God Directed Deviations

Blogging, Christianity, Culture, Discipleship, Doctrine, Making Disciples, Ministry, Missiology, Mission, Missions, Theology

3 Questions About Bad Doctrine or Theology Thwarting Mission.

imagesOver the past few months, our discipleship group has been having very lively discussions about those things that kill or thwart mission.  Specifically, Christian mission, the preaching of the Gospel, Making Disciples, and acts of justice & reconciliation. Early next year I plan to release a book with the tentative tittle “This Kills Mission,” where I lay out in great detail the things that do exactly that.

I don’t usually blog about the preplanned discussions that we have in our discipleship group because most of the time, it feels like ‘privileged’ information.  Also, everyone who attends our group is actively involved in missions in their own and other contexts. We are constantly practicing, debriefing, and tweaking our approach to mission.  Which leads me to the point of this post.

Determining your theology first, before engaging in God’s mission is like telling God to shut His mouth while you do your own thing.

That said, I’ve seen time and time again bad theology or unsound doctrine kill mission before it even hits the ground.  That, or mission becomes some empty cultural liturgy.  Is missiology (the theology of mission) determined beforehand, or is it developed ‘as you go,’ or ‘on the way?’

Consider these words from 1 Timothy:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons… In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant/minister/missionary – deacon of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. (1 Timothy 4:1,6)

This and other verses, which I hope to unfold in the comment section connect sentness with soundness of doctrine or theology. So, and as usual, I’ll open this up for discussion here with a few questions:

1.  Can bad theology or doctrine thwart mission? God’s mission?

2.  Should our theology of mission be understood before we set out or ‘as we go?’

3.  In your opinion, what are some classic bad doctrines or theology that thwart or kill mission?

Christianity, Leadership, Missions

Concerning Christian Missions, Which is Better?

Pyramid - Black1When speaking on Christian Missions, Paul G. Hiebert says that “Western cultures highly value order, thus strictly protect hierarchy, are time-oriented, and seek rational explanations for problems in the world.

Other cultures emphasize relationship, thus are more flexible with schedules, know how to handle ambiguity, and are less focused on technique.”

Is one really better than the other? Or does ‘situation dictate?’




Christianity, Church, Ministry, Mission

Mission/Ministry ‘Inside’ The Church & ‘Outside’ Of It

10706549_10152772075980087_1075945135_nI know that discussions about being ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ of the church are theologically problematic at best.  Like the Apostle Paul addressing “Apphia and Archippus and “the church that meets in their home.”  The church (the people of God) locate themselves spatially (congregate) for a time in a place. Let’s put aside that debate for the purposes of this blog post.

From your perspective, what mission/ministry/service happens inside of church and what mission/ministry/service happens outside of it. Use the comment section to list 3-5 things for each, or give other commentaries.

Christianity, Church, Culture, Discipleship, Gospel, Making Disciples, Ministry, Mission, Missions, The Gospel

‘Working Out Your Own Salvation’ Happens Through Mission.

983799_10152767943860087_7921362813145839752_n“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

I often hear this verse being misappropriated and see it being misapplied.  To equate this call with mustering up our own sanctification, summoning up some inner strength to attain some higher spirituality, or cloistering yourself until such a time that you can meet the approval of your religious compatriots, is to sell your birthright for a half empty bowl of soup. It is, after all, God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  (Philippians 2:13)

The working out of ‘your’ (plural) (the corporate body of Christ’s) salvation, is done through mission, ministry, and service to others.  If there’s no mission in your life, you’re not working out your salvation, period!  If church leaders are placating a non-mission sentiment, then they’re effectively hamstringing their people’s salvation and killing the mission.  Mission is the conduit to personal growth, but it’s only effective when engaged with one another. It is unlikely that the 50+ “One Another” commands in scripture can be effectively worked out within modern-day church structures. They require mission.  If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we try to invoke God’s presence through various liturgies instead of being God’s presence to others in everyday life.

It is through mission that we make and become disciples of Jesus. (Matthew 28:19,20)  It is through mission that we preach and become the good news to all of creation. (Mark 16:15)  It is through mission that we testify and become witnesses, are sent and send others, give and gain understanding, and are empowering others and being empowered through the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:44-48)  It is through mission that the sedentary religious ‘go and get understand.’ (Matthew 9:9-13) Without these components of mission we’re left to working out our own station, stature, and standing within missionless systems.

The Aramaic Bible in Plain English translates Philippians 2:12 this way;

“Therefore beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not when I am near to you only, but now when I am far from you, all the more, with awe and with trembling, do the service of your life.”

Simply put, if you’re not on mission, you’re not working out your salvation.  If you’re not sending and being sent, you’re not sanctifying.  Finally, Philippians 2:12 is not to be used to instill fear in others suggesting they can lose their salvation, to guilt people into putting in extra human effort into measuring up to some man-made religious standard, or to judge someone’s spiritual state. Neither is it suggestive towards a works based salvation.  It’s an invitation to mission and the fruit of sanctification that comes with it.

A few questions:

1.  Is it true that without mission there’s little or no sanctification?

2.  What kinds of mission/ministry can happen within the local church?

3.  In your opinion, which is more biblical? “Getting and understanding to go on mission,” or “Going on mission to get an understanding?”