Our 3-fold missional posture

Written by on December 17th, 2008 // Filed under mission

As we’ve started communitasPHX here in downtown PHX, we’re spent some time thinking through the posture we take the world around us.  The way we’re understood and positioned to those who God’s given us proximity with is important to the movement we’re trying to cultivate and I’d thought I’d take a moment and document it here, both to invite feedback and to publish it somewhere to keep us focused on it.

We’re exploring a 3-dimensional missional posture.

First, we have an individual mission.  We understand this individual mission as the responsibility each of our team members have to be a blessing to those we rub share life with (ie. our neighbors, owners of local businesses, those at our workplaces).  This is the most important dimension of mission we are involved in as a missional community, as we each have unique relationships in our lives.  We each see ourselves having primary responsibility to care for and be a blessing to those who God has placed in our individual lives.

Second, those involved with communitaPHX have a collective mission we share in.  Our collective mission is understood as those relationships and activities that we share in together.  For example, we each have relationships that we’re building in our “individual mission” which we introduce to other communitasPHX community members and/or as we host parties, dinners, & events as a larger community, relationships are spread from one member of our community to the others. At this point, we see a collective responsibility to care for a to be a blessing to these people. Also in this concept of collective mission is our larger communal posture toward the redemption of creation whch includes community-building, ecological, justice, and creative elements (this speaks of our larger understanding of our mission as joining the mission dei). This forms the central basis of our collective life as we understood ourselves to be ambassadors of the kingdom – exposing the beauty and availability of God’s Kingdom to those around us.

Last, we are involved in a public mission. While the majority of those who participate in our communal life and/or initiatives will enter through a relationship with a participant of the community, we invite anyone to join in our efforts and life together simply through the resonation of our ideals.  In other words, someone in downtown PHX hears about a group of people who are focused on spirituality (holistic & jesus-centric), community, justice, & creativity and becomes interested (altough they don’t know any of us personally). This actually is beginning to happen with some regularity as we have launched a postcard campaign to get our ideals out in the community. So we understand a part of our calling to be a public one, championing kingdom ideals and inviting people into them (whether they understand the spiritual connection) or not. We also are discovering some success with this public sense of mission through the use of social media such as twitter, facebook, and our blog.

Interestingly, this approach blow past the “missional vs. attractional” debate that seems to be taking up a lot of time, space, and energy in church circles these days.  We understand our identity as followers of Jesus as invited participants into the Mission Dei (the mission of God to redeem creation) which demands that we be people of mission on a DNA level.  Functionally, as a movement (communitasPHX) we see our role as one of inviting people into a common life with us in pursuit of Jesus, community, justice, and creativity (which could be defined as attractional). I will write more on the missional/attractional debate on my next post.

This approach is sure to evolve an adapt as we do as a community and movement.  This 3-fold posture is an attempt to put balance to the many and complex dimensions of multiple individual lives lived in common ways.

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