It has been said that traditional methods for church growth are no longer applicable to today’s reality. These church activities are aimed at church people and do not necessarily include reaching out to the unchurched.
So, the church must think differently about its role in its neighborhood where God is already at work and where the church is a guest. Such an approach indicates thinking incarnationally. “Incarnational” means to live within the reality of those whom God has already reached out and touched.
Such understanding also requires us Christians to believe that God has sent us into God’s neighborhoods. In other words, individually and collectively, we are challenged to foster a missional mindset. Perhaps our assumptions about God, church and mission demands a fresh reinterpretation or to consider some sort of realignment.
It was this type of reflection during my coaching conversations with Pastor Jaime Cazares that motivated him to continue church planting efforts for Iglesia Menonita Aposento Alto in Wichita, KS.
Soon after he responded to God’s call he began to connect and build relationships with his new community. After much prayer and discernment, he invited Aposento Alto to consider worshipping on Saturdays instead of Sundays. As he listened to Christ’s Spirit, he was moved to respond to a “church map” with an updated version—a version that was responding to realities in the Wichita community and not necessarily to traditional ways of doing church;. He wanted to be contextual.
Moving worship from Sunday to Saturday at 6 pm was not an easy decision. However, it was a way to respond to the new reality of Aposento Alto. It is fascinating and inspiring to hear how people are responding to Saturday worship invitation. Aposento Alto knows that any day is a good day to worship the LORD. This new ecclesiological thinking has allowed church goers to reach out to those who might want to follow in the steps of Jesus, in the ‘Via Christi’ (the way of Christ)
The heart and mind of our congregations must be captured by a revolutionary way of thinking biblically and by living out the Christian faith. Therefore, we need to entertain serious questions:: Is the current church model working? Why does the church need to rethink mission? What does it mean to be Christian and the Body of Christ today?
These and other questions address the very nature and essence of the church and help us to continue thinking and acting like missionaries both locally and abroad.
Brisco and Ford in The Missional Quest assert that “The church must recapture its missionary identity and activate every Jesus follower to engage wholeheartedly in the ongoing mission of God.”
Today’s church is not immune to this reality of wrestling with God’s proposal: to receive, accept and implement God’s redemptive mission even with the most unconventional ways of worship like Aposento Alto’s experience.