Formation

Our “NOT Going Away” Party: Celebrating the Sending and the Staying

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Being part of a campus ministry congregation can feel like living by an ever-flowing stream, constantly welcoming new folks and at the same time, sending others out.

We’ve embraced the sending as a part of our calling and we’ve learned to send people well. On their last Sunday with us, we bring them up front and ask anyone who has hard part in their lives here to come forward, lay hands on them and pray a prayer of commissioning over them. Often there are more people in the prayer circle than there are watching from the seats. Usually there are tears. It’s beautiful.

Where is the Kingdom?

But, if I’m honest, it’s also exhausting. The last three Sundays we’ve sent away key members of our community to go to distant places. When new folks come, I refuse to hold back my heart in case they leave one day and I think that’s the right thing to do. But it makes it even harder when they do leave.

For staff and church members who stay, it wears down our hearts to keep losing folks we love. And it makes us wonder where we’ll find leaders to replace these ones we’ve developed (and, if we’re honest, how we’ll meet the budget). And it has a way of romanticizing the adventure of elsewhere. When the sending out prayer is over and the last piece of farewell cake is gone, those of us who remain have to go back to the same old, same old.

So today, after three Sundays in a row of going away parties, we had a “NOT going away” party. Not as a promise that no one in that sanctuary will ever move (we don’t want to quash the call of God) but as a commitment to be fully where we are. And if God wants to call us elsewhere, he’ll have to get our attention because we’ll be so busy being here. And together we’ll discern, as a community, the calls we hear.

In an effort to be a kingdom-oriented congregation, we’ve always chosen to celebrate the sending out. And we’ll keep doing that. But isn’t this place also part of the kingdom? So what does it mean to both celebrate other parts of the kingdom and our own?

After three Sundays of going away parties, we had a “NOT going away” party. Click To Tweet

Jeremiah 29:5-7 has unlikely advice for the exiles in Babylon, these people of God who have been ripped from their holy place. God himself tells them,

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

A few verses later, He actually tells them they won’t be there forever but he also tells them to be fully where they are while they’re there, not only for their own sakes, but for the sake of the place where God has put them.

We can relate to the exiles. It’s easy for us to see what our church or neighborhood or city could be, to see all the things it’s not and dream of other places. But what if our sense of what could be is not an invitation to leave and find that elsewhere? What if it’s an invitation to shape our place? Anyone can complain about what is or pick up and move to a fully-formed place. It takes imagination and creativity and patience to be the ones who start making something new. It’ll be hard and we’ll need God and each other. But that’s okay. That’s why we have the Church.

What Frustrates God?

So, what if the things that frustrate us about our churches and communities are a glimpse of the things that frustrate God? If the things we’re longing for in our communities are a glimpse of the things God is longing for? What if we learned to long for them together? So that we can become a community of people longing for community. And maybe, even as we’re figuring out together what community can be, we’re already in it.

I’ve spent most of my adult life wrestling with the question of place. And I can’t say I’ve yet resolved all the questions. But the only thing that has stopped the constant mental packing of suitcases has been the choice to be fully where I am, wherever I am, trusting that if God wants me somewhere else, I’ll deal with that then. When we, as a family, chose to embrace this lesson a few years ago, we had a “Not going away party.” So today we did it as a church.

Could our frustrations about churches & communities be a glimpse of what frustrates God? Click To Tweet

We drew a big map of the city and during communion, as people shuffled forward to take the cup and the bread, we also invited them to plot themselves on the map (their house, their school, their workplace, whatever), hoping they saw the commonality in “communion” and “community.”

We prayed the sending-out prayer of commissioning over the whole congregation, saying the same things we say when we send out one or two friends to a faraway place. We prayed: “Father, remind us you are here with us. Show us your heart for this place. Give us courage to stay. Give us what we need to be faithful to your call to be here.”

Then we had cake, decorated with the words “We are here.” Because being here is worth celebrating. Even if we’re still figuring out what that means.

For further reading:
The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight J Friesen.
Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison.
Staying is the New Going: Choosing to Love Where God Places You, Alan Briggs

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26 responses to “What Have the Arts to do with Missional?: Contrary Thoughts on Being Incarnational 2″

  1. Dave,

    Great to see you talking about art and its importance. I agree that art needs to be more than just set-up for the sermon. I would say, however, that for many evangelicals, art is not just viewed the set-up for the sermon, but it is viewed as necessarily a sermon in itself. Many seem to think that art must be justified by containing some explicit message, which is often awkwardly tacked on to the detriment of the work itself. I just recently blogged about the fact that for many evangelicals, our art seems to be nothing more than sermons in drag.

