Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church can Become a Missionary in Your Community

Just finished Breaking the Missional Code for school. I love books by Ed Stetzer & David Putnam, it is ridiculous how much this guy knows and the way he is able to write it out. This book was no exception, way better than I could have expected. This book tracks how to make your church missional, how do you get the heart of God and bring it into your church. I think this was my favorite book that I read for class.

One of the biggest things that grabbed my attention was “The least missional thing we can do is do something that is our preference.” With some of the things I am going through in my leadership right now and the things I am learning about being a lead pastor, this grabbed me and has haunted my thinking for several days now. I am asking myself, “Am I doing anything that is a preference? Is Beginnings doing anything out of preference instead of reaching our target, who God has called us to reach?” Our target is that 18 – 30’s crowd. That means we do certain things that will grab them and speak to them. That means, as our church and leadership gets older, we will have to take one for the kingdom to reach the next generation. It is easy now because most people in our church are in that demographic, but what happens when we aren’t? This question is haunting me.

He then asks, “Are you willing to die to your preferences so the people in your community can be reached with the gospel? Is your church willing to move out of its Christian subculture and relate to its community? Is it possible that you and your church are missing out on some of the blessings of the gospel because you have been unwilling to die to yourself and your preferences?”

As I said, this is a great book, here are a few (hundred) things that jumped out to me. I feel like I highlighted the whole book:

  • Our churches need to decide whether they will be outposts of modernity in a new age or embrace the challenge of breaking a new cultural code.
  • God’s kingdom is not best represented by franchises of McChurch. If you focus your energies on copying someone else’s methodologies or programs, you will miss something crucially important…The Holy Spirit is empowering transformational leaders who demonstrate the kingdom of God in unique ways in each different community.
  • Missions makes this point:  it is not about us and our preferences. It is about his mission and the fact that he sends us. We want to practice our preferences. We want things to be the way we like them. But God wants us to be on mission with him, to be sent to some group of people somewhere, and to minister in a way that meets their needs, not promotes our preferences.
  • Characteristics of a missional church:  members as missionaries, missional living, people empowerment, personal mission, transforming community, releasing, church planting multiplication, mosaic, theocentric, and missio dei.
  • Rather than providing methods to grow a church, missional thinking helps the church leader to wrestle through who God has called him or her to reach. Missional leaders bring the gospel into a context by asking, “What cultural containers – church, worship style, small group ministry, evangelism methods and approaches, discipleship processes, etc., – will be most effective in this context?”
  • Christology (our understanding of Christ) should shape our missiology (our understanding of mission) and should shape our ecclesiology (our expression of church).
  • The isn’t interested in Christianity because Christians aren’t known as people who live what we say.
  • You cannot have it both ways – either the lost like you or the satisfied religious crowd likes you.
  • People must be able to say, ‘God speaks my language.’ In the churches where that occurs, growth may often by fast and sure.
  • Preaching in the emerging church:  The sermon is one part of the experience of the worship gathering, the preacher teaches how the ancient wisdom of Scripture applies to kingdom living as a disciple of Jesus, emphasizes the explanation and experience of who truth is, the starting point is the Garden of Eden and the retelling of the story of creation and the origins of man and sin, biblical terms like gospel and Armageddon need to be explained anew, the Scripture message is communicated through a mix of words, visuals, art, silence, testimony, and story, preaching in a worship gathering is a motivator to encourage people to learn from Scriptures throughout the week, and a lot of preaching takes place outside the church building in the context of community and relationships.
  • Code – breaking leaders…ask the right questions of the right people, understand that the future is already happening, learn their way forward, are willing to pay the price, build great teams, have a different beginning point, connect the dots, are constantly working on it and not simply in it, & are interested in kingdom growth.
  • Something has to be different today to see different results tomorrow.
  • A biblical church is a contextual church.
  • One can expect to be called to the hard places to serve. The easy places are filled with people who are not willing to break the code or implement the code that has already been broken.

The other thing that is exciting about this book, I am done with my reading for my first doctoral class. Awesome. Now all I have left is my paper. Gulp.

One thought on “Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church can Become a Missionary in Your Community

  1. Great highlights from Stetzer’s book. I especially like bullet six about Christology determining Missiology determining Ecclesiology. The first time I really heard someone speak in these terms was Frost/Hirsch in Shaping of Things to Come – most important stuff! I also like Guder’s language in Missional Church when he speaks of starting with the theology of the Triune nature of God and that leading us to a missional ecclesiology.

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