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Missional Renaissance and Sunday School/Discipleship

Posted: 2/18/20 at 1:50pm. Post by Tony Brooks.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Missional is an overused word in our society. It is focused about being on mission specifically for God in our context, but not everyone uses it that way.

Renaissance is perhaps not as familiar. It is about awakening. It is about discovering something new. Though what I am sharing is not new, it has been lost for some generations. (Findley Edge was sharing this in the 1980s, but not many were listening.) I have been reading Reggie McNeal’s book, Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. He mentions on page xvi this challenge:

Going missional will require that you make three shifts, both in your thinking and behavior: 

From internal to external in terms of ministry focus

From program development to people development in terms of core activity

From church-based to kingdom-based in terms of leadership agenda

What does that mean for Sunday School classes, small groups, and churches? Here are some ideas:

From internal to external: Many classes, groups, and churches do a good job of care for each other and some spiritual growth. If it is only about us, are we living out the Great Commission? How can we get classes and groups outside the church to do ministry? This is a new scorecard and very important for the future of the church. Your BGAV Field Strategist can share ideas with you regarding moving to the external.  

From program development to people development: Classes, groups, and churches have been focused on the newest or next best thing. It is about making disciples in groups or one on one. How do you get teachers to encourage mentoring? Do teachers mentor someone to teach? Every position in the church and service outside the church should require us to mentor someone else. (We have many people who can help you develop leaders at the BGAV. Let us know how to help.) This is another new scorecard and very important.

From church-based to kingdom-based in terms of leadership agenda: Many in younger generations do not want to serve committees that merely serve the church and sit in meetings. They want to know and be a part of the church making a difference in the community for God’s Kingdom. When it comes to budget, service, and attending events at the church, they are looking at how this helps the community. They are not as worried about attendance, church membership, or giving (if it doesn’t have a kingdom purpose.) In the early church, no one had a church job. All were focused on the kingdom of God. It is time to return to that challenge! Kingdom-based efforts require us to look hard at social justice issues, racial issues, socio-economic issues and more.

Are you serious about following the Great Commission? It is time to start a new scorecard! Let me know how you are doing. Fresh Expressions can help you look outside your church. You can also attend the Fresh Expressions National Gathering April 1-3 for inspiration and helpful resources.

If you are in a BGAV church, we have two events coming up in April in the Southside region of Virginia. Email me at tony.brooks@bgav.org if you’re interested in those.

Bottom line: We need a new scorecard! We have the Great Commission…is it simply a suggestion? I don’t think so!

Brooks-TonyTony Brooks is BGAV’s Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org. Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7