    One of the saddest and most frustrating things for me about the evangelical world, particularly as regards our art, music, and literature, is how little real beauty one finds there. I think that the lack of beauty in our lives makes our faith thinner and can even hamper us in seeing the fullness of scripture.

    The art, music, and literature that has touched me most deeply and helped me see truth more deeply has always been that which embodies rather than that which preaches.

  2. First, D.F.,

    You’ve gone down my alley again! I have so many thoughts in response to your post…I’ll just leave it at: “I really enjoyed it”.

    And…to D.F. and Gordon,

    I think Gordon has provided for me a quite memoroable Talmudic-like commentary quote on a D.F. post that points out the parody of memory-less “simulacrum” (I hear echoes of Echo): “…our art seems to be nothing more than sermons in drag.” THANKS! In that spirit of the (anti)relationship between sermon and artifice, it seems that with D.F.’s posts on expository preaching he was advocating a sermon that seems to be something more like art, governed by a set of rules more resembling those giving regulation to a good piece of art than those that give form to a sequence of logical propositions. “Artifice that seems to wear the mask of words”, I guess you could say. And, in the spirit of the question of being incarnational, I would like to point out that words are sounds given an order; and sounds are moving air, which for the Greeks was itself bodily…bodies of air.

    Back to the “visual arts” (which I guess don’t include rhetoric), this reminds me of the phrase, “the plastic arts”. The architect who taught me the most, Le Corbusier, did not call “concrete” “concrete” but instead “plastique” (he spoke French, was born in Swizerland and started out as a watch-maker, and was Greek at heart).

    And just another word of commentary on the actual content of the post. I don’t know all the ins and outs of modern commentary on the matter, but when I hear the Gk. word “eurythmia” (which D.F. mentions in his book), I don’t hear an antagonism between two opposing categories which with Kant happened to be called the “Sublime” and, I suppose, the “Beautiful”. In our “The History of Architecture” class, we had a joke, “It all goes back to the Omphalos” (mythical aspect of worship at Delphi). Here it seems, “It all goes back to the question of representation.”

    Peace in,

    Jason

  3. First, D.F.,

    You’ve gone down my alley again! I have so many thoughts in response to your post…I’ll just leave it at: “I really enjoyed it”.

    And…to D.F. and Gordon,

    I think Gordon has provided for me a quite memoroable Talmudic-like commentary quote on a D.F. post that points out the parody of memory-less “simulacrum” (I hear echoes of Echo): “…our art seems to be nothing more than sermons in drag.” THANKS! In that spirit of the (anti)relationship between sermon and artifice, it seems that with D.F.’s posts on expository preaching he was advocating a sermon that seems to be something more like art, governed by a set of rules more resembling those giving regulation to a good piece of art than those that give form to a sequence of logical propositions. “Artifice that seems to wear the mask of words”, I guess you could say. And, in the spirit of the question of being incarnational, I would like to point out that words are sounds given an order; and sounds are moving air, which for the Greeks was itself bodily…bodies of air.

    Back to the “visual arts” (which I guess don’t include rhetoric), this reminds me of the phrase, “the plastic arts”. The architect who taught me the most, Le Corbusier, did not call “concrete” “concrete” but instead “plastique” (he spoke French, was born in Swizerland and started out as a watch-maker, and was Greek at heart).

    And just another word of commentary on the actual content of the post. I don’t know all the ins and outs of modern commentary on the matter, but when I hear the Gk. word “eurythmia” (which D.F. mentions in his book), I don’t hear an antagonism between two opposing categories which with Kant happened to be called the “Sublime” and, I suppose, the “Beautiful”. In our “The History of Architecture” class, we had a joke, “It all goes back to the Omphalos” (mythical aspect of worship at Delphi). Here it seems, “It all goes back to the question of representation.”

    Peace in,

    Jason

  4. You know, I never really thought much about flowers in the sanctuary of a church until we’ve been at St. Andrews. Some weeks (often since flowers are not so expensive here in SE Asia) there are flowers that decorate the front of the church because different people sign up to have flowers there. It’s funny, but now on the weeks when there are none I miss the beauty of them there. I know that’s just a small thing but it is a part of creation.

