Archives For bradbrisco

Everyone Needs to Play!

bradbrisco —  July 31, 2013 — 4 Comments
You are an important piece in the mission.

You are an important piece in the mission.

By Brad Brisco

In regards to the cultural challenges that the church in America faces today, I am often asked, “What does the church need to do differently? What is the appropriate response to the rapidly changing culture? What is the first step the church should take towards having a real influence in the community?

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Is the Church in Exile?

bradbrisco —  June 27, 2013 — 4 Comments

exiles 2

By Brad Brisco

Christendom is the term given to describe the religious culture that has dominated Western society since the fourth century when the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Post-Christendom refers to the time after Christendom, when the church lost its place of power and influence.

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porch swing

By Brad Brisco

When discussing what it means to live a missional-incarnational lifestyle I will often say that the word “missional” denotes our “sentness,” both individually and collectively as the church. It is about our direction—we are sent. The term “incarnational” reflects the idea of “staying.” It is about how and where we are sent. While missional speaks to being sent, incarnational speaks to embedding our lives and the gospel of the Kingdom into a local context.

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4 D'sIn a previous post “Discipleship Catalyzed by Mission” I wrote on the importance of recognizing how God’s mission can (and should) catalyze discipleship. In the comment section someone mentioned the need to highlight engagement in mission communally—or with others. I wholeheartedly agree. Part of the need to do mission in community involves the need to create opportunities to reflect, or debrief, the how, what and why of missional engagement. The importance of debriefing with others is just one the “Four D’s” that I use to describe different components of living out missionality.

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discipleship 101

By Brad Brisco

Within the missional conversation people often speak of how God’s mission (the missio Dei) needs to be the organizing principle around which all activities of the church should operate. In other words, participation in God’s mission should inform or shape how the church does small groups, youth ministry, children’s ministry, corporate worship, teaching, etc.

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“Sent” & “Stay”

bradbrisco —  February 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

hand heartI often have people ask me what the word “missional” means. My short answer is that the word missional is simply the adjective form of the noun missionary. It is an adjective to describe the church as a sent, missionary entity. God is a missionary God who sends a missionary church. However, this is only half the story. Alan Hirsch speaks of the “missional-incarnational impulse,” where the word missional expresses the sending nature of the church, while “incarnational” represents the “embedding” of the gospel into a local context. In other words, “missional” speaks to our direction – we are sent; while being “incarnational” is more about how we go, and what we do as we go.

The Incarnation

The word “incarnation” comes from a Latin word that literally means “in the flesh.” It refers to the act of love and humility whereby God took it upon himself to enter into the depths of our world so that the reconciliation between God and humanity may be brought about. The Incarnation is God’s ultimate missional participation in creation (John 3:16-17). When God entered into our world in and through the Person of Jesus, he came to live among us. “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14a, MSG).

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[This post is part of the A.P.E. Theology series. Read the rest of the posts here!]

missio Dei 2One of the key theological foundations in the missional conversation involves the concept of the missio Dei, or “mission of God.” It is God who has a mission to set things right in a broken world—to redeem and restore it to what was always intended.

Therefore, mission is not a program of the church. It is not something we invent. Mission is not something we initiate. Instead mission flows directly from the nature and purposes of a missionary God. It is not that the church has a mission; it is that God’s mission has a church. In other words, it is God’s mission, and the church is an instrument created by God to be sent into the world to join in his mission. This is a complete “game-changer” in several ways, but for now lets consider one.

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[This post is part of the A.P.E. Theology series. Read the rest of the posts here!]

When considering the theological and biblical underpinnings of the missional conversation I find the two most helpful topics to address include the concept of missio Dei, or mission of God, and the language of “sending” found throughout Scripture.

The chief element to grasp about the missio Dei is that the mission is God’s. We are not called to bring our mission into a local context; instead we are called to partner with God in His mission. We often wrongly assume that the primary activity of God is in the church, rather than recognizing that God’s primary activity is in the world, and the church is God’s instrument sent into the world to participate in His redemptive mission.

This leads to the second important topic, which is the theme of “sending” in Scripture. The reason it is important to recognize such language in Scripture is not only because it speaks to the missionary nature of the Triune God, but it also connects – particularly in the New Testament – God’s mission to ours. This is never truer than in the Gospel of John.

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puzzle

[This post is part of the A.P.E. Theology series. Read the rest of the posts here!]

You do not have to look far to discover that Christendom still maintains a stranglehold on the mindset of the American church. Many leaders still maintain that minor tweaks in the why we “do” church brings the possibility of attracting new people to the programs and activities of the church. They simply have not fully grasped the reality that we no longer live in a place where the church is the dominant seat of culture. The shift from a Christendom to Post-Christendom society is nearly complete; and the corresponding challenges are great.

But what is an appropriate response to the challenge?

The solution is to recognize the church’s relationship to the culture in terms of a missionary encounter. In other words, to see that in a Post-Christendom context the church is once again placed in an alien world. The mission field is no longer located somewhere else, instead it surrounds us on every side. And the greatest problem with making cosmetic changes to the church, is when we falsely assume those changes will some how help the church grow and we therefore put our time and energy into those practices instead of equipping and releasing people into this new, and rapidly growing mission field. There is no final answer or perfect solution to transitioning the existing church in a missional direction. But if there was one—a silver bullet—it would be the formation of every church member into a missionary.

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