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The Compelling Question of Discipleship: This Year’s Missional Learning Commons

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This week, I am at a faculty retreat for my seminary (er I should say the seminary where I serve). So I’ve been thrown off my normal blogging rhythms this week. It seems like there has been so much to blog about but so little time to do it. Nonetheless, I’ll be back at it next week!!
In the place of a normal blog post, let me just get out there that we have the annual Missional Learning Commons coming to town Oct 28-29 in the Chicago area. This year our focus will be discipleship. To help us with the Commons, we’ll have Mike Breen hanging with us for the day. Mike’s book Building a Discpleship Culture has been an influence at the Vine, where I co-pastor, as we’ve been working through this issue for over a year. I have learned much from him. We’re having a day on discipleship at Northern Seminary with missional practicioner Mike Breen on Oct 28th.  Mike has consented to extend his stay in order to be with us at the Missional Learning Commons. I’m grateful for his willingness to do that. I actually have alot to discuss (and even debate!!) with him on in terms of the practice of discipleship, mission and the Kingdom.

I think many of us feel that traditional means and ways of thinking about discipleship in N American church are grossly inadequate for the church in Mission. We must think through what it means to initiate and mentor new believers in the kingdom of God and the dynamic relationship of me personally with a God at work in the world. This is what we will be getting at this year at the Commons.

The aim of the Missional Learning Commons has always been to provide a collaborative learning environment for missional churches to share stories, discuss ideas, and encourage one another for the sake of incarnating the Gospel in their contexts. It will be the same this time as well. It might look to some of us “grassroots” organizers that the Missional Learning Commons is looking more like a traditional conference. I don’t think so. At least that’s not what we’re aiming for. So I invite all missional practicioners of any kind to join in. I’ll be there the whole time. I’m hoping my wife and son can come to. I want to BE WITH like minded people on Mission … that’s what I like about this weekend every year!! (It always happens on the weekend before Halloween BTW).

This year, the focus is discipleship. Here are some of the questions that will be shaping our time together:

  • What does discipleship actually look like in our lives?
  • Does the gospel we preach naturally and organically lead people into discipleship, or does it feel like an extra-curricular activity?
  • How should the call to make disciples shape and guide our church practices: what we do, and how we do it?
  • What is the significance of discipleship as the core component of the formation of Christian leaders?

We will hear from and have discussions built around on-the-ground practitioners. Mike Breen and the team from 3DM will be hanging out with us to share some of what they have learned and help facilitate our conversations by asking some provoking questions. It will not be a conference where they speak as plenary speakers. If you want that you’ll have to come to the thing they’re doing at Northern the day before./

The MLC this year is sponsored by the Ecclesia Network and the Baptist General Association of Virginia who helped us generously with providing some funds for child care etc.

If you have ANY QUESTIONS, SUSPICIONS, or ANY THING ELSE you need/want to put forward for the organizers, please use the comments on this post to do so. We’ll try to respond!! You can register here to come to the Commons. It costs practically nothing (10 bucks) I pray God’s blessings on this year’s Missional Learning Commons!

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