical teaching of God’s election of people is inseparably connected to His plan to bless people from every tribe, language group and race around the world through them. As we come to the stories of Jesus in the New Testament it becomes radically clear that only in and through Him will God’s chosen people be enabled to carry out their missional purpose. The Apostle Paul states this reality in a few words in his letter to the church in Ephesus: “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both (Jews and Gentiles) one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that
a. Let the Nations be Glad by John Piper b. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker
c. The Mission of God by Christopher J. H. Wright
Paul understood that when churches are made up of people from various races and cultural backgrounds they are particularly glorifying to Jesus.
he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16) By going to the cross, Christ Jesus has broken down all hostility between Man and God, and Man and Man, regardless of the nation or race from which they come. Everyone who comes to faith in Jesus then becomes a part of this family which God has called to bless all the nations; this family is the church. Before knowing Jesus, Paul lived his life to promote division between his people, the Jews, and all other non-Jewish peoples. After meeting Jesus, he devoted himself to demolishing racial, cultural, and religious barriers by intentionally going to people of other nations and races in order to bring them the Good News of what Jesus has done. He declared that everyone who comes to Jesus, no matter which racial, cultural or religious background, is made a full-fledged part of God’s family. Paul understood that when churches are made up of people from various races and cultural backgrounds they are particularly glorifying to Jesus. The Apostle John received visions of the consummation of God’s Big Story. Read his words; “After this I looked, and be-
hold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”’ (Revelation 7:9-10) We want our churches to be a reflection of what we will experience in heaven: people from all nations, tribes and language groups delighting in God together forever. This was God’s plan from the beginning.
APPS JUBILEE CHURCH
ST. LOUIS, MO
MEGAN CASE ap·pli·ca·tion
noun \ a-ple-ka-shen\ an act of applying; an act of putting to a special use or purpose
Healthy cross-cultural friendships don’t come easy, but their lasting effect penetrates the nations with the gospel. Here is a “Top 5 Checklist” to help build lasting friendships with people of all nations:
TOP 5 LIST: FRIENDSHIPS ACROSS CULTURES 5. WITHHOLD JUDGMENT Keep a learning posture and ask yourself, “Is this personal or a Biblical mandate?” 4. ASK AN INSIDER Do your research. If you aren’t sure about a particular value, ask a cultural insider for help. 3. ASSUME THE BEST Humans attach value to the most unusual things. When you find yourself in conflict, remember that no matter which culture you come from, you will think your own is best. Allow God to open your eyes to reveal the other person’s point of view. 2. EMBRACE THE AWKWARDNESS Entering into new situations tends to make one feel awkward. Embrace it! The more you enter in, the deeper you go in friendship.
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1. TRUST THE HOLY SPIRIT In His infinite wisdom, God gave us the Holy Spirit. Only through Him can we develop authentic relationship with people who are different from us.
Are you looking for opportunities to train for cross-cultural ministry?
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