What Mission Leaders Want From Church:

1526961_10152205101270087_23210412_nNot too long ago, in the Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador, we had a round table of sorts with mission leaders from multiple nearby communities to discuss these three questions:

1. What do you want from ‘church?’

 

 

2. What do you think people want from ‘church?’

 

And…

 

3. What does Jesus want from His Church?

There were various sub-questions under the above and a long and very passionate discussion that followed.

In this short series of posts, I will be unpacking the discussion. If you look at the first two questions carefully, you’ll see that they do not ask; “What do you want to get out of church when you go there?” or “What do you want church to do for you?”  or even “What do you, as leaders, think the people want to get out of church when they come?” No, they were asked exactly as written without the baggage of the theological impossibility of ‘going to church.’

All who participated in the conversation are active missionaries. I say ‘active missionaries,’ because while they are pastors of churches, evangelists, missionaries like myself, and other influential people, I asked them to distinguish their desires of church into two categories;

1.  As leaders within local fellowships, congregations, ekklesias, and οἶκοι (oikos plural –  households, houses, or families.)

and

2.  As common, bi-vocational, and everyday people.

So, as leaders and non-leaders, they answered the first 2 questions.  Here is a brief overview of some of their answers;

  • “To see the church grow”
  • “To experience mutual support among the brethren.”
  • “To be a unified body.”
  • “To see peace among believers.”
  • “To have a family.”
  • “To change, for a brief time, my surroundings for a safe and secure place where I can ‘let down my guard,’ and worship freely.”
  • “A safe place for my family.”
  • “Largeness” – A physical manifestation of the fruit (people) of God. (Cloud of witnesses)
  • “Camaraderie.”
  • “Salvation”
  • “Holiness”
  • “Truth”
  • “Non-religiosity”
  • “To see good works in action.”

I’ll get into greater detail over the next few posts, but these answers show some very diverse, and in my estimation, very mature ‘wants’ of people who intentionally gather together.  At first glance, the 3 questions above CAN look like any Church Planting or Church Growth committee’s questions, but the language is very specific and again, in my opinion, resulted in a much different set of answers.  The 3rd question is probably the most important, but the answers that come from that one are drastically different after asking the first two.  The first two questions are discerning questions, and the last is a corrective question.

Without proceeding to the last question, how would you answer the first two? Join us in this ongoing conversation and I will be back soon with more details from ours.

 

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