    Most often I am thinking of beautiful things as the things we do for each other. I am really excited right now because in the first week of December I am gathering together a group of women I have spent a good amount of time with (individually) throughout this year and I am preparing a time that I hope will be beautiful. The focus will be Advent and I hope we can have our eyes opened to waiting for and welcoming Jesus into our different circumstances.
    //Jenny

  5. David, great post. Thanks for alerting me to what looks to be a great book on Christian aesthetics. A minor point, which seems like all I comment on. I’m curious: I thought Nietzsche’s aim in his mature thought was to overcome what he saw as the nihilism of his Christian culture, indeed his work was dedicating to prevent such an entrenchment. Are you saying that you think he was wrong about his project, and that he instead falls victim to a nihilism himself?

  6. Dave,

    Can’t resist another comment here. I totally agree with your comment about “simulacrum beauty.” I think that many evangelicals believe that if we can achieve technical excellence, we have acheived artistic excellence. I see this as totally consistent with the rational/pragmatic/propositional character of so much of contemporary evangelicalism. We understand excellence in terms of technique, but we lack a sense of the poetic.

    So much of Contemporary Christian Music provides a great example of this. It is well produced, well recorded and well played but it comes off as shallow, soulless, and lacking in any deeper sense of beauty or mystery.

    Jason,

    Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you found something useful in my comments.

    Jenny,

    Thanks for once again bringing things back around to the presense of goodness and beauty in ordinary things like flowers and friendships. I need these constant reminders.

  7. Gordon,

    Thanks. I often appreciate your comments. Would like to comment on your technique thing…I am sensitive to that, being an architect and all. It’s funny, we separate the poetic and the technical; but the word poetry comes the Gk. “poesis” which means “to make”, basically. And we think of “technique” as a “method”. It’s all the same, until things get objectified into what we now consider a “product”. In which case when we refer to “technical” and “poetic” we are really making an economics comment on the unfortunate need for “regulations” on the “ideally free market”…it seems. At which point, too, “poetry” and “technical”/”practical” stuff are in a commercial tug of war.

    Jason

  8. Jason,

    I agree that the categories of the technical/rational and the poetic/artistic do not have to exist in watertight separate spaces. That said, though, I think the two categories do typically denote different kinds things and have different emphases, and it is possible to have one without the other. What I meant to say in my comment is that evangelicals tend to have am imbalance towards the technical side of things, with very little emphasis or appreciation towards the poetic side of things. As a result, I think the way we tend to conceive of and live out our Christian faith is typically thinner, less beautiful, and generally less attractive to the world around us than it should be.

  9. Gordon,

    I’m with you. I think my commnet was meant to, in agreement, simply comment further. Sorry for any miscommunication. I should have been more clear there.

    And to all,

    I forgot to mention this at the beginning. Along the lines of participation in the beautiful rather than being caught up in the “spectral gaze”…I have seen toddlers in their curly-cue doodlings “participate in the beauty of the cosmos” in ways that I think would have inspired Picasso and Joan Miro…while tuned out of a sermon in which the preacher was trying to paint the truth like a piece of photo-realism (and yet make it look “interesting”). Seriously, once…in the middle of a sermon, I leaned over and wateched while this little red curly haired three year old drew a series of counter-clockwise circles inscribed in a bigger one that itself was moving clockwise. I was awe-struck…baffled, amazed…it gave me chill-bumps! And you should have seen the rest of her her little pice of scrap paper. The beauty, simplicity and order of the forms and how they related to each other on the page…Phidias may have been jealous. And I just happened to lean over that particular moment to have the priviledge to make that one form that just blew me away. Funnily…then when I returned to the expository sermon, I was hearing a story…now that I think back on how that day went…

    Jason

    🙂

    Jason

  10. I was on staff at a church that placed a high value on the arts. If you walked into the place, you would have celebrated the color and creativity and “incarnational-ness” of the physical space. It was contemporary and a little out of the box….

    People who visited always commented on the talents of those who poured their souls into making the place beautiful.

    But just underneath that beautiful surface was an aggressive, competitive bunch of frustrated women who ran roughshod over anyone who dared to re-present God in a way that didn’t go along with their “look at what we did” vision of things.

