"The church is suffering from mission amnesia. It has forgotten why it exists. The church was created to be the people of God to join him in His redemptive mission to the world. The church was never intended to exist for itself. It was and is the chosen instrument of God to expand His kingdom".
Those are some words in the book The Present Future by Reggie McNeal. The book is a few years old but it is right on. I highly recommend the book. It is a good read and a quick read. You will not be disappointed.
I cut my church planting teeth in the 90s. I worked hard at starting churches that would be relevant to the culture. Some of them were cool. I tried to start churches that would reach lost people and disciple them. But did I start churches that were focused primarily on their own growth or did I start churches that were concerned for the kingdom?
My "aha" moment was when I was working on my post graduate degree in missiology and planting a church at the same time. I started to see that the church was not to be just concerned about itself but also about it's community, city and world. We were not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but we tried to make a difference in our little part of the world. As I look back I do not know if I really took that far enough. In fact I know I did not. I kept thinking "when we get this size" or "when we have more staff", etc... then we will go to the world. I was always in the future tense with that idea.
I was wrong. We needed to do that from day one.
So I have decided that I need to do something about that. I want to help new churches think and act missionally from day one. I want to help new churches not exist for themselves but to see themselves as McNeal says... the chosen instrument of God to expand His kingdom. I am still figuring out how this will look but I have some ideas. If you have any let me know.