As I’ve become more familiar with CA’s “Kingdom Seeking” value and the practices we embrace, I’ve come to realize that we are wrestling to implement a paradigm of church that makes every Christ-follower in a church a “missionary” whose unique gifting is fully engaged in God’s mission. (Granted, “missional activist” may be a better term than “missionary,” given all of the potential historical weirdness associated with the term.)
In the corporate world, business leaders are realizing that people are most productive when their gifting and talents are engaged. Popular business books like “Drive” have documented the research and contributed to corporate trends like “Results Oriented Work Environments” and so on. Of course, this flies in the face of the image of “work” in popular culture. It really isn’t just a necessary evil, it’s something that we have an innate need for! We really do need to engage our gifts, talents, our volition in work that is meaningful.
Similarly, the Church is meant to engage the gifting of Christ-follwers in the mission of God. Church is not merely a shopfront for “religious goods and services” meant to address the finicky desires of religious consumers. While it absolutely should nurture the faith of Christ-followers through scripture for the sake of our personal transformation, it is also meant to nurture our faith for the sake of a lost and broken world.
That may mean giving us a bigger vision for being on mission at work, but it could also mean providing opportunities to serve in the community outside our 40 hour work week and equipping us for Kingdom influence in the communities and neighborhoods we are embedded in.
When this happens in really healthy ways within churches. When followers of Jesus are envisioned and equipped for Kingdom influence where they live and work. When a church’s success defined by seating capacity is flipped on it’s head and measured instead by it’s sending capacity. When God’s people have a full appreciation of the Good News of Jesus that is meant to make us subjects of transformation and agents of transformation.
The missionary nature of the Church’s calling is being fully realized.