- Lives together
- Grows together
- Works together
- Prays together
- Plays together
Read the whole thing (4 pages).
The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the church is God's new community. For his purpose conceived in a past eternity, being worked out in history, and to be perfected in a future eternity, is not just to save isolated individuals as so perpetuate our loneliness, but rather to build his church, that is, to call out of the world a people for his own glory. (Stott, The Living Church, 2007, pgs.19-20).Here are some other quotes from the Chapter 2 "Why Community?":
An identity that I construct for myself is far removed from an identity I receive by grace (40).More on Total Church here, including 3 videos on "Community Training" and a pdf study guide of the book.
The Bible shows that we are communal creatures, made to be lovers of God and of others (40).
I cannot be who I am without regard to other people (41).
If the church is the body of Christ, then we should not live as disembodied Christians (41).
The church gives us a new community and a new identity (41).
The church, then, is not something additional or optional. It is at the very heart of God's purposes. Jesus came to create a people who would model what it means to live under his rule. It would be a glorious outpost of the kingdom of God, an embassy of heaven. This is where the world can see what it means to be truely human (50).
Our identity as human beings is found in community. Our identity as Christians is found in Christ's new community. And our mission takes place through communities of light (50).
From a sociological perspective, Muslims are people who have a social identity as members of a traditionally Muslim community. They may be religiously observant or secularly nominal, but they are in the same socioreligious group, that of Muslims. For many Muslims, being a Muslim is an inseparable part of their self-identity, their background, their family, their community, and their cultural heritage, regardless of what they actually believe about God. It is this everyday sociological sense of the term “Muslim” that is used in what follows.So this definition appears to say that "religious identity" and "cultural identity" are inseparable. Certainly there is a lot of overlap, but is it possible to distinguish between the two? How can one be united with Christ spiritually and have a religious identity (i.e. not a cultural identity) as a Muslim? (It is highly probably that I am missing the point somewhere.)
"If there are two science teachers at the local college, one of which has only read one science book in his entire life, and the other of which has read every science book, which of the two would your rather study under? Which of the two would you say is more informed?"Most Muslims have never even seen the Tawrat, Zabur, or Injeel. It is one of my great pleasures in life to introduce Muslims to the Bible.
"The least-evangelized groups of people with the highest populations in the world still get the least number of missionaries. Just over twenty-five percent of Protestant foreign missionaries are focused on the two-thirds of the world which is predominately non-Christian—and most of them are ministering among already-reached groups! Over twenty-seven percent of the world’s population is part of people groups who have no or very little access to the gospel. Furthermore, in terms of finances, less than one percent of U.S. church giving goes to support mission work among these least-served groups."HT: Missions Catalyst
WEBSITES: Mission-related Blogs
A few months ago we wrote about using Twitter for mobilization and asked readers who they follow. Readers over at Brigada Today have been discussing Facebook. In this changing world of social media, blogging seems almost old-school, doesn't it?And here is another blog that will interest you: Telling Secrets by Marti Smith.
But did you know that many missionaries and mission activists keep blogs? Some of these blogs are really interesting and helpful. We'll just highlight a few:
Missions Launch provides information, resources, and other practical support for those undertaking global mission efforts, long-term or short-term.
A Big Mission brings us an Asian perspective about Christian mission in Asia and Asian missionaries.
Circumpolar is a series of short readings related to Muslim ministry intended to equip and resource followers of Jesus to advance the gospel among Muslims.
Check 'em out. This site can introduce you to 475 more.
->-> Go to the Missions Catalyst site and leave a comment to let us know about your favorite mission-related blogs!