Saturday, December 01, 2007

Missional DNA (DMin)

How did they do it? How did the church of the first three centuries and the church in 20th century China grow so quickly?

Alan Hirsch’s concept is the mDNA of Apostolic Genius – that is, the “missional” DNA of how the apostles were led by God’s Spirit to unleash the gospel. He believes this mDNA is latent in every church and in every Christian. “So I come to believe, that every church, indeed every Christian, if truly birthed in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, has the full coding of mDNA and therefore has direct access to the power of Apostolic Genius. … Institutional systems tend to try and organize through external hierarchical command and control; organic missional movements organize through healthy mDNA coding embedded in each cell and then let go.”

The six key elements of Apostolic Genius are:
1. Jesus is Lord
- A simple, passionate Christology shapes missional DNA
2. Disciple making
- “The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief.”
3. Missional-incarnational impulse
- “an outwardly bound movement from one community or individual to another… a genuine missional impulse is a sending rather than attractional one.”
4. Apostolic environment – the apostle was a custodian of mDNA and the gospel — and an apostolic, missional leader “imparts and embeds mDNA” through pioneering new ground for the gospel, guards mDNA through apostolic theology, and creates the environment in which other ministries emerge.
5. Organic systems
- the sufficiency of local churches, small groups, to get the job done — to let the mDNA do its gospel work. It’s about networks, not institutionalizing structures that maintain what has happened or try to manufacture what the Spirit generates without the system.
6. Communitas – not merely community (huddling/fellowship), but active in mission together, calling people to a dangerous journey to unknown places – Communitas happens during a period of changing paradigms (during 9/11, during the tsunami, and during Katrina). People forge together to restore life and in doing they formed communitas to make it happen. The danger to communitas is equilibrium. What is needed is certain level of chaos so the church is challenged to generate creativity and response to the conditions. This leads to self-organization which must not be institutionalized.

These attempts to revive new models of church that line up with the structures of pre-Constantine Christianity have crystallized into an identifiable movement called the Emerging Church – although not all these groups would necessarily identify themselves that way. “Emerging” catches into one phrase the global reshaping of how to "do church" in postmodern culture.

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