Local Churches as Missional Training Outposts

God’s Mission and Our Mission of Reconciliation

missional training outpostIn light of the mission of God (to reconcile all things to himself, i.e., to usher in the Kingdom of God), new missional leaders must be willing to shape local congregations into missional training outposts for incarnational ministry, equipping believers to infiltrate all of society with the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Ministry leaders in the 21st Century will need to reshape their thinking as to the nature of their calling. We must concentrate on training Christians to infiltrate society and culture with the gospel of the Kingdom of God.  We need a new discipleship model based on the Kingdom mission of the reconciliation of all things, providing Christians the tools to be change agents as they engage the culture.

Perhaps some churches will embrace the idea that they could become missional training outposts for Kingdom ministry, but it would take a major paradigm shift for a local congregation to not think in terms of its own church growth priorities and embrace this paradigm. I do see signs of hope, however, in that some churches and ministry leaders are focusing on these things, and in my doctoral research, I intend to study these congregations intensely and interview ministry leaders (see my next post on who I see as leaders in this area).

Instead of focusing on new methodologies for invigorating local congregations to be more attractive to the next generation for the sake of church growth, we need to focus on the mission of the Kingdom. We need to develop discipleship strategies to develop Christians into ambassadors of the Kingdom, fully yielding all spheres of their lives to the reign of God, and then seeing their mission as being witnesses and instruments of God’s Kingdom in their areas of influence.

New strategies need to be established through which Christians can be agents of God’s reconciliation of all things to himself. I believe that a possible model of discipleship can be to form cohort groups (based on vocation, geography, interests, passions, and callings) as the witness and instrument of the Kingdom of God in our current culture. Perhaps local church congregations can become missional training outposts for incarnational ministry, equipping believers to infiltrate society and culture in their particular areas of vocation, locality, interests, passions, and callings.

roxburgh-romanukThe goal for discipleship is to have people know God and his purposes for them in life. As Al Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk astutely state,

“Our telos is to know God…To know God is to know the Good. Knowing God is also participating in a life infused with proper calling, and to do the work we have been given to do in this life. Only by participating in the life of God can we live out our telos and live into our work and purpose. By doing our proper work in life, we know happiness in the sense of knowing God. As human beings our quest for the Good is a quest for the telos of our life, which can only be known in God” (Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk, The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World, p. 117)

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