    One day, a woman came into the church and had the nerve to set up a rickety card table with mismatched dishes and grocery store flowers, along with an “ugly” sign inviting people to come and be the mission, serving a meal and praying with people at an inner-city mission. The poor woman got beat up eight different ways from Sunday. (She didn’t follow the church protocol for initiating new ministries, for one thing.) But the worst beating she took was at the hands of the decorators/visual artists. They were merciless and mean about her lack of aesthetics for the lobby display she lovingly created to invite people to join her in a ministry she loved; one that touched lives in ways more beautiful and profound than the palette of Benjamin Moore paint colors that colored the walls of what was, that day at least, nothing more than a beautifully decorated whited sepulchre.

    Though you can draw a number of conclusions from this story, there are two I’d like to throw out there. #2 – True beauty is hard-wired into God’s character. If we get too enchanted with our own ideas, artistic prowess, or sophisticated takes on Real Art – no matter how good or clever or right we are – our pride in our own aesthetic immediately drains our art of the ability to be truly missional.

    #1 – No matter how progressive, how provoking, how technically wonderful – the best, truest forms of creative expression are nothing more and nothing less than God’s refrigerator art when done in and through and for Him.

  11. Jason, concrete from the latin “concretus” which is a sermon in itself.. pushing us away from the cartesian separation of rational/relational, or analytical/aesthetic. “Simulacrum” always makes me think of Shelley’s Frankenstein, which was a story written near the birth of the technological age and already saw the loss of humanity in the making.. (or as good a story, Lewis “That Hideous Strength.”)

    But the piece missing in the reflections so far is the connection to sacrament. David I’m guessing this is an important piece for you.. have you given it much thought in relation to the wholeness of incarnation/mystery/beauty? Is the ultimate response to simulacrum a sacramental response?

  12. Oh incidentally, isn’t the aesthetic movement a firm and holy integration of the analytic and artistic? I’m thinking here of Dorothy Sayer’s argument that without the Trinity there would be no art. Because we certainly can’t leave logos behind.. though we might want to leave behind the violence we have done to word in separating it from the life of Spirit.

  13. I’m always out of it between Saturday a.m. and Sun p.m. … but see that there has already been some conversation here. Thanks for the compelling thoughts on beauty as an organic expression of God’s work and truth taking shape among a people.
    knsheppard … I am a little confused by your comment on Nietsche …Len … yes … I think that sacrament and beauty are related … and again draw much on the incarnation … Of course where sacrament … incarnation .. and art draw the closest is Eastern Orthodoxy … where I am afraid I am less competent to talk about. I am interested in your Dorothy Sayer’s comment.Where is that from?

    Thanks for all the other thoughts.
    david Fitch

  14. Hey Len,

    You said: “Jason, concrete from the latin “concretus” which is a sermon in itself.. pushing us away from the cartesian separation of rational/relational, or analytical/aesthetic…”

    Before I say the following, let me put it in context. I’ve noticed from your comments that you know what you’re talkng about. I enjoy your comments. I trust what you say. So…in that context…

    I’m not sure what you are saying in the referenced quote. Please expound. I know I had made reference to architectural “concrete”, the poured-in-place stuff made from rocks and portland cement and water and stuff…and that “concrete” isn’t a material is partially why Corbusier wasn’t a fan of calling that poured-in-place-architecural-material stuff “concrete”…but then you confuse me with the reference to the “sermon itself”, and a bit too with the stuff about “relational/rational” (an interesting pairing of words that mean the same thing :), and “analytic/aesthetic” (a bit more perplexing to me…for me a bit more antagonistic…MAYBE you sensed in me a false antagonism – or at least a specifically Cartesian one – and that’s WHY you made the commnet…?).

    I mean, I think you were referring to the differece between the “concrete” actuality of the sermon itself, as opposed to the abstraction of “sermon”, or even “that sermon”…in which case I suppose you were making reference to like a product or artifact itself…in which the poesis and techne, the method and content can’t really be cut out and extracted from the meaning and/or message of the “concrete” thing itself.

    But that’s just my confusion. Those things can’t be separated like that UNTIL the “product” is “analyzed” (uuhh…Aristotle would probably beg to differ…he wasn’t just “analysing” the hind end of a “genus”). In other words…I think there is an antagonism, but not between aesthetic and analytic, but between actual and analytic. Now, OK, I’m not sure where the separation into the categories of the analytic and aesthetic comes from. Maybe it’s Descartes, and I didn’t know that, and that’s the problem; and I’m having an irreleant conversation with myself and you were assuming that I knew that that the analytic/aesthetic antagonism comes from Descartes and tha I didn’t know that changes the conversation in some way that…well, in a way that I dunno’!

