Last week I blogged about Tiffany, a prototype of a post-modern person. Tiffany is broken by sin and intimidated by “church” yet receptive to the Gospel. I suggested that we use divine imagination to see “things as God sees them, to catch a dream as big as God is!” This imagination helps us to jump out of “what is” into “what God desires us to be!” (Harris 2004). It enables us to develop paradigms for church planting and renewal for people like Tiffany—for those living in the postmodern, post-Constantinian, and increasingly post-Christian contexts of Western culture.
This divine imagination within Mission Alive is embedded in seven small words: “Equipping Kingdom Communities on Mission with God.” These words form the essence of Mission Alive.
Equipping at its core involves “character”—the spiritual nurture of the soul to reflect the qualities of God—his love, his holiness, and his faithfulness. Ministry to Tiffany is defined by these qualities. She learns to walk with God by being with us, by seeing us “reflect the Lord’s glory” as we are “being transformed into his likeness” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Equipping also involves “skill,” or ministry practice. How do we build a discipling culture which nurtures Tiffany to spiritual maturity? How is she equipped within the community for works of ministry (Eph. 4:12)? How is Tiffany nurtured to commune with God; become a part of a worshipping, transforming community; and sent out to make other disciples? How does she develop God’s compassion for the poor and the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19)?
The church provides the matrix for both her spiritual formation and equipping for ministry. Continue reading