Today is my first chance to lecture in a classroom setting. As I have been preparing over the last couple weeks, I have found that I will never get it the way I want it. I have been writing and rewriting parts of it for the last three days and am not really sure that I’ve got it right. I am not really nervous about doing it, which is somewhat of a surprise for me. I am usually terrified to preach in front of people; I figured teaching would give me the same feeling.
The lecture is on community formation and mission, two things that tend to get split up in the church. The mission boards and spiritual life committees rarely dream of working together or being the same group of people, yet I think not doing it this way is a disservice to the church. Discipleship and mission both inform one another and are interrelated.
We must always keep in mind is that the mission of the church is intricately tied to the formation of disciples. The kinds of disciples you have will determine what mission you are able to accomplish, and what kind of mission you participate in will determine what kinds of people you have for disciples. This is the normal way the church functions; however, often times we dont recognize that these aspects are interconnected, and if we do we have a hard time incorporating both of these together. Take, for instance, your basic membership intro courses what kinds of material does it cover? Essential church doctrines, polity, history, and the purpose of the church are the most common subjects covered in these classes. If you want to learn about mission or outreach, you will have to take another class. Those of us in the church tend to dichotomize belief and action. In modernity, belief and action are accepted dualisms, most churches fall on one side of the category or the other depending on how you read and interpret the Gospel. Jesus life, his ‘theology,’ and his actions were all apart of the same motion as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God. We as the church need to recapture this kind of holistic discipleship.
I think that the Lord’s Prayer offers us a paradigm for community formation and mission, or as I am calling it Missional Formation.??? I think the words missional formation, get at a holistic idea for community formation better than other ways we can talk about it. It reminds us that not only are we a people always in mission, but that our mission shapes us and we need to be shaped for mission. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us what concerns are most important for our communities to care about, and pray for, while we continue to recite this simple prayer we find that it shapes our mission by bending our wills??? toward God’s will.
In the next week I will be posting the rest of my thoughts and findings on the Lord’s Prayer as missional formation.