    Or…maybe you weren’t even referring to the whole techne, poesis and product thing…and you were bringing something new into the conversation about abstract and concrete…and aesthetic and analytic…and I don’t have a big overall-enough view of history to pull all that together into one meaningful whole to figure out what you meant with your comment.

    Eeehhh…that was a lot of goofyness. But I’m not gonna delete it. I’m gonna leave it…I think it may help you, Len, see where I’m at and therefore better help you elaborate on your comment to me and answer my question as to what you meant…as I’m sure you were trying to help, and I don’t doubt that if you were, the intended helpe probably WOULD be helpful in some way!

    Thanks,

    Jason

  15. Oh and,

    I went off on my quesiton, and forgot to say some other little stuff. Len, I enjoyed your Frankenstein thought. I also enjoy your sacrament thought. I wonder about the actual source behind your connecting simulacrum and sacrament. That’s interesting to me…when it comes to a question of form(ation). Also,

    Lyn, another question for me arises in your next comment about Sayers (I don’t know who that is) and the firm and holy integration of the analytic and aesthetic. I wonder if you are referring to the analytic mode of systematic theology specifically, and the aesthetic mode of…whatever. I wonder, when you say “holistic” there, do you mean a holistic vision of how any “product” might turn out (my professor once said, “All/most modern ‘work’ is analytic”), or are you thinking more in terms of the overall vision of a community and what gives it life? Like, are you asking a question of the proper place of systematic theology/analytic thought, and the proper place of beauty and aesthetics…and how they might relate to each other in the overall life of the church? I also wonder if this line of questioning is related to my question in my previous comment. The Trinity portion of your comment leads me to believe that you weren’t just asking questions about practices and ecclesiology…and that I should stay out of a conversation that is even more beyond me than one about the practical stuff of ecclesiology. But I am still a curious cat…

    Michelle Von Loom, I appreciated your comment a lot. I could use a good dose of just such mercy oftentimes.

    Jason

  16. Oh and,

    I went off on my quesiton, and forgot to say some other little stuff. Len, I enjoyed your Frankenstein thought. I also enjoy your sacrament thought. I wonder about the actual source behind your connecting simulacrum and sacrament. That’s interesting to me…when it comes to a question of form(ation). Also,

    Lyn, another question for me arises in your next comment about Sayers (I don’t know who that is) and the firm and holy integration of the analytic and aesthetic. I wonder if you are referring to the analytic mode of systematic theology specifically, and the aesthetic mode of…whatever. I wonder, when you say “holistic” there, do you mean a holistic vision of how any “product” might turn out (my professor once said, “All/most modern ‘work’ is analytic”), or are you thinking more in terms of the overall vision of a community and what gives it life? Like, are you asking a question of the proper place of systematic theology/analytic thought, and the proper place of beauty and aesthetics…and how they might relate to each other in the overall life of the church? I also wonder if this line of questioning is related to my question in my previous comment. The Trinity portion of your comment leads me to believe that you weren’t just asking questions about practices and ecclesiology…and that I should stay out of a conversation that is even more beyond me than one about the practical stuff of ecclesiology. But I am still a curious cat…

    Michelle Von Loom, I appreciated your comment a lot. I could use a good dose of just such mercy oftentimes.

    Jason

  17. Jason, heh, you’re right.. I didn’t say enough. Sorry, just in a hurry last evening.

    I have a friend who is deeply found of concretus, as opposed to abstract, which is to remove from context and “objectify” as if that were possible. In that sense I think the sermon has largely become dysfunctional, and the things that Raschke or Clapp say about our overdependence on words and propositions then apply.

    I don’t know if Descartes had an aesthetic theory, but I doubt that he did. But my thought is that we all inherit this world view that is centered on the Cartesian self, and in order to move beyond it we have to talk about rootedness, incarnation, context, wholeness, integration, and beauty. I’m with Ellul in that sense, that there can be no real separation between means and ends.

    David, Dorothy Sayers work on the arts is “The Mind of the Maker,” a great read, and possibly the earliest argument in the last century for recovering story as a vehicle for truthy.

  18. Oh Len,

    Thant’s funny. It sounds like you and I had a very similar miscommunication as Gordon and I. I had simply commented further in agreement with Gordon on what he had already said, but in a bit of a different way, and it sounds like you were doing something ver similar in relation to my comment…So I guess I’m with you. You know the work of lots of folks about whom I know either nothing or very little however…and it interests me…

    Jason

  19. Dave, I really appreciate your thoughts and especially in the second paragraph of this post. Doesn’t it seem like there is much missional talk but little missional action where missional action is needed outside of church? Why go to church if we are not being the Church? Why use art for us (mostly the already reached)mostly. Why not use this great tool to show Jesus and His beauty and creation to those who hunger deeply for something they call “spiritual” which is Jesus and they often don’t even know it.

    I noticed a stream in the comments here and I know I’m stuck on a few notes like a broken record. But why does it always happen, I mean we seem to gravitate back to the place of the “event” or “come and see gathering” or “church” in the institutional location sense. The post is great but our dialogue always seems to go back to how we can make “the church” better and better. Nothing wrong with making it better. Something is wrong if “the church thing” is more important than “being the Church” as missionaries in our own communities. Can we ever be missional and ever hope to fulfill the purposes of the Great Commission if the main thing isn’t being missionaries in the world? We say we are missional but I am still looking for it. Do we really need more for us in the “artistic expression” or does the world need more of us as “artistic expressions” of lives changed by Jesus. I long for Christ followers to use expressions of artistic beauty to show the world who Jesus is and what He can mean to them.

    Having said that (please don’t throw me in the barrel of negativity) can some of you help me figure out how we can use this tool “artistic beauty” in a missional “missionary” way in the world.

  20. Bob … thanks for the comments again and I appreciate your passion for the missional church. I think (not to self promote) if you read my book, you’ll get that we are not that far apart. I definitely get the attractional problem evangeliclism seems to be stuck in. Yet, as much as I resonate on just about every page with what Frost and Hirsch are calling for, I am not convinced their ecclesiology is strong enough to manifest a missional presense in the postmodern times (or yes post Christendom times) we find ourselves, which makes the call for such a missional conversion of the church, so urgent. I hope to make this clearer in the future. And it has to do with my reticience toward a Reformed theology of culture versus a more Anabaptist ecclessiology. Hopefully we can explore this further in the blogosphere that lies ahead.
    As for your last paragraph, “use this tool” may be the source of a problem for how I would view the incarnational presense manifested in art. But an example of the way art is part of a missional presense is some of the coffee house “churches” where art on the walls, and part of these communtiy’s life … could help you see art and beauty as part of a missionalk presense. Check out Pernell’s church cafe on my blog roll …

    Blessings .. hope to meet along the way
    David Fitch

  21. David, Great! I’ll look for the art on the walls of coffee shops as well as looking forward to our meeting along the way. I’ll check out the blog feed and book.

    Keep plowing ahead but don’t forget to take us with you.

  22. Speaking of simulacrum – D.F., from the pulpit is your voice amplified, simulated and projected electronically through speakers? How do you think of that; what are your thoughts on that?

    Jason

  23. Christ is the Creator. He expressed Himself in the act of Creation. Creative expression is a part of who He is.

    Art and the act of creative expression is as much a part of Christ-like-ness as love or faith.

    Without Christ-like creative, artistic expression – the church has not fully embodied its’ mission, nor will it fully realize its’ potential to share the Message.

  24. It seems silliy to argue between gathering and being sent. It’s like arguing which gift is more important. Let those who gather and those who go, do so to the glory of God, and not get all puffed up because they do the more important thing.

    Besides, everybody knows who’s the most important. Now where did I put my locusts and honey? It’s lunch time.

  25. Mike lipuma, “WAKE UP!” You said, “Let those who gather and those who go is so not biblical!” Lets all gather and go and gather and go!

    No one should get puffed up but all should go -Jesus said so, argue with Him.

    You just give people excuses to sit on the butts while the world never gets to see Jesus through our going. And, please don’t tell me about your church outreach program. That isn’t what we mean nor what Jesus meant by living incarnationally in the world.

    You are right -we all know the purposes of the Great Commission and God’s Manifold purpose throught the entirety of Scripture to “Be fruitful and multiply” are most important! Jesus is most important and for us His purposes must be most important in all we do.

    Hope you enjoyed your locusts and honey. Now tell me who you touched this week when you went “going” to show the world who Jesus is. Can you please tell me? The important thing is doing the important thing – “Be fruitful and multiply.”

    Too direct or pointed, